The scheme, which aims to improve the area and its facilities, has been backed by 68 per cent of local business people in a recent poll. The vote, which was organised by the Electoral Reform Service, is the first step towards establishing Wednesbury as a Business Improvement District (BID).
Finances for the scheme will be raised through a levy on business rates payers at 1.75 per cent of rateable value. For many small independent shops this will be less than £100 a year, but the total raised will be approximately £65,000 per year over the course of the five-year plan.
The money will be used for a variety of measures including improved CCVT, action to deal with empty shop units, an annual programme of events, better marketing of the town and greater consultation with local businesses. The implementation of the plan will be overseen by a board of directors, recruited from local stakeholders such as employers and business owners.
Mr Gurjit Moore, chair of the BID delivery project group, said he was delighted with the result of the vote and wanted to thank all those that had worked over the last six months to achieve a favourable outcome. Mr Moore, who owns and runs a dental practice in Wednesbury, said: “The new BID scheme will give us a solid foundation to make significant improvements to the town centre and provide the means to raise funding for a whole range of new initiatives.”
He also thanked the council for supporting the early consultation work and feasibility studies, and the councillors for helping to raise awareness so everyone in the town centre had the opportunity to review the proposal and make an informed choice about how to vote.
Councillor Pam Hughes, town lead for Wednesbury, said: “I am looking forward to working with the BID when it is set up, and to delivering a range of initiatives for improving our town centres.”
Councillor Paul Moore, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and economic investment, said: “The council looks forward to working with the BID project in Wednesbury and I hope it can be as successful as the two existing BIDs in West Bromwich.”
Think Sandwell fully supports the aims of the Wednesbury BID proposal and will be following developments with interest. To find out more about how we can help support your business, visit our Business Services pages.