Businesses from Staithes to Spurn Point have voted in favour of creating the Yorkshire Coast Business Improvement District (BID).
Votes were counted today at Scarborough Town Hall with 55% of votes cast in favour of the BID, which aims to raise more than £5 million over five years to put back into the communities by way of creating new events, festivals, markets and general improvements and infrastructure.
However, the turnout for the postal ballot, which had been running throughout November, was just 29.17%. In total, 1,354 ballot papers were sent out, 217 voted “yes” with 175 “no” votes, three ballot papers were spoiled.
For the BID to be implemented more than 50% of businesses that voted must have voted in favour of the BID and the businesses that voted “yes” must represent a greater total rateable value than those that vote “no”.
The rateable value of the votes in favour was £12,438,700 of a total of £21million for the ballots returned. So the bid was accepted.
The backers say the BID will help to promote the individual towns and the Yorkshire Coast as a whole.
However, the way the scheme will be funded had drawn some concern.
Every retail, leisure, accommodation and food and drink organisation with a rateable value of £12,000 and above would have to pay into a mandatory levy, which would be calculated at 1.5% of that value.
For example, a business with a rateable value of £12,000 would pay £180 a year for five years.
Businesses would still pay business rates alongside the new levy.
Speaking after the result was announced today, the BID director Clive Rowe-Evans said: “I am obviously thrilled and now looking forward to moving ahead with forming the BID company and then getting on with the proposals that are in the BID proposal and getting the benefits for the Levy payers as quickly as possible. Hopefully within the next six months. ”
Mr Rowe-Evans admitted the turnout of below 30% was disappointing and that his team had work to do with just 16% of businesses eligible to vote casting their ballot for “yes”.
He added: “[The turnout] is obviously disappointing we can’t deny that but what was encouraging was that we got 55% of those who did turnout supporting the BID.
“If you look at BIDs around the country the turnout has been around at this sort of level.”
Mr Rowe-Evans said that the initial levy payments would start coming in around June next year.
He added: “What we want to do is speak again to all the levy payers, particularly those who voted no to ensure that we can show them and help them with some of their concerns to try and ensure what we are doing will help them as well.”
Figures from the BID team show that businesses in Scarborough town on their own will contribute more than £2.36 million of the £5.4m raised over the five-year period. The next highest contributor would be Bridlington with £850,000.
Whitby would contribute £763,000 and Filey £222,000.
Carl Gavaghan , Local Democracy Reporting Service