‘Retailers must have their say on city centre plan’
Call to bosses as ballot draws to a close
AS THE clock ticks down on a scheme to raise millions to improve and promote the city centre, businesses across Aberdeen urged more people to get on board.
The rallying cry came less than a week before a historic ballot on creating a Business Improvement District closes.
If approved, traders would pay an extra 1% in rates that would be spent directly on Aberdeen rather than put into a national pot.
The ballot for Aberdeen’s BID will end on Thursday.
If it’s backed, £4 million would be available for environmental improvements and marketing over five years.
The vision of the Aberdeen Business Improvement District (BID) is to make the city centre one of the most “vibrant, prosperous, safe and attractive” cities in northern Europe.
And one retailer said it was a great idea to regenerate the city centre.
Shoe shop owner Andrew Begg has already voted “yes” to the BID and said it would be a step in the right direction.
Mr Begg, whose family started trading in 1866, said: “I think it’s a great idea – anything to regenerate the city centre.”
The owner of Andrew Begg Shoes on Upperkirkgate said he hoped improvements would be made more quickly – for example, easing pedestrian movement between the Bon Accord and St Nicholas Centres.
And he said the levy – which would see him hand over hundreds of pounds extra each year – was fair.
Mr Begg added: “The beauty of the BID is that everything is occurring on a sliding scale.”
BID director David Halliday said: “We are now on the home stretch and it is vital that any business owner that has not filled in their ballot does so before it is too late.
“The project will give city centre businesses a unified voice and the chance to implement the changes they feel will make the city thrive.”
Many cities throughout the UK have enjoyed great success following BIDs strategies, including Inverness and Edinburgh.
The BID area stretches from Holburn Junction to King Street and from Union Square to George Street and businesses inside this footprint with a rateable value of more than £27,500 have been balloted on whether they want a BID to go ahead.
At least 51% of voters