Newry BID (Business Improvement District) has commenced its revote strategy for Term Two. Newry Business Improvement District has been in operation in the city centre for five years. In February and March 2021 members will have an opportunity to vote on whether they wish to retain this service or not.
The BID is funded through a 1.5% levy on business rates bills for all those who fall within the area and have an NAV in excess of £5,000. It is the aim of BID Manager Eamonn Connolly to increase the return for members by also leveraging significant grant support and funding from other sources including awards.
Eamonn Connolly, Newry BID Manager said, “We commenced our consultation process with members back at the start of October and this will run through until the end of December 2020. We can already see clear themes emerging of what is important to businesses in the city centre going forward.
“Business support and representation is top of the agenda. No one could have anticipated the impact 2020 would have had on businesses. Newry BID is proud to have been there to support our members through this; for example by supporting more than 200 businesses through the process to receive financial support; by providing social distancing signage free of charge for more than 125 business; and by lobbying for rates relief and on parking to highlight a few. We know that need for recovery and support will continue through 2021 especially with the full impact of Brexit yet to be defined.
“Other themes include making our city cleaner, greener and safer. Newry BID is at the heart of that delivery. We have properties and streets being cleaned ongoing almost every weekend including removing graffiti from more than 40 properties. We have created urban gardens, sponsored planters and organise regular litter picks for example. Marketing Newry and delivering events are other items high on the agenda of our members.
“We are urging our members to engage in our consultation to make sure they have their say. We have already had more than one quarter of our members respond to our survey which is available via this link, we are delivering focus groups and one to one consultation to try and reach every single one of our members.
“The reality is if we do not get a sufficient number of businesses voting to retain the BID in March 2021, it will disappear altogether. We think this would be a major blow to the local economy.”
Giuseppe Fallone, owner Dolce Vita restaurant and take-aways said, “BID has been a phenomenal resource for the business community in Newry. My own business has benefited significantly from Covid support and grant application support to social distancing signage and training. We think it would be a massive loss to Newry not to retain BID. We encourage businesses to vote in support of BID in February/March 2021. If enough votes are not cast BID will not be retained and equally if enough of these are not positive responses, we will lose BID and all that extra resource it brings into supporting our city centre. “
For more information on the consultation process and the revote please log onto newry.com