BID plan to boost Penzance high street
THE FUTURE success of Penzance high street could be boosted by a major cash injection if plans to launch a Business Improvement District (BID) are approved.
The scheme, which is business led and run, sees organisations contribute cash to one central pot to be used to promote and enhance their trading environment.
Recession-hit businesses have given a mixed reaction to the fledgling proposals, with some celebrating the moves and others worried about how much money they will be expected to hand over as part of the BID scheme.
"In a perfect world we would love to pay into something like that to get something up and running for the benefit of the town," said Heather Parry, one of the owners of Mr Billy's café, a newly launched business in Market Place.
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"We do not want to be selfish but we have got to claw back every penny we get at the moment."
Still in the early stages, Penzance Town Council have held an informal meeting with county hall about the prospect of launching a BID in the town. As part of the project, companies based within a certain geographical area could pay the equivalent of between 1 and 2 per cent of their business rates into a ring-fenced fund.
The ethos of the scheme will now be relayed to businesses within the town before a steering group is set up to see if a BID is wanted or needed in Penzance.
"A BID is needed here in Penzance," said Dick Cliffe, chairman of the town's chamber of commerce and Town Team co-ordinator.
"It will get money spent when needed to make the town a vibrant and attractive place."
He also said there needed to be a discussion about the geographical area the BID would cover.
"I would like to get Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury's to say they support the scheme and if they were within the BID boundary it would be great to get 1 or 2 per cent of their business rates," he said.
"I think it is good to develop this initiative within the business community and it identifies the central part of the town as an area which can be improved," said Mayor Phil Rendle, who added that the scheme could be used to bring in outside investment from the likes of public sector agencies, grant bodies and landowners.