Ballymena BID gets thumbs up

Dessie Blackadder

Reporter:

Dessie Blackadder

Businesses have voted to continue supporting Ballymena Business Improvement District (BID) for the next 5 years.

Ballymena BID was established in 2015 to encourage growth, development and continued investment into the town centre.

Chaired by well-known, local businessman, Stephen Reynolds, BID is supported by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Chamber of Commerce as well as a collective of local businesses.

80% of those who voted* did so in favour of the BID progressing.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Peter Johnston welcomed the result: “I’m delighted that BID will continue to benefit our local businesspeople for at least another five years. The last twelve months have been incredibly challenging for our local businesses but we are starting to see signs that better times are coming.

“This borough prides itself on the resilience of its business community. BID is another string to our bow which has already seen cooperative working to boost both the tourism and manufacturing sectors through special taskforces set up. Special thanks go to all the local business community in the Ballymena area for taking the time to vote. I would also like to congratulate BID Chair Stephen Reynolds and the entire team at BID for their hard work to date, and for the future.

“As Mid and East Antrim, and Northern Ireland as a whole, prepare to emerge from a third Covid-19 lockdown and adapt to ever-evolving restrictions, BID will be a key player in the recovery of our much loved town centre in Ballymena and I look forward to seeing the continued partnership between Council and Businesses.”

The new BID term will run from April 1 2021 and will be financed by a small levy payable by qualifying businesses in the town. These funds will go into directly to support the town and businesses within the Ballymena BID area.

Alderman Audrey Wales MBE, Council’s representative on BID said: “I welcome the result that will see BID continue to deliver for Ballymena’s town centre. Already in just five years it’s been instrumental in helping to build and maintain a clean, safe, accessible and welcoming experience for local shoppers and visitors alike.

“We need local businesses to work together to help forge a new and vibrant offering for the town centres. Council has always been a firm supporter of BID and we look forward to working with all the key stakeholders to develop plans that will not only help the town’s businesses recover, but grow for the future.”

The Ballymena BID was the very first BID district established in Northern Ireland in 2015. There are now over 300 Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) throughout the UK.

Chief Executive of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and Retuning Officer for the vote, Anne Donaghy OBE said the BID is a tried and tested model: “It’s great to see local business people get behind this innovative way of working by voting to retain the BID. Together through pooled resources, funding and expertise we can achieve far more, and working collaboratively to drive forward will be more important now than ever as we pave the path of recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic.”

Over the five years of the BID more than £1million will be generated to be spent in the local area.

Stephen Reynolds, Chair of Ballymena BID Board, said: “I am delighted that my fellow traders in Ballymena have voted in favour of returning the BID for a second term. It makes sense. As a local trader of 35 years, I have been a supporter of the BID concept since the outset. I believe that the BID will play a vital role in the roadmap to recovery for Ballymena going forward.”

For further information about the Ballymena BID visit: wwwballymenameans.com

Download BID business plan here: Ballymena BID2 Business Plan

*Ballot results released by the independent scrutineer, Civica Election Services, revealed that 80% of all those who voted are in favour of the BID progressing. For the BID to be successful, a second trigger ‘majority by rateable value’ was also required and this was achieved with 91% of those who voted. In Northern Ireland, you also have a minimum turnout level of 25% by number and rateable value, which was achieved.

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on Alpha Newspaper Group

Characters left: 1500

BREAKING