Making every single penny count a priority for new BID chairman
STORE MANAGER VOWS TO BUILD ON WORK OF PREDECESSORS AS HE TAKES OVER AS CHAIRMAN FOR TWO YEARS
BID4OBAN’s newest chairman says he will build on the work of his predecessors to allow the community-business organisation to flourish.
This week, Andrew Spence, Homebase manager, took over the reins of the business improvement district (BID) company from Graeme Bass who has had to stand down from the chairmanship due to ill health. Andrew said: ‘While some may not have heard of the company, BID4Oban, they will be aware of many of the things that it has been doing over the last three years.’
He explained: ‘BID4Oban is key supporter of the hugely successful Oban concert Skerryvore Decade, street ambassadors, Hogmanay in Oban, shop-front face lifts, floral displays, and our staff and volunteers meet every cruise ship that comes into port.’
Andrew said he was learning from all the good work BID4Oban had achieved so far, and wanted to carry on the legacy of Graeme Bass and first chairman John Forteith, to ensure the future of the BID company.
Andrew said: ‘I want to make every single levy payer pound work for the improvement of the town.’
All businesses in the town, with a rateable value of more than £ 3,000 pay a levy of between £ 3 and £97 a week to the BID company, based on the rateable value of the business.
This raises cash to spend on its business plan and to meet its aims of improving the business environment in the town.
Andrew, originally from Inverness, has been in Oban with his family since 2006 and for many years championed the hanging baskets throughout the town.
Andrew said: ‘I believe that BID4Oban improves the quality and impact of trade to the businesses and business owners in the town. If BID4Oban wasn’t there the town would be much poorer without it.
‘I want to make sure in the last two years [of a five-year term] of the BID, the volunteer group of directors build on the experiences that we have gained to make sure we continue to deliver high- quality events, ideas and initiatives. It is also my intention that BID4Oban continues after its current term.’
Giving examples of the way the community company spends the £140,000 raised from a levy on the town’s businesses, Andrew said the impact of that cash was all the more valuable because it allowed for other activities and support to be given just as other cash for such activities is drying up.
He said: ‘ We have an office team who want to support all the exciting ideas the people of the town come up with to make the events and activities programme in the town second to none.
‘Our belief has always been that the levy should be used to support the ideas and the initiatives of people of the area. So that might mean that we help financially but it also means the expertise of our staff is there to support the business community.
‘We have a shop on Stevenson Street that we want to encourage people to come into. I want to hear from levy payers as to how we can continue our success and make further business improvements to the business community of Oban.
‘BID4Oban gives the business community of the town a voice within the local authority like no other and we have representation from the local authority on our board.
‘Everything we do has to have a benefit to our levy payers.’
Stepping down, former chairman Graeme Bass said: ‘Andrew is the ideal appointment to lead the BID company into the next phase of its development. He brings a wealth of commercial experience to the role, and has been involved with the BID since its inception and he is truly passionate about delivering value-adding benefits to the business community in Oban.’
Andrew, on behalf of the BID4Oban board, said that Graeme would be a hard act to follow, and thanked him for his time as chairman and for ‘staying on the board’.
AT THE HELM: Andrew Spence, manager of Homebase, Oban, has taken over as chairman of