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Thursday, 18 September 2014

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Firms balloted on BID proposal

Ballot papers are being sent to businesses in Penrith to discuss whether to create a business improvement district (BID) in the town.

The scheme aims to boost trade by using cash raised from an annual levy on business rates to spend on marketing.

If given the go-ahead in the ballot of eligible business ratepayers, it would mean them paying an extra levy on a percentage of their rateable values for the next five years.

Organisers behind the bid claim it would “release Penrith’s potential”, by offering a five-year targeted marketing campaign, improving the use of social media by the 400-plus businesses and contributing funding to support festivals and events.

Other ambitions include setting up a new partnership between businesses community groups and councils to set up a programme to improve and maintain the public realm, contributing to new car parking initiatives and offering business training and networking opportunities.

Kelvin Dixon, chairman of the BID shadow board, said: “This is a unique opportunity for Penrith to take charge of its own destiny and to release the potential that Penrith has.

“The important thing to me is that every business, whether large or small has a single vote and it is vital that they use it.”

Carlisle City Council had considered setting up its own BID in the city, but this was rejected by businesses at the end of September who voted 69 to 55.

For more information on the Penrith BID and to read the business plan visit, www.penrithchamberoftrade.org.uk or www.penrithtown.co.uk/partnership/bid or www.eden.gov.uk

All votes must be received by November 30.

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