Scarborough councillors should not fear tried and tested DBID business model

I refer to your recent online report under the heading “I wish there was a red button to make the Yorkshire DBID disappear”.

Wednesday, 29th July 2020, 1:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th July 2020, 2:43 pm
Scarborough is in the Yorkshire BID area.

It is a great shame and disservice to the development of tourism on the Yorkshire Coast that Scarborough Borough Councillors have continually failed to grasp or understand the concept of a Business Improvement District.

Business Improvement Districts, which originated in the USA and Canada in the 1970s, are tried and tested business models used to generate additional income for specified purposes within a chosen geographical area.

The money raised must not be used to fund services which a Local Authority or District Council are required to provide, perhaps something that rankles Scarborough Borough Councillors?

There are currently over 300 Business Improvement Districts in the UK including Harrogate, Hull and York.

All of the main UK tourism destinations including Bournemouth, Torquay, Skegness and Great Yarmouth have their own Business Improvement Districts.

Levy Payers in Bournemouth have recently voted to extend their BID for a third term of five years and Great Yarmouth is currently in its second term of five years.

This would surely indicate that tourism in those areas have benefited from the model.

Why then the lack of support from Scarborough Borough Councillors (unlike their counterparts in the East Riding) for a Business Improvement District for the Yorkshire Coast whose primary objectives are quite simply to attract more tourists and get them to spend more money in the area on accommodation, food, drink, retail and the wonderful and diverse attractions we have to offer?

Do they really want to give Bournemouth and Torquay such a competitive advantage?

The BID Directors have worked hard to obtain Government support from the Minister of State for Communities to apply Relief to the Year Two Levy for all Levy Payers whose businesses have been adversely affected by Covid-19.

Nevertheless, with almost £1m revenue generated in Year One, the Yorkshire Coast Business Improvement District has sufficient funds to help the area recover from the worst effects of the current pandemic by investing in projects, events and activities which in turn will attract more tourists to the Yorkshire Coast.

I would be happy to meet with any Scarborough Borough Councillor who would like to have a constructive (as opposed to negative) discussion regarding the very real and positive benefits of Business Improvement Districts, and hopefully how we can work together for the benefit of all businesses along the Yorkshire Coast.

James Hodgson

Director, Yorkshire Coast Business Improvement District Limited, Woodend, Scarborough