Aberystwyth's Business Improvement District ballot

Aberystwyth businesses have this week been receiving information and ballot papers for voting on whether or not to form a Business Improvement District (BID) for the town.

The way it works is this. Every business premise with a rateable value (RV) of over £6,000 would pay 1.25% of their RV each year. For a business with an RV of £10,000 this would amount to £125 per year, for large businesses more. Those with RVs of under £6,000 are exempt.

This would generate a pot of money for Aberystwyth amounting to around £200,000 each year, or £1 million over 5 years. That's a sizeable amount of money which the businesses can themselves then use in whatever way they choose to boost business in the town. 

Ideas being put forward include collective purchasing schemes to cut costs, free wifi to encourage people to spend longer in the town, better signage so that visitors can find where businesses are, local loyalty schemes and promotion and marketing of the town.

So far eight other towns in Wales have agreed BIDS - Swansea, Merthyr, Newport, Caernarfon, Bangor, Colwyn Bay, Neath and Llanelli. More are in the pipeline. 

I reckon this opportunity for local businesses to set the direction and take some control of their area's economic future is something no self-respecting town with ambitions would turn down. All that's required now is for businesses in Aberystwyth to vote Yes by the deadline of March 15th.

Fuller details are on these links: