Morecambe considers Business Improvement District

Leaders from Morecambe town centre’s business community have joined forces to form a steering group which will set up and promote a Business Improvement District project.

Morecaambe BIDIndications are that a successful majority ballot amongst business ratepayers could lead to raising revenue of at least £140,000 a year to spend on initiatives to improve and promote business in the town.

The group includes representatives from national multiples, independent retailers, the commercial and licensed sectors, leisure and tourism, charity sector and the local authority.

The Steering Group, elected local businessman Brendan Hughes as chair and shopping centre manager Sue Byers as vice chair. Collectively the group will act as ambassadors to actively promote the BID to other business owners and managers operating in central Morecambe.

The project is being managed and co-ordinated by Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the business community and is supported by funding from Lancaster City Council which has allocated £40,000 to the Chamber of Commerce to lead on BID development for Morecambe.

Brendan Hughes, managing director and owner of ICU Security Services based on Pedder Street explained, how as an independent business with 9 years trading in Morecambe, the scheme would be very welcome.

"Creating a Business Improvement District in Morecambe could be very beneficial to all businesses in the proposed district," he said.

"It gives rate payers the chance to decide how their contribution is being spent and gives us the opportunity to invest in projects that will improve the fortunes of the businesses in the area. I firmly believe this is going to be a turning point for the town’s economy and is proven to help other towns and cities. Opportunities like this don’t come around very often and the business community of Morecambe would be silly not to take full advantage of it."

The team will spend the next few months campaigning to promote the BID before ratepayers get an opportunity to vote at a formal election in spring 2016.

Sue Byers, centre manager of the Arndale Centre said: "The chance to create a Business Improvement District in Morecambe presents a fantastic opportunity for all town centre businesses. A successful ballot outcome will mean that businesses within the town centre can have real input and influence over initiatives to improve and promote their business and trading environment. "Throughout 2015 the steering group will be working hard to ensure all businesses owners are provided with enough information to enable them to make an informed decision during the ballot process. This is a really positive step forward for Morecambe – an opportunity too good to lose."