Newbury BID prepare for Ballot and ask businesses to vote “YES!” for a further 5-year term

Newbury Business Today 13.01.22

We are preparing to go to ballot over a 4-week period, from Thursday 27th January until Thursday 24th February.  

Prior to this date on 25th January, ballot papers will be sent to more than 500 levy-paying businesses within the defined geographical BID area in Newbury Town Centre, giving them the opportunity to decide whether to collectively fund our work as an independent, not-for-profit Community Interest Company for a further five years. 

This will be our third ballot after successful YES votes in 2011 and 2016, with the results for Term 3 Ballot due to be announced on 25th February. A majority YES vote will ensure Newbury Town Centre benefits from over £1.2m of business investment over the next five years to improve the local trading environment. This ring-fenced funding will be used to help visitors and businesses to DISCOVER Newbury, EXPERIENCE Newbury, and PARTNER IN Newbury, with the aim of helping the town centre and its businesses thrive. 

Details of the projects, schemes and initiatives falling under these three categories are outlined in our recently published 5-year Business Plan. Titled ‘“Taking Newbury to the Next Level” BID Renewal Term 3 2022-2027 Business Plan’, the document was put together following thorough consultation with businesses and stakeholders and is available to read and download here.

Without a majority YES vote, Newbury BID and the Visit Newbury brand will cease to exist at the end of the current term, on 31st May 2022. There will no longer be any organisation marketing and shaping Newbury as a place, facilitating partnership working between local businesses, or giving the business community a collective voice. 

Popular events such as the Christmas Lights Switch-On and Victorian Christmas Fayre will disappear (as well as the Christmas lights themselves!). There will be no-one to manage the Town Centre’s CCTV or Business Crime Reduction Scheme, no access to free or discounted shared business services, and no-one to lobby on behalf of the business community at a strategic level to influence the future of Newbury Town Centre. 

If the BID levy funding goes, Newbury will get left behind the 330+ other towns, cities, and places in the UK which operate a Business Improvement District. Many of these BIDs had hugely successful ballot renewals in 2021, with businesses up and down the country seeing the benefits that being within a BID brings. 

 Melissa Hughes, our CEO, said: 

Much of our recent work really highlights why a YES vote is vital for Newbury. Our Christmas Lights Switch-On Festival, for example, contained the most fabulous programme of activities to draw people into town and maximise their dwell time throughout the day, and our levy payers really benefitted from the event.

The festival drew more than 10,000 additional visitors into the town centre throughout the day and, alongside our “12 Days of Newbury” Christmas marketing campaign, helped to ensure Newbury’s November 2021 footfall was all-but on a par with November 2019. To receive a “no” vote would be devasting for the town, as all the hard work we have done to put Newbury on the map and increase footfall back to pre-covid levels would be lost.

Newbury BID is committed to making Newbury a great place to live, work, visit, and do business. If you run a levy-paying business, your YES vote can help to secure five more years of funding to retain the BID team and deliver projects such as these. All the information you need about when and how to vote is available here 

Our next Victorian Christmas Fayre is already in the diary, provisionally scheduled for Friday 9th – Sunday 11th December 2022. Though if we’re unsuccessful in our upcoming BID renewal ballot for a further 5-year term, this event and many others, including the popular monthly Artisan Market, won’t go ahead. 

To find out more about our Term 3 Renewal Ballot and to read the Business Plan, please click here

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