Colchester says “YES” to Improvement District after businesses vote in favour

Colchester BID plans have been given the ‘YES’ vote by local businesses following a month-long ballot in the town.

Announced earlier today (29th June), the scheme to revitalise and promote the historic town of Colchester was secured with an 84.5 per cent vote in favour to make Colchester a Business Improvement District (BID).

The ballot attracted a total of 168 votes (36 per cent turnout) and represented an 83 per cent rateable value of the votes cast. 7 ballot papers in total were rejected.

In addition to the vote count, the rateable value of the businesses that cast a ‘yes’ vote had to be over 50 per cent of the total rateable value of all businesses that voted.

Businesses in the Colchester BID zone were entitled to vote if their rateable value was above £15,000. The ballot ran from the 1st June until 28th June.

Colchester BID Zone.

BID representatives from Colchester Presents last month launched the business case to local companies in a meeting held at ATIK nightclub in Colchester.

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Carl Milton, Chair of Our Colchester BID Steering Group, said the result will allow town centre businesses to shape the town with a shared vision. He added: “The BID can now move forward in its aim to rejuvenate and revitalise Colchester over the next five years with a guaranteed £2 million investment.

“A thriving town is good for everyone and it will allow us to put Colchester back on the map and ensure it is a hugely attractive final destination for new business and visitors alike.”

The BID’s business plan promoted ideas to tackle issues raised by local businesses including anti-social behaviour, improving the town’s streetscape, marketing and accessibility.

‘Outstanding Result’

Cllr. Mark Cory (Lib), Leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “This is an outstanding result and a bold step that will enable all parties to work together to promote the town centre as a safe, vibrant and attractive destination for visitors. It is a clear vote of confidence from business in Colchester.

“I am determined this new Alliance will continue to work closely with local business. We have many plans ahead to make the town an even better place to live, work and visit.”

Cllr. Darius Laws (Con), Leader of the Opposition said: “The BID is a fantastic opportunity for retailers, restaurants and businesses to enhance the experience of the Old Town Centre.

“I spent five years living in the city of Lincoln and their BID was transformative. There is huge scope to create day time and evening events, enhance the public realm and market the unique aspects of Colchester.”

Cllr. Tim Young (Lab), Portfolio Holder for Business and Culture added: “The overwhelming support of the business community to back the BID delivers a huge boost to our plans to improve the town centre public realm, develop a strong business community and increase support for our ambition and intention to sustain and grow visitor activity over the coming years.”

Colchester BID Steering Group and Council ballot representatives.

With the BID Steering Group to stay in place until a BID Board and BID Advisory Group are formed, any projects in the scheme will not begin to be formally discussed until after 1st October.

Peter Scopes, Centre Manager of Lion Walk, said: “Securing the backing of town centre businesses is fantastic news and we can’t wait to get started.

“The BID has outlined a wide array of proposals to guarantee that Colchester remains competitive when attracting business and visitors to the town. We will now be able to speak with one voice and promote Colchester on a national platform.”

Each sector is to be represented to ensure the BID is a singular and collaborative voice for one and all. The Colchester BID will aim to be certified through British BIDs Accreditation, an award in respect of internal quality management systems, within its first term.

Carl Milton announcing the BID vote at Colchester Town Hall.