Plans to create a Business Improvement District for the whole of Yorkshire’s coast have been unveiled in a move which could see £5m raised to invest into the region.
A ballot of more than 1,300 businesses in the tourism and retail industries, from Staithes to Spurn Point, is to be held in a bid to bring prosperity and money into the coastal economy.
The Yorkshire Coast Business Improvement District (BID) aims to raise more than £5m over five years to put back into the communities by way of creating new events, festivals, markets and general improvements and infrastructure.
The backers say it will also help to promote the individual towns and the Yorkshire Coast as a whole.
Several BID schemes already exist in Yorkshire, including in York, Leeds, Halifax and Sheffield. However this would be the first one to cover such a large geographical patch in the region.
The scheme works by having every retail, leisure, accommodation and food and drink organisation with a rateable value of £12,000 and above paying into a mandatory levy, which would be calculated at 1.5 per cent 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.
Before the BID, which is backed by Scarborough Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council can come into effect a month-long postal vote of the 1,300 businesses will be held through November, with ballots arriving on Thursday.
The BID team must secure more than 50 per cent of the businesses to vote in favour. Also, the total rateable value of those who vote ‘yes’ must exceed that of the ‘no’ votes.
If approved, money collected would be put into a pot and projects will be devised between the partner groups and business as to what it should be spent on.
Figures from the BID team show that businesses in Scarborough town on their own would 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 an Filey £222,000.
John Senior, chairman of Scarborough’s South Bay Traders Association, said: “It’s just self help, there is no budget for tourism and we are getting no help from the Government so we need to do it ourselves.”
Clive Rowe-Evans from the Yorkshire Coast BID Task Group said the BID represents “an exciting opportunity to future proof the Yorkshire Coast for years to come”.
The BID team has earmarked £1.5m to be used to promote the coast nationally, with a further £200,000 each to improve the visual appearance of the area, champion green initiatives and offer support to businesses.
The ballots have gone out to all those who would be eligible for the levy.