Following a month-long vote by long businesses, TVBC has jubilantly announced that Andover has been named as a Business Improvement District (BID)
Out of 137 businesses that voted, 51.1% voted to go ahead with the BID.
The news is a crushing blow to the town centre businesses at the centre of the ‘Say No to the BID’ movement. At a TVBC cabinet meeting in June 2017, members agreed to a request from the Andover BID (Business Improvement District) Steering Group to set in place arrangements for a BID ballot and to issue a tender for consultants to support that work.
The Andover BID Steering Group asked the Council and Secretary of State to arrange a bid ballot, Test Valley Borough Council invested £50,000 in securing the expert guidance from ‘BID experts’ CMS. With experience in establishing many other BIDs across the country, CMS carried out the ballot process and worked with town centre businesses to progress the initiative.
A BID sets a levy against every single business in the area, the charge is a percentage of the business’ rateable value. The money is added into a ‘pot’ and this is used for initiatives decided on by the BID committee, these should not be issues that are already the responsibility of local councils and services.
Now the decision for Andover to become a BID is going ahead, the legislation says that the charge is binding on all businesses in the BID area regardless of how they voted. There are reports of businesses in other areas that have been threatened with prison for not paying the BID levy.