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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Extra levy could be spent on improvements to Ulverston

BUSINESSES in Ulverston could follow the example set by companies in Kendal and Penrith by pledging thousands of pounds for projects to improve the town.

Proposals to establish a Business Improvement District in Ulverston are being drawn up by a working group.

If the scheme is successful, it could see the town’s traders and businesses agreeing to pay an additional levy on top of their business rates to fund communal projects.

Once the proposals are finalised, they will need to be approved via a ballot of the town’s business owners.

The BID could receive more than £73,000 annually over a five-year period via an extra one per cent on their business rates.

The group behind the proposal includes representatives from GlaxoSmithKline, Oxley Developments, Siemens, Furness Enterprise, local traders and Ulverston Town Council.

They are planning a meeting on November 27 at Ulverston Business Centre to formally constitute a board which will oversee and direct the BID process over the next year.

Chris Nelson, from Ulverston Business Alliance, who chairs the working group, said they are hoping for a good turnout from local business people who are prepared to support the BID and perhaps serve on the board.

Mr Nelson said: “The BID will not be a council-run initiative, the board will be made up of local business people.

“We will, of course, seek to collaborate with the town council and South Lakeland District Council in the way the money is spent, but the aim is not to supplement or replace the services they provide.

“This will be an opportunity to introduce new ideas that add real value to Ulverston as a destination for visitors and for families living here.

“Ulverston is a fantastic town and we hope the money can be used on projects to enhance its image and reputation.”

A feasibility study into an Ulverston BID was carried out in May, with three quarters of business people surveyed expressing an interest in taking part.

Mr Nelson: “Penrith has recently created a Business Improvement District, Kendal has just voted to go ahead with the BID process and Lancaster and Preston have both benefited from having a BID in place.

“Ulverston simply can’t afford to be left behind and we now have an opportunity for businesses to work together to make a huge difference to their town.”

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