Business group faces ballot box

THE organisation in charge of promoting Daventry’s town centre is seeking re-election - despite a lack of faith in its promises.

Daventry Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID) was set up in April 2008 following a ballot of businesses, and is now hoping to be voted in for another four years.

BIDs are funded through a levy on top of the business rates paid by firms in the areas covered.

But not all traders support its planned renewal.

Paul Bowditch, who runs the Pigeonhole in the Moot Hall, said: “We opened up after the original ballot when the BID was already in place, so we didn’t vote for it but we were stuck with it.

“We refused to pay, but they took us to court.

“This year it’s an extra £643 on top of the £10,000 we pay in rates.

“Also some of the services we pay extra for should be provided by the council or police in the first place.

“I look at it like this, if the BID wasn’t here would Daventry be worse off, and I don’t think it would be. I’ve lived in Daventry for many years before opening the Pigeonhole, and since the BID’s come in I’ve not seen any marked improvement.

“Last time a lot of people didn’t vote, but that doesn’t count and the BID got through.

“This time I’ll start a ‘no’ campaign if I have to.”

Ballot papers have been sent out to all business rate payers in the town centre with a deadline for votes of 5pm on February 14.

Euan Temple, chairman of the Daventry Business Partnership which runs the BID, said: “The levy, although an additional cost, is small in comparison to the potential savings that you can make to the continued long term growth, viability and sustainability of the town centre.

“In the first five year the foundations have been laid and a tremendous amount has been achieved. Initiatives for the next BID include business cost savings, more promotional activity and a Daventry loyalty card, in addition to the existing warden, crime, safety, promotion and cleaning services.”

n Separate to the town centre BID there is also a vote being held about setting up a new scheme covering Daventry’s industrial estates.

The Daventry Commercial BID states its goals as improved transport access, group buying or sharing of services, and raising the profile of businesses and the industrial estates.