Business district in Northumberland to be terminated

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Another Business Improvement District in Northumberland has hit the buffers, with the Hexham BID set to be axed.

BIDs are business-led partnerships created through a ballot process to deliver additional services to local businesses. They are funded through a levy on all eligible premises within the BID area.

The Government states they can be a powerful tool for directly involving local businesses in local activities and allow the business community, local authorities and other key partners such as the police to work together to improve the local trading environment.

But a report to Monday’s (September 3) meeting of Northumberland County Council’s corporate services committee explained that the board of the Hexham BID, which has operated since October 2016, has given notice to the council that it wishes to terminate the arrangements as of September 10.

Coun Richard Wearmouth, cabinet member for economic development, said: “While there was support at the beginning, that support has ebbed away.

“Over the course of about six months, they will be putting the affairs in order and returning money to the levy holders.”

This process, which affects around 700 businesses, will be dealt managed by the county council.

The end of the Hexham BID comes on the back of the Morpeth BID being rejected at the vote in April. The only other BID in development is in Blyth.

Coun John Beynon, who was involved in the Morpeth BID process, said: “There were mistakes made with the Hexham BID when it first set out, I think it was too large an area and they should have just focused on the town centre.

“It became very poisonous too and I think some of that transferred to the Morpeth BID and was a reason for its failure.”

The county council’s position is that the introduction of BID arrangements is for local businesses to decide. Nonetheless, the local authority supports them where they are backed at the ballot box.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service