First bills for Yorkshire Coast BID scheme sent out across Scarborough and Whitby

Scarborough Council.
Scarborough Council.

The first bills have been sent out by Scarborough Council as part of the Yorkshire Coast Business Improvement District (BID) levy scheme.

The authority entered into its operating agreement with the BID company last week, with the first invoices for the levies going out on August 1.

More than 1,000 businesses in the tourism industry from Staithes in the north to Spurn Point in the south with a rateable value of more than £12,000 will have to pay the mandatory levy, calculated at 1.5 per cent of their rateable value.

The BID aims to raise around £5m over five years to put back into the communities by way of creating new events, festivals, markets and also by making general improvements and updating infrastructure.

Last year, a ballot of businesses was passed by a margin of 217 in favour with 175 against, on a turnout of just above 29 per cent.

However, it later came to light that 71 of the yes votes came from the councils involved in the process, including 38 from Scarborough Council which were cast by the former leader of the authority, Cllr Derek Bastiman (Con), in consultation with his then cabinet and officers.

An appeal was lodged with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire MP, but earlier this year he declared that the appeal case was invalid as only four per cent of businesses raised the appeal, with five per cent needed to trigger the process.

Last week, Scarborough Council entered into an operating agreement with Yorkshire Coast BID Ltd to formally start the levy collection process.

Opponents to the BID have said they will not pay the levy and the first indication of how many holdouts there have been will come on September 15 when the first reminders will be sent out to businesses who have not made a payment.

If payments have not been made by November 15 then the council would start enforcement action with court summons issued just before Christmas.

The Yorkshire Coast BID recently announced its board of directors, made up of people and business owners from across the BID area, with a promise to have “open communication” with all those involved.

Mark Miller, a Whitby-based board director, said: “It was important for us to understand what has happened over the last 18 months and, like others, I had concerns, but I can reassure businesses that everything has been done correctly.

“The BID is here now and it is all of our responsibility as business owners to make the BID a success”.