Mak­ing ev­ery sin­gle penny count a pri­or­ity for new BID chair­man


The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­

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

BID4Oban. 26_t45an­drew1

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