Business representatives in town have been successful in applying for government funding to develop an initiative known as a Business Improvement District (BID) for Hastings.
The funding, a loan from a scheme run by an organisation called British BIDs, will allow a steering group of businesses to develop proposals for a five-year project that would see approximately £1 million spent in Hastings on ideas from extra marketing for the town, tailored support to individual firms, crime reduction projects and more events and activities across the town at all times of the year.
Dave Padmore, chairman of the steering group, said: “A lot of work has already happened to get to this stage. We know there is an appetite from the Hastings business community to invest in a safer, cleaner, more exciting and sustainable future and the BID offers us a means to do that.
“We would urge all businesses to get involved – to come to one of our regular meetings or even to join the steering group. This is an initiative for the whole town, led by the businesses that trade here.”
The income from the BID (known as the BID levy) would come directly from the business community, with each eligible business being required to pay a small percentage of the rateable value of their premises into a dedicated pot, all of which would be returned to the town to deliver the identified projects.
Companies in the catchment area will have the opportunity to vote on whether or not to adopt the BID.
This is likely to happen in September and October 2016.
The steering group is at the early stages of an extensive consultation period to ensure those priorities identified meet the needs of firms in Hastings and can demonstrate a return on investment to them.
The BID steering group recently appointed regeneration company Revive & Thrive to support it through the BID process.
The company’s role is to facilitate the consultations, work alongside the borough council and help the steering group to build a solid vision and proposal the wider business community can buy into.
Mark Barnes, Revive & Thrive managing director, who was born and raised in Hastings, said: “I am personally really excited to be coming back to Hastings to help the town deliver a BID.
“Wherever you look across the country, where exciting and innovative projects are taking place in town and city centres, they are invariably happening because of BIDs.
“This is a genuine opportunity for a fantastic town to compete more readily in a highly competitive market.”
There are already more than 200 BIDs across the country.
An open meeting for all interested in finding out more will take place at 6pm on November 23 at Priory Square Campus.
To find out more please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Mark Barnes on 0333 0124285.
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