The thing to stir the blood in Oban businesses getting out to vote in numbers is that, if the ballot is successful, this will be the first BID in Scotland which includes the entire 30mph zone of a town, rather than just a section of it.
Friday, October 5 2012 is the date on which public support will be sought for the proposal to create a Business Improvement District (BID) in the town.
Confirmation of the date followed formal news that neither Argyll and Bute Council or the Scottish Government would veto the proposal.
This is the last procedural hurdle crossed in the path of the plan – which would see local businesses investing collectively to improve Oban’s trading environment
The decision over whether to go ahead and create the BID is now solely in the hands of the town’s businesses themselves.
This is all about self-determination. A decision to set up a business improvement district is a resolve to take charge of one’s own economic sustainability – with the authority and the responsibility this involves.
It will initially be a five year scheme – which will give businesses the chance to commit to it with a defined exit point – when they may choose to retain it.
Traders themselves will be developing, managing and paying for their regeneration plans.
If the proposal is agreed, all businesses with a rateable value property of £3,000 or over within the BID boundary will contribute through a modest but compulsory levy.
Subject to a successful ballot, Argyll and Bute Council has already agreed to provide financial support of £20,000 a year for the five year duration of the scheme, as well as an estimated £4,500 annual levy as the occupant of multiple business premises in the town.
Eleven other Scottish towns have already created such a district.
Graham MacQueen, chair of the BID4OBAN steering group overseeing the proposal, says that an increasing number of business figures in the town are indicating their support for the scheme.
‘The comprehensive consultation we carried out before drawing up the business plan means that we have managed to cover the vast majority of issues which really matter to Oban’s business community in the document. Our success in that respect has been reflected in the conversations we’ve been having with local business owners.
‘We believe that this scheme has the potential to transform the trading environment of our town, but we obviously need a positive ballot result to get it up and running.
‘I and the rest of the steering group will now be renewing our efforts to make sure that every business in Oban is familiar with the five year business plan and what it seeks to achieve before the ballot is issued.
‘This is an extremely exciting time for Oban.
‘I believe the BID is an opportunity not to be missed, and I am very hopeful of a positive ballot outcome and of the town going from strength to strength in the future.’
- Ballot papers will be sent out to Oban businesses on 24th August.
- The ballot will be counted on Friday 5th October 5.
If the ballot is successful, the Business Improvement District will come into operation on 31st October 2012 and run for five years.
Full information on how a BID works and on the specific BID4OBAN proposal – including the approved business plan, is on the BID4OBAN website here.