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Business improvement district mooted for Helston

By West Briton  |  Posted: May 15, 2014

  • Helston Business Improvement Partnership's development officer, Shirley Moralee.

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HELSTON businesses may be asked to pay for projects to attract visitors and rejuvenate the town.

The Helston Business Improvement Partnership (HBIP) will set out its vision for the future at its annual meeting next week.

The partnership's development officer, Shirley Moralee, said the only way projects could keep going was if Helston followed Falmouth and Truro's lead and created a business improvement district, known as a BID.

Mrs Moralee, who took over part of the town centre manager's job at the beginning of this year, said the current Section 106 – planning permission agreement – money from the building of Tesco and Sainsbury's would not last forever.

"All these wonderful projects we're working on now, they are having an effect on the town centre, but they will disappear unless we can find a new source of funding," she said.

A BID is funded by businesses in town who are asked to pay an extra levy on their business rates. Typically this is 1 or 2 per cent and only businesses turning over a certain amount have to pay.

Mrs Moralee said those details would have to be thrashed out before a BID could be set up. The proposals would also have to be approved by a majority of traders in a postal ballot.

She said projects would have to apply to a steering group of directors for funding from the BID.

Examples elsewhere include Truro, where BID directors organise the popular annual Truro Festival of arts, music and culture.

Previous projects undertaken by the HBIP include the town map and guide, street markets, first aid training, Visit Helston website and wraps on empty shopfronts.

Projects under way or under consideration for this year include putting up 100 hanging baskets throughout town and organising a list of summer events from family barbecues to soapbox go-kart racing down Coinagehall Street.

The HBIP is also working on a 'I Love Helston' video where local people will be invited to give their impressions of the town.

Mrs Moralee added: "That is really the next stage. Look at all the projects we've got going and imagine taking that away. It would be a great shame when you consider what we've achieved."

The annual meeting of HBIP will be held at the Angel Hotel on Tuesday at 7pm.

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