Abingdon Town Centre is the first Business Improvement District in Oxfordshire

October 30, 2015

Business Improvement District
The result of the Abingdon BID proposal has been announced. 58% of the votes cast were in favour, with 73% of the rateable value of the votes cast. The proposal needed to receive 50% or more votes in favour, with more than 50% of the rateable value of the votes cast.
Business Improvement District
Pictured above are some of the leaders of the BID proposal.
Business Improvement District
The BID lasts for 5 years and with an income of £800,000 from businesses, and likely additional income from other sources, the work to make the BID a success begins here…

Filed under: Business

20 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. Alan  |  October 30, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Inflicting extra costs on local businesses; I hope they have a positive effect.

  • 2. VOTE NO  |  October 30, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    So, the bid got a yes, with one of the smallest margins in the country, also one of the lowest turn outs in the country (% wise).
    The Bid website has, obviously, been updated & now reads “The BID will enable Abingdon to benefit from nearly £800K of investment over the five years and allow the new BID Company to initiate SOME of the projects proposed in the business plan.” That’s SOME, not all of the projects. Now comes the time to see what will get dropped from the plan.
    This is typical politics, tell the voters what they want to hear, then change it after the vote. We are surprised just how quick this has happened, even though there is not yet a Bid company to make the decisions.
    This is time for you to prove that you were right, when you can’t, we will show how you are WRONG.

  • 3. Vote Yes  |  October 30, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Fantastic result Abingdon businesses!
    Time to prove the doubters wrong and show the amazing difference the BID will make to the town.
    There was a vote, the majority won, now let’s let them get on with it and back them all the way because we now have a BID and an opportunity and this will only work if we all come together!
    I’ve read some great ideas on here from the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ camps and think you should all be on the BID board!
    A fresh start for Abingdon in 2016!

  • 4. Vote Yes  |  October 30, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    I do agree with the comment above, the BID must stick to the pledges in the business plan.

  • 5. Daniel  |  October 30, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Marvellous. Although this doesn’t concern the residents, I wish the BID well and hope that the town gets the treatment it desereves, and treated “like a business” and gets the Alex Polizzi or Mary Portas treatment.

  • 6. Paul  |  October 31, 2015 at 12:15 am

    The average turn out for first time BIDs is actually 40% so to have a 45% return is not that unusual. The website has been updated and VOTE NO is playing with semantics here. The BID company will not be officially in place till April, however between now and then the group that has got us to this point can start introducing some of the themes.

    The BID is in place for a 5 year term and the plan is to action all of the the projects throughout the term of the BID. Nobody would expect a political party who gains office to implement all of their manifesto on day one in office and the BID is no different.

    The BID is also flexible so we will be able to react to new proposals and ideas. Just because we have the BID voted in does not mean the conversation stops, far from it. As we have repeatedly said this is Abingdon’s BID and Abingdon’s opportunity so we are looking to work with and for the whole of the town’s businesses to bring about the positive change that I believe we all want.

  • 7. Daniel  |  October 31, 2015 at 12:30 am

    Well. I for one hope the businesses get what they want.

  • 8. lyle lanley  |  October 31, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Its not really ‘Abingdon’s’ BID tho is it, as the people of Abingdon have had no say in it whatsoever.

    It’s a bunch of businesses who happen to trade in Abingdon, who are trying to make themselves more successful.

    As a resident and regular shopper in the town, I wish the BID well, and I’m grateful that you are trying to make it a better place for me to shop, but I really fail to see what its going to do, that couldn’t have been done already.

    Abingdon town centre’s problems are pretty obvious, traffic, parking, a limited choice of shops, no big ‘brands’, and very strong competition from Didcot and Witney that don’t suffer these issues.

    I really cant see how the BID is going to change any of this, but good luck with it.

    Maybe the £800k should be spent on a monorail, that would get people in, and sort the traffic !

  • 9. newcomer  |  October 31, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    The yes vote was driven by the larger ‘businesses’ , so it’s tough if you’re a small retail entrepreneur and don’t like it.

    What percentage of the yes vote was due to Council votes and what activities which should be Council financed will now be financed by the BID?

    How much of the BID money will be spent on salaries and what are the qualifications of those earning those salaries to fulfill their roles?

    Despite the above concerns I hope the BID doesn’t follow the town’s record of incompetent public initiatives.

  • 10. Julian Annells  |  October 31, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Will the BID have any leverage with Scottish Widows to force them to carry out the promised phase 2(?) part of the Abingdon town centre redevelopment plan? The Charter is a disgrace..with dripping water…peeling cement and a general feeling of abandonment! Come on BID….take this on headlong…go where the TC fear to tread?

  • 11. Daniel  |  October 31, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Julian…that is what the residents want…I’m not so sure it is what the businesses will want. Don’t get confused between the two.

