Banbury BID: Businesses raise some concerns

Aftab Gaffar and Stephanie Kerr who run BIDs, Steve Smith, Kieron Mallon and Lynn Pratt from CDC and Chris Gregory from Heartflood NNL-170321-133338001
Aftab Gaffar and Stephanie Kerr who run BIDs, Steve Smith, Kieron Mallon and Lynn Pratt from CDC and Chris Gregory from Heartflood NNL-170321-133338001
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Reaction to the presentations and a Banbury BID were mixed with issues ranging from the added tax levy of 1.5 per cent it will impose to its ability to tackle the issues of empty shops and the lack of parking.

The next step in the BID process will be further consultations with businesses in the town centre to fine tune the specifics of what a Banbury BID should deliver.

This will be carried out by Heartflood, who administered the initial feasibility study which found that 74 per cent of businesses were in favour. However this was from a response from just 112 businesses in a BID that will encompass up to 450.

Malcolm Douglas, proprietor of Henry’s Menswear, said: “I have mixed views. I think businesses and retailers would be willing to pay a bit extra but I do feel that Cherwell does not put back into the town centre.

He added: “Run well, I think it could be good. I’d be pleased if we improved the town centre, improved street cleaning, but it does need Cherwell to be onside.”

Rachel Mates, area manager of Achilles Salons and who has had previous issues with beggars in the town, said: “I don’t need to see a street cleaner cleaning at 8am before we open, that should be done anyway.

“It’s a closed vote too, so we just get a letter saying it’s been voted in and you can’t challenge it. So for all the transparency and everything it’s actually not transparent at all.

She added: “I get the feeling it will be a very ignorant vote and it will get passed on a very minimal amount of people voting for it.”

Nick Poole, head of Banbury Chamber of Commerce said: “We support it. It was my idea originally that we pursue the idea of a BID two years ago so I set the thing in motion. We have the council on board and the chamber are behind it.”