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Against business district





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Plans to give businesses in Newark town centre a greater say on services are not supported by the town or district council, it has been claimed.

The idea for Newark to become a Business Improvement District would enable businesses in an area designated as the town centre to vote on whether to pay higher business rates, of between 1-2%.

The additional money is spent only on improvements in the area instead of being given to the Treasury.

At a meeting of Newark Town Partnership, Mr David Payne, a town and district councillor, said there was no way the district council would levy additional rates on businesses.

The idea for a BID was first mentioned at Newark Business Club.

The town partnership is now leading the project using the town clerk Mr Jim Hanrahan’s knowledge and expertise.

Mr Hanrahan, Mr Mike Robinson, who is Newark and Sherwood District Council’s economic regeneration manager, Mr Dean Hyde and Mr Peter Duncan, of Newark Business Club, and Mr Keith Girling, the chairman of Newark Town Partnership, are attending a fact-finding training course over six months.

It includes workshops, a feasibility study and compiling a database of businesses.

The course will provide an understanding of the stages in the development of a business district and the skills needed. It will also help guide decisions on whether to pursue the idea.

The first phase is financed by the East Midlands Development Agency and the cost of the second stage, which would involve preparing documents and lobbying, would hopefully be covered by the Alliance Sub-regional Strategic Partnership.

Mr Payne said: “You can go to the East Midlands Development Agency and do your thing but it is not going to happen.”

He questioned how much time council officers were spending working on the BID.

“That is what is being paid for by council taxpayers,” he said.

Mr Girling said the research was to find out what was involved and how the money could be spent.

He said then they would approach businesses to find out what they thought.

“It could be a total no-go and we walk away,” he said.



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