Will Businesses "Love Wimbledon"?

Businesses now voting on BID plans

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Wimbledon businesses are now voting on proposals for a Business Improvement District for the town centre.

A Business Improvement District (BID) would enable local firms, through an elected board, to prioritise spending to make the town centre more attractive and profitable.

More than 400 businesses in the town centre now have until February 9 to vote 'yes' or 'no' to the BID proposal.

A 'yes' vote would mean each business contributing 1% of its rateable value into the scheme, with the funds then available for spending in the BID area.

A town centre business forum heard on Wednesday (January 25) that it's anticipated £2.25m would be collected during a 5-year period to spend on projects agreed by the BID board.

The team behind the scheme, including Merton Chamber of Commerce, last year set up the Love Wimbledon initiative to promote the plans. Many local firms have since been visited by the BID team to explain the proposal.

The ballot decision will be announced on February 10. If a 'yes' vote wins, the Love Wimbledon BID will start work on April 1.

Diana Sterck, Chief Executive of Merton Chamber of Commerce, told the forum, which took place at 40 The Hill: "If businesses vote in favour, it means there will be a five-year business-led plan for Wimbledon. It is about putting Wimbledon town centre on the map - making it more competitive and doing things that businesses want".

A shadow board has worked on a proposed budget and has agreed three strategic objectives for the BID:

1. Ensuring the town centre is attractive, vibrant and cared for (£519,375 in the budget).

2. Keeping the businesses, attractions and facilities of the town centre connected, represented and promoted (£670,625 in the budget).

3. Providing services for businesses and attracting new ones (£310,500 in the budget).

The designated area BID, covers The Broadway along to Wimbledon Hill Road as well as Worple and Hartfield Roads (see map above, with the BID area highlighted).

Most Wimbledon businesses will pay between £200-£1,000 per year, with exemption for businesses with a rateable value of less than £20,000.

January 26, 2012