Green light for ballot on Isle of Bute BID

Bute harbour

Argyll and Bute Council has given the go-ahead for a ballot on the proposal to establish a Business Improvement District (BID) on the Isle of Bute.

A BID is part of a town, tourism and visitor area in which businesses work together to invest in local improvements to help enhance their communities. BIDs can only exist if they get support from a clear majority of local businesses in a vote.

The Isle of Bute BID is being progressed by a steering group of representatives from the local business community. Their objective is to develop a BID which strengthens the island’s economic base across all its business and commercial areas, including agriculture. If successful, this would be the first Island BID in Scotland.

The main aim is to deliver a series of projects and events over a five-year period which improve the environment for businesses, their customers and  visitors to the island via a levy which, if approved, could potentially raise £134,000 a year and in excess of  £600,000 over the five years.

The steering group has carried out extensive consultations including a series of information evenings which attracted more than 90 local businesses. The group also issued questionnaires to every business on the island.

The business plan for the BID outlines for levy payers the level of expected contribution, how it will be collected and the potential return on investment as well as a number of initial ideas on how payments could be invested to grow the island’s economy.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Policy Lead, Business, Regeneration and Commercial Development:

“We’re pleased to approve the proposal for a ballot on the BID in line with the wishes of the local business community.

“The creation of a BID for the Isle of Bute would bring multiple benefits to the island’s local economy, creating employment opportunities and attracting further investment.  I would urge everyone within all sectors of the business community to take this opportunity to make their views known.”

The postal ballot, will take place over 42 days, beginning on Thursday 29th July, with all votes submitted by 5pm on Thursday 9th September.

For the ballot to be successful, a minimum turnout of 25% of all businesses would be required and, of those which vote, over 50% by number and 50% by combined rateable value must vote in favour.

The results will be published within a week of the ballot closing and, if successful, the BID would start on 1st October 2021. Argyll and Bute, as a levy payer, would be required to pay a levy on its properties on the island with its estimated contribution being £9,850 per annum.

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