Town centre manager busts some of the myths surrounding Hastings BID plan


The town centre manager has spoken out on why businesses should check the 2017 draft rateable values and vote in the Hastings BID ballot.

Rob Woods said: “Many more small businesses in Hastings will be exempt from paying business rates from April 2017. Around 100 more by my calculations.

“Sole traders in premises with a rateable value of £12,000 or less will be the real winners of the government’s long-awaited business rates revaluation.

“But there will be losers too. Those potentially paying higher rates will not be restricted to larger businesses. Council car parks, educational buildings and new office space all seem to have had their rateable values increased.

“The rateable value is the value ascribed to a building by the government’s Valuation Office Agency (VOA) based on its size, location and other factors. It is used to determine the business rates payable by its owner or occupier.

“I would urge all businesses to check out their new draft rateable values for 2017 which were published online on September 30, 2016.

“To make sure valuations are accurate, businesses may need to give the VOA up-to-date rental evidence for their property at revaluation. It is important that the details are correct before Hastings Borough Council sends out the business rate bills from April 1, 2017.

“For businesses in the proposed Business Improvement District (BID) boundary, there’s another reason for checking. Rateable values are also used to determine the BID levy.

“When the Hastings BID Steering Group’s timetable was approved in 2015 it could not have predicted the government would make the 2017 rating lists available just a few days before the BID ballot opened. It has been a source of frustration and caused some confusion but every cloud has a silver lining.

“The government presented the Hastings BID Steering Group with the perfect opportunity to explain the linkages between rateable values, business rates and BID levies to those that are unclear – and has helped to explode a few of the myths surrounding the new BID scheme – which if agreed on November 11 will become the 263rd BID in the UK.

“The principal myth is that the BID levy will enable the council to reduce its service level in the BID area. Nothing is further from the truth. BID legislation prevents that from happening.

“A BID can only provide services additional to those the public bodies already provide. Indeed, baseline service agreements have been agreed with the council covering the full range of its services and are openly available on the Hastings BID website.

“One thing is more important than anything else in my view – the turnout. Businesses need to feel confident about voting and the BID Steering Group needs to be confident that a ‘yes’ vote is a true reflection of opinion.

“So, if businesses are still unclear about the BID they can call me on 01424 205516 or e-mail”

The proposal aims to turn the town into a Business Improvement District (BID) with four key objectives - to create a better feel for the town centre, better communications, a stronger business voice and a safer environment.

Voting opened on October 13 and businesses have until November 10 to vote and determine whether the BID will be adopted.

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