Hampstead BID releases plan to persuade businesses for five more years

Hampstead village. Picture: Ken Mears

Fewer businesses will have to pay the Hampstead BID levy if it is voted back in later this year - Credit: Archant

The bosses of the Hampstead Village Business Improvement District (BID) have released the business plan they hope will persuade local firms to back the controversial scheme for another five years.

A vote will be held in June on the scheme, which charges a levy on traders and aims to promote business in the area.

The document includes detailed spending plans for the next five years and also explains the BID – which has previously been challenged in court – is also planning to raise the business rates threshold, meaning fewer businesses would have to pay. 

Other changes include the exclusion of charities and state schools from the levy, and a slight reduction in the area covered. The levy will no longer apply to Well Walk and the northern half of Downshire Hill. 

Previously, businesses with premises of a rateable value of £15,000 or more had to pay a 1.5% levy. The new plans would make the threshold £35,000, and see businesses pay a 1.25% levy.

The BID contends it would raise around £192,000 a year from the levy. Its spending plans total around £975,000 over the five-year term and would include £200,000  on "destination marketing" and £375,000 on cleaning, seasonal events and Christmas lights.

Its staffing costs and overheads are budgeted at £53,000 a year. 

The BID's operation is managed by consultancy firm Primera.

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The BID document points to business support, helping to hold events including the Hampstead Christmas and summer festivals, keeping the public realm clean and marketing as some of its key achievements during the five-year term. 

Families throng to Heath Street

The 2017 Hampstead Summer Festival - Credit: Archant

But opponents including Hampstead Village Voice editor Sebastian Wocker have called it "fundamentally wrong" that businesses in the area must pay the levy whether they vote in favour or not. Campaigners against it say they have seen little benefit from the scheme.

The vote will take place by post from June 21 until July 28. A majority of eligible organisations in the BID area must vote in favour of it, and those in favour must also represent a majority of the rateable value of premises. 

Marcos Gold, BID Manager, Hampstead Village BID. Picture: Polly Hancock

Hampstead BID manager Marcos Gold - Credit: Archant

Marcos Gold, the BID manager, called Hampstead an "extraordinary place" adding the BID wants to "work together with our businesses and resident communities to put Hampstead in the best possible position to recover from this pandemic".

He added: "This business plan is a culmination of lessons learned from the previous term and looking ahead to better days."

The BID vote and levy collection are managed by Camden Council.

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