  • 12. ppjs  |  October 31, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    I agree with Daniel. How many businesses have as a primary motivation the benefit of the local community? The purpose of business is profit – why would anyone trade with the aim of making a loss?

    If the local community benefits, it’s a by-product. We need to understand this. It is the job of government to look for the good of its citizens. I leave it to others to consider whether HMG is meeting its obligations.

  • 13. Hester  |  October 31, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Daniel and ppjs are right – BUT, whatever we as individuals may think, an enormous number of the criticisms of Abingdon, both here and elsewhere, have been about the perceived absence of a good “shopping experience”. If trading conditions for existing businesses improve, more new businesses will be willing to come to the town, more people will come to shop here and people will start to take a more positive view of the town. We have been in a vicious circle for some time, this could be a way to break out of it.

    And for those for whom shopping isn’t the be-all and end-all, the BID team clearly recognise the advantages of having other attractions and activities to bring people in to town, so hopefully all of those who share in the aim of revitalising our town can work together – or at least in parallel! – to make it happen. There are lots of good ideas around…

  • 14. VOTE NO  |  October 31, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    In reply to comment 6, the Abingdon bid actually had one of the largest number of rate payers of any Bid so far. We agree that some of the bids across the country are bigger, but not many.

    In reply to comment 8, we have a list of rate payers within the bid zone. This is dated 2010, which is the list referred to within the business plan. From this it shows that the Town, District and County councils made up 27 of the votes. Based on this, the Yes won by 3 votes from businesses. There were also 6 non counted ballot papers as they were not correctly filled out. So if these were all actually no’s, then if the councils had not voted it could have been a different story.

    Question for everyone. If there are two bids in different towns, the first was voted in by 97% saying Yes, the other only 58% Yes with the council making up a third of the votes, which is more likely to work?

  • 15. Iain  |  October 31, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    question to vote no – what is the point of your question?

    A democratic decision has been made – surely you would rather the BID was successful than not – so engage and help it be successful.

  • 16. Vote Yes  |  October 31, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    It was a YES vote
    Why is that so hard to accept for some people!!!
    If it was a no vote would the usual suspects in the town that are cynical and negative be pleased with themselves?

    The vote is in, now let’s concentrate on making sure the BID is right for Abingdon and for for purpose!
    When is the first public meeting for businesses to choose the first round of projects?
    How will the board be formed and is it open to everyone?

  • 17. Vote Yes  |  October 31, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    I’m sure the 6 not counted were yes votes

  • 18. Rachel  |  November 1, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    With the BID being successful, what is the role of the Chamber of Commerce for the next five years?

    I have an Abingdonian business but didn’t get a vote as I’m not a rate payer and I haven’t heard from the BID team at all. My landlord is a rate payer and is likely to pass these costs on as she is unlikely to benefit from BID actions because her business does not need UK footfall.

    There is a lot that can be done to help footfall in Abingdon because we have a captive audience of 36,000 people. What the town has failed to do is connect with those people in a way that entices them in to town for day to day shopping.

    We should build on the connections between the town and it’s people that are obvious at the Fair, the Music in the Park, the Bun Throwing, Christmas Extravaganza and all those other fantastic events that draw the crowds.

    It’s not that people don’t like Abingdon, it’s just that they don’t really know what’s here. I’m sure that if someone stood outside a school at 3pm with a list of things that can be bought in Abingdon and asked the mums and dads at the gate if they think they can be bought here, most people wouldn’t realise the huge variety of products available to them on their doorstep.

    Then if you ask those same people what they want to be able to buy here, that would be a good indicator of direction of travel for some existing businesses as well as new ones.

    Sitting in a shop in town isn’t the way to understand your customers as the ones you really need are the ones who aren’t in your shop already!

    I wish the BID team the best of luck and may I suggest a hot desk at Merchant House as possible office for the person who is likely to be a quite expensive manager.

  • 19. jay mod 31  |  November 3, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    i have lived in abingdon all of my life and am incredibly proud that i have had a business in my home town for 13 years,i voted yes for the bid purely because nothing in the town is moving and we are in danger of being left even further behind.i find it incredible that people have voted against this all we want to do is improve this town because we all care,i am not in this for my own gains and i am in this because i want my home town to thrive and ALL of the businesses in the town wether they voted or not why does this have to be political.i am happy to pay into this as i dont see where else the help is coming from . the finance raised from this scheme will be dispersed fairly and for the good of the town and not for any individual business but for all of the business’s it really is that simple .I dont really understand why this bid has caused any negativity all i can say is that i am really sorry for caring about abingdon so much….

  • 20. Alan  |  May 31, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    So, two months in and what have we got? A bill and that is all.

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