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Businesses in Neath Vote for £500,000 Funding for Town Improvements

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Neath Business Improvement District

Businesses in Neath Town Centre have voted to establish a Business Improvement District (BID) which will generate £500,000 in additional funding for the town over the next five years.

Government legislation enabling the formation of BIDs, was introduced into England and Wales in 2003, empowering businesses to ‘raise funds locally to be spent locally’ on improving their trading environment. BIDs are viewed by many businesses as a fair and affordable way of creating a ring fenced fund that is ‘managed by business for business’.

Thanks to funding from Welsh Government, the Council were able to appoint a consultant to work with the local business community to develop the BID concept, aims, vision and outline implementation strategy. The Welsh Government is supporting the development of additional BIDs in Wales, as a key component of its commitment to encourage economic development and to deliver its regeneration framework.

An independent, not-for-profit company known as Neath Inspired Ltd will go live on 1st April 2016 for a period of 5 years. This organisation will be led by the private sector – by a board of directors who represent the businesses in Neath and by theme groups also drawn from local businesses, who will meet to oversee specific projects in the programme.

64% of businesses who voted supported establishing a BID in the town centre, and the votes in favour represented 70% of the rateable value of all business properties in the town.

Following the positive result, Councillor Ali Thomas OBE, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council said:

“The Council is fully supportive of BIDs because they enable businesses to work together for their collective benefit and for the good of the local economy as they lead on additional improvements and investments. I look forward to seeing Neath Inspired progress and wish all involved well.”

Speaking on behalf of Neath Inspired, Chair Sally Rowlands said:

“This is fantastic news for Neath and will be a real catalyst for positive change which will take our town centre to a new level. We’ll be starting the work to prepare for the BID launch in April and would welcome any business which has an interest in joining the Steering Group to get in touch”

For more information and to find out how your business can get involved, log on here