Hailsham Town Council has agreed in principle to support and fund an initiative to make improvements to the town centre and potentially attract new businesses to the town.
At a meeting held yesterday evening [14 October], town councillors considered a request from the Hailsham & District Chamber of Commerce to contribute up to £1,000 towards the proposed Hailsham BID (Business Improvement District), a defined area within which businesses are required to pay an additional tax (or levy) in order to fund projects within the district’s boundaries.
In recent weeks, Hailsham Chamber of Commerce has been in discussion with Wealden District Council about starting a BID in Hailsham, which will be a separate entity to the Chamber.
The BID company is funded by means of a levy from all the businesses in Hailsham and the Chamber will need the cooperation of the businesses to achieve its goals. All affected businesses will have a vote to adopt the levy and a successful BID ballot must achieve at least 50% of the number of businesses voting agreeing to the BID, and at least 50% of the rateable value of those voting agreeing to the project.
The establishment of the scheme will mean that the BID company will be able to undertake a series of improvements around the town centre and industrial estates.
The Chamber have already identified a number of areas whereby the town centre could be improved, including the installation of floral planters, grants to local businesses for improving the external decoration of shops in and around the town centre, maps to help visitors find local amenities and the provision of street marshals for additional security, in addition to the establishment of a Hailsham & District web-based directory to make it easier to find businesses and improved internet/WiFi services in areas.
The local Chamber of Commerce will be starting a rolling programme of discussions with all business owners in Hailsham soon to outline the project and gain their support.
The funding of up to £1,000 offered by the Town Council will come from the Council’s town revitalisation fund and will help towards the initial costs associated with getting the scheme underway. Wealden District Council have also offered up to £1,000 funding which the Chamber will match.
It is hoped that, because the BID will help to get more businesses to come to Hailsham and invest in the town, this will be a positive move to help the Town Council.
Delighted to hear that the Town Council has agreed to support the Hailsham BID, Deputy Town Clerk & Business Enterprise Manager Mickey Caira said: “We fully support investing in important, key initiatives such as this, focused on helping the town revitalise itself as the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to be felt.”
“Working together with Hailsham & District Chamber of Commerce and Wealden District Council ensures that we all share our commitment towards and joint focus on resources needed for Hailsham’s recovery.”
“There is no restriction on what projects – or services – can be provided through a BID. The only requirement is that all projects and services should be additional to those already provided by local authorities.”
Mr Caira added: “Support for the Hailsham BID could help the Town Council further achieve its organisational objectives associated with its town revitalisation efforts in recent years, it’s partnership with the Hailsham Forward Town Team and overall improvements to the town centre, industrial estates and surrounding area. The BID could also facilitate improvements to community safety initiatives and cleansing/environmental measures, as well as events in the town.”
“As far as local businesses are concerned, not supporting the Hailsham BID could mean we all miss out on broader opportunities in improving the town centre and local area .”
Terry Hall, Communications & Public Information Officer
Hailsham Town Council, Market Street, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 2AE
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