Spalding small firms may be spared cost of BID as consultant highlights town's 'huge' potential
Smaller firms might not have to pay towards a new body representing businesses in Spalding town centre.
A new Business Improvement District (BID) is being seriously considered for the town - but the idea had been rejected by traders more than a decade ago amid opposition to a levy on firms to pay for it.
Katrina Pierce, Lincolnshire Development Manager for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), is leading the project and revealed it may be possible to set a threshold for the BID levy to ensure our smallest traders don’t pay.
Katrina said: “That would be something I would be pushing for - to either fall under the threshold or pay a minimal amount.”
She added: “It’s hard when talking to people about extra spending, particularly at this time, that’s why the next stage is about checking the viability.
“It’s never been more expensive to run a business as it is today with the cost of supplies, fuel and Covid debt.
“Of course any business is going to think very, very carefully about paying for something.
“We have got to go through root and branch to check it would work.
“It needs to bring in enough money to warrant existing.”
Katrina also believes times have changed since the failed vote, adding: “I think the high street has certainly changed in that time, not just because of Covid, but online demand and our habits as shoppers have vastly changed.
“We need more of a shove to get into a town centre to spend time there.
“Businesses now want to take more control of where they live and work.
“Spalding doesn’t have a town council, and we keep hearing that, so this is a good way for businesses to make a difference.”
A BID could employ staff, organise events, apply for funding and address matters such as litter and the appearance of the town.
In the first quarter of 2022 a survey has gone out to businesses and workshops were held - face to face and online - while a consultant with experience in BIDs has been called upon.
The idea was not just to assess a BID - but also any form of town centre business management model that could work in Spalding.
The feedback from traders has led to members of a business sub group of the Spalding Town Centre Steering Group to continue looking into the BID.
There is not yet a timescale for when the idea might be put to traders - who would have to vote for a BID - with Katrina vowing not to rush.
Katrina said the consultant had commented on the ‘huge’ potential of Spalding - highlighting the under-utilised riverside, the town’s heritage buildings and the space for the market. She added: “It’s got enormous potential, it just needs a little bit of help to get to get back to life.”