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Monday, 22 September 2014

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Penrith firms say yes to Business Improvement District

Penrith is to get a Business Improvement District after the idea won the support of local shops and firms in a ballot.

Kelvin Dixon photo
Kelvin Dixon

The result is in sharp contrast to Carlisle where the idea of a BID area was rejected in a similar ballot.

BIDs aim to boost trade by using a levy on business rates to raise cash for marketing and other initiatives.

Supporters say the Penrith bid would “release the town’s potential”.

Priorities include a marketing campaign, organising street festivals and events, smartening up businesses, better parking facilities and providing training for businesses.

In Penrith the vast majority of business ratepayers in the proposed BID area, who voted, supported the proposal. The majority of rateable value, also backed the BID.

A ‘yes’ vote is required for both categories to allow a BID to be approved.

A total of 400 businesses were eligible to vote. There was a 42.5 per cent turnout.

Kelvin Dixon, chairman of the BID’s Shadow Board, said: “I am delighted that businesses have unequivocally supported the proposals. The ballot had an excellent turnout .

“We have tremendous support for the business plan, which really seeks to drive Penrith forward. I look forward in the coming months to forming a board in order to implement the business plan and I would like to thank everyone involved for their support in developing the BID and highlighting the opportunity it represents for the town.”

Eden District Council leader Councillor Gordon Nicolson said: “This is excellent news for Penrith. I am very pleased that the traders in the BID area have recognised the benefits of a BID project and the actions in the business plan should benefit the town centre as a whole."

The proposal will be implemented on April 1 next year.

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