TRADERS in Penzance are to investigate the potential for a Business Improvement District (BID).
BIDs exist when businesses in a specific area agree to pay an additional tax in order to fund projects.
Traders in Penzance have wanted to develop a BID for some years and now the opportunity has arisen through funds being made available from Sainsbury’s and support from Cornwall Council.
But the scheme will be led by traders themselves and they will determine whether it goes ahead and, if it does, what the BID will deliver for them.
The work will involve detailed consultation with all businesses over the next 12 to 18 months to find out what activities will help their competitiveness.
BIDs already exist in five other towns in Cornwall – Truro, Falmouth, Newquay, Camborne and St Austell – and the Truro BID has been voted in for a second five-year term.
Marcus Wilkinson, the BID Steering Group Chairman said: “It is early days, but the BID framework provides an accountable structure to bring together all the businesses in Penzance to identify common priorities and work together to improve the trading environment.
“It is all about businesses working together for their mutual benefit.
“I sincerely hope that the whole business community will get involved and appreciate the benefits that a Business Improvement District could bring to Penzance.
“If Penzance is going to thrive in the future it needs to make the most of its wonderful position and unique mix of individual businesses. It is up to us to lead the way ourselves – no one else is going to.”
Dick Cliffe, chairman of Penzance Chamber of Commerce, said: “The chamber of commerce strongly supports the proposed Penzance BID.
“It will provide a mechanism for businesses to co-operate in improving the trading environment and the resources to do so.
“However no business is keen to see its business rates increased so the BID programme needs to be carefully constructed to convince levy paying businesses that it represents value for money.
“There is going to be a lot of consultation over the next 12 months to make sure we get it right.
“I am delighted Marcus Wilkinson of Alfred Smith's, has agreed to chair the BID steering group.
“About 95 per cent of BID votes are successful. Failure to deliver is the common reason for BIDs not being renewed after their initial five-year life. It is businesses that pay and it is businesses that decide.
“It is quite simple but it can be quite brutal.”
All businesses in Penzance will be invited to attend an information event to be held early next year where they can hear more about BIDs.
In the meantime for further information please contact Marcus Wilkinson at