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Businesses urged to back the BID 20.01.11

Town centre businesses are being urged to back plans to create a Business Improvement District (BID) in Sutton and help the local economy thrive.

high street

BIDs bring companies together to make improvements to a defined commercial area and have already been successfully established in more than 100 areas across the UK, including Kingston upon Thames.

Now a ballot is set to be held to determine if a BID should be set up in Sutton town centre.

Supporters say the plan would enable the area to realise its full potential by increasing footfall; improving its attractiveness for shoppers, residents, visitors and new businesses; and reducing firms' trade waste and security costs.

The scheme is being spearheaded by the Sutton Town Centre BID Steering Group, a collection of both large and small retailers and representatives from offices, pubs and clubs and the leisure sector.

Sharon Golding, Chairperson of the BID Steering Group, said: "The BIDcan make the most of the natural strengths Sutton has to offer including the continental café culture, its great safety and excellent transport connections – and will make the town centre the hub of the community.

"BIDs are a great opportunity for businesses to take control of their trading environment. With a BID we can market the town centre much more effectively, allowing us to work together to make the area cleaner, safer and more attractive for our customers.

"Only by voting Yes for the town we want will business be able to progress the town centre to realise the full potential of Sutton."

Ballot papers will be sent to just under 500 businesses in the town centre area. The postal vote opens on 1 February and will run for 28 days, with the result announced on 1 March. If successful, the BID would then begin on 1 April and run for five years.

For a yes vote to succeed, a majority of the businesses involved must vote in favour and there must also be a majority by rateable value of those voting.

The BID, which has the full support of Sutton police, is independent of council control. Funds are raised by a small supplement on the business rates, which has been set at 1 per cent of rateable value of £10,000 or more.

Cllr Jayne McCoy, Sutton Council's Executive Member for Planning, Economic Development and Housing, said "The business improvement district is a fantastic opportunity to provide a boost for the town centre economy, increase Sutton's competitiveness as a shopping destination and will also help businesses to reduce costs.

"This is a business-led process and we will support, encourage and help make it happen."

The proposed BID area would run from Brighton Road car park in the south to the end of the High Street in the north. The east and west boundaries would be Throwley Way and St Nicholas Way.

Sutton Council would collect the levy on behalf of the businesses before passing it on in full to pay for the action plan.

To find out more about the Sutton BID proposals see www.suttonbid.co.uk

Last updated: Monday, 14 February 2011

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