St Albans BID ballot result announced
- Credit: Matt Adams
St Albans BID has won a ballot to decide on whether it should be renewed for a second five-year tenure.
The result was 95 votes in favour and 50 against on a turn-out of just 32.2 per cent.
The rateable values added up to £6,147,250 for the BID and £2,327,000 against it.
Both a straight majority and a majority based on rateable values were required for the BID proposal to succeed.
The result means St Albans BID will resume its work for a maximum of five years from this April. A further ballot will be required for it to continue after that date.
The not-for-profit organisation was set up in 2017 to represent the interests of businesses in a designated area of the city centre, working closely alongside the district council (SADC), with its key focuses set out as appearance, leisure, business, awareness and networks.
It was funded by a compulsory levy paid by approximately 450 businesses, including independent and chain retailers, pubs, hotels, restaurants, professional service firms, theatres, museums and the Cathedral. Other funding comes from grants, sponsorship and associated membership.
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During its first few years, the BID was managed by Helen Burridge, whose focus was largely on events, which included hosting George Street Gin and Jazz, decorating the city centre with Christmas lights, and running a St Albans Advent Trail using shop windows.
Following the outbreak of the pandemic, the BID largely focused on supporting local retail and hospitality businesses through the economic emergency it spawned.
This has included running the 'Inside Out St Albans' initiative, offering retailers and hospitality outlets the chance to trade outdoors and survive through lockdowns and government restrictions, employing BID Rangers to patrol the city centre, and overseeing the closure of High Street and George Street to ensure social distancing.
St Albans district council managed the voting process on behalf of the BID. Businesses will now continue to pay a BID levy of 1.8% of their rateable value. Those with rateable values of £12,000 or less will be exempt.