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Inverness establishes Scotland's first city centre BID

18th March 2008

First UK Business Improvement District to incorporate property owners.

Inverness businesses voted to play a leading role in the transformation of the city by creating Scotland's first city-centre Business Improvement District (BID), it was confirmed on Monday 17th March 2008. The yes vote also makes Inverness the first city in the UK to incorporate property owners as well as businesses in a BID - a move that is expected to be copied elsewhere.

Of the eligible businesses and property owners who voted, 73.2% of these voted in favour of the BID. The BID also met the second legislative criteria with businesses representing 84.4% of rateable value voting yes.

David Melhuish, Director of the Scottish Property Federation welcomed Inverness's approach to their local BID, commenting:

"In Inverness, property owners will be directly involved in the BID, a significant improvement to the voluntary approach in England and Wales."

Businesses and property owners in Inverness have been voting for the last two months following a hugely successful pilot BID project that brought the city the first Inverness winter festival and ice-rink.

The new BID will become operational from 1st April 2008, when all businesses and property owners will pay a levy that goes towards improvement projects. The projects will be driven by the directors of the new Inverness BID company who will be elected from local businesses.

The Inverness BID is the second of six Scottish pilots to announce its ballot result with Bathgate announcing its result last week. Clackmannanshire will announce its ballot result later this month while the Falkirk and Edinburgh BID votes take place in May. Glasgow's ballot follows later in the year.

Garek Begg, of Begg Shoes and Bags and Chairman of Inverness BID Steering Group, said: "This yes vote is great news for the city and will mean that businesses can now play a more proactive role in matters affecting our future.

"Our aim is to make the city more easily accessible and attractive in the public eye, and we'll achieve this by making it amongst other things a cleaner and safer place to do business.

"Our business plan was developed by local business people and with the BID now a reality, we must grasp this opportunity, get all businesses engaged and press forward with implementing the improvements in it."

Cllr Bob Wynd, Provost of Inverness added: "It is a great credit to our local business community that they are amongst the first in the country to have seized the opportunity BIDs provide. Inverness is the capital of the Highlands and the vibrant heart of our community. Our new BID will allow businesses, property owners and public services to work together.

"This close partnership will make sure we are all pulling in the same direction: working hard to make sure Inverness is a great place for businesses and customers alike.

John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, welcomed the news: "Having seen first-hand how BID pilots have worked, I very much welcome the 'yes' vote in Inverness. This result will enable key players in the community to come together and work to ensure that Inverness city centre is a driver of economic growth."

Ian Davison Porter, Project Director, Business Improvement Districts Scotland emphasised:

"This is fantastic news and I must congratulate the BID project team and the local businesses who have worked so hard to deliver this yes vote, ably supported by the local council. The project team and the businesses involved deserve every credit for being the first city BID in Scotland and the first to pioneer the inclusion of property owners in a BID in the UK. I have no doubt that the BID in Inverness will now go from strength to strength - delivering projects and services that will really benefit the local businesses.

"BIDs is attracting considerable interest right across Scotland and with the positive response from business to date and one-off Government support of up to 15,000 to help establish a BID available from April, I would urge other cities and towns to consider the potential this regeneration model offers."

For further information on Business Improvement Districts Scotland please visit

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