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Firms reject mayor's plan for Bay-wide Business Improvement District

By Herald Express  |  Posted: December 19, 2013

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BUSINESSES in Torbay have been asked to think again before rejecting mayor Gordon Oliver's proposals for a Bay-wide Business Improvement District (BID).

The mayor has asked business representatives to consult further with their organisations before making their final views known on his proposal.

At an earlier meeting, business leaders rejected the proposal to create a general business cross-Bay BID to raise funds for projects as a 'non-starter'.

It comes as the English Riviera Tourism Company is considering a Bay-wide BID specifically for businesses in the holiday trade.

Barry Buxton, chairman of the Torbay Town Centres Company which runs three BIDs in Torbay town centres, said: "A Bay-wide is an absolute non-starter, that was the decision that was given to the mayor by the meeting and there was no one in that room except Gordon Oliver who supported the idea.

"We have considered it, I have done nothing much else but consider it since it was mooted.

"It can't happen for various technical and other reasons.

"BIDS are based on local areas and local enthusiastic people running them, with their local agendas and these can never match up across the Bay.

"Try to get Brixham traders to agree with the Imperial Hotel, say, on what the priorities are in the Bay. This idea should be put to bed.

"But a tourism bid is almost the only way forward, and it's the right way forward, businesses should take control of their own destiny."

Rob Newman, chairman of Torbay Business Forum, said none of the businesses at the meeting supported the idea.

"No-one there agreed there was any prospect of having a Bay-wide BID.

"But we will discuss it at our open meeting on January 9 on what the options are and what we would like to happen.

"There are two issues, the Bay-wide BID and the mayor's wish there should be a single voice for business in the Bay. We are doing all we can to promote the Business Forum.

"We do want to talk to the mayor, but I have not heard anyone say what a good idea a Bay-wide BID is.

"Having said he wants business to have a voice, it seems the mayor wasn't prepared to listen to that voice and has asked us to go away and consult and have another meeting in January."

He added: "Having a new BID is legally not possible to set it up because we have a number of BIDs running across the Bay with pre-determined timescales.

"You can't have businesses paying into two BIDs. The tourism BID would cover areas that don't have existing BIDs."

Chris Hart, chairman of the ERTC, said they would be considering the tourism BID in further detail early next year.

"From our perspective we are still of the view a tourism bid is the way forward to secure the future funding for destination marketing.

"We are speaking to the industry and the board and will discuss the whole thing further."

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  • BetinaBooty  |  December 19 2013, 9:40AM

    The only thing Torbay Council have done for tourism is kill it off by placing facilities for addicts, hostels for criminals and sex offenders and supporting resettlement plans for all of the above in the centre of a tourist town. Business and tourism know what they need and it is certainly not Torbay Council.

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