Hampstead Village BID to be wound up – controversial ballot cancelled
- Credit: Archant
The Hampstead Village Business Improvement District (BID) will cease to exist this summer.
The BID had been set for a ballot to decide whether or not it would continue for a second five-year term.
But less than a fortnight after releasing a business plan laying out future plans, BID bosses have u-turned and confirmed they will not be holding the ballot. Instead, the BID will be wound up at the end of July.
In a statement, the BID said: "The impact of the pandemic was reflected in the feedback received in the Perception Analysis, and following consultation with the business community, the Hampstead Village BID Board agreed now is not the right time for the BID to continue.
"It is felt that adding further overheads to local businesses struggling to recover from the global pandemic is not appropriate at the moment."
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The BID ballot had been set to take place between June and July this year.
It was first instituted under regulations which form part of the 2003 Local Government Act following a ballot of businesses in 2016, but since then campaigners including local business-owners have argued it is undemocratic and criticised how it works.
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The BID ran based on a business-rates levy paid by businesses whose premises had a rateable value of over £15,000. This money was then spent by the BID on things including negotiating collective contracts, for example for waste management, marketing and running events such as the Hampstead Christmas Fair.
Particular points of dispute have included the fact that every business in the BID's area – which has included the vast majority of Hampstead Village including the High Street and Heath Street – has to pay the BID levy, regardless of whether they voted for it.
In its first term, those liable to pay have included New End Primary School and a number of NHS practices.
The BID's statement continued: "Based on this decision the business community will not now be balloted and the BID will be wound up by the end of July 2021. Work will now commence to ensure this process is delivered smoothly and in line with the legislation."
Since 2019 the BID has been managed by the contractor Primera and BID