Controversial DBID: Meeting this week for Scarborough and Whitby businesses

A meeting will take place on Wednesday night in Scarborough for people concerned about the Yorkshire Coast Business Improvement District (BID).

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Monday, 8th July 2019, 9:50 am

The meeting has been organised by opponents of the scheme, which aims to raise £5m over five years by introducing a mandatory levy on 1,300 businesses from Staithes to Spurn Point.

Wednesday’s meeting, which will take place at Scarborough Bowls Centre in Peasholm Road from 6pm, has been called following the confirmation from Scarborough Council that the first bills will be sent out to businesses on August 1.

First DBID bills to go out in August - see HERE

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Whitby town councillor Hero Sumner, one of those opposing the BID, said that residents, business owners and councillors could attend the public meeting.

She said: “The [levy] is in addition to business rates and depending on the size of the business will be from hundreds up to thousands of pounds. This will continue for five years.”

Businesses in the tourism industry with a rateable value of more than £12,000 with pay a 1.5% levy each year towards the BID, which will then use the money to promote the area via events and festivals as well as make improvements in the bill-paying locations.

A ballot of the more than 1,300 businesses last year saw 217 votes in favour of creating the BID compares to 175 against.

It later emerged that more than 70 votes were cast by the councils involved in the BID, with Scarborough Council alone voting 38 times in favour. Cllr Sumner says that this shows that businesses do not want the BID.

She added: “Only 146 genuine businesses voted for this, 175 voted against it. East Riding And Scarborough councils between them cast 73 votes [and] these votes were cast behind closed doors

“Businesses along the Yorkshire coast have appealed to Scarborough Council as the lead council to stop this process.”

Opponents say that around 90 businesses in Whitby alone could refuse to pay the levy bill with Scarborough Council insisting the legal process for the setting up of the BID has been followed and it will take action to recover money from those who do not pay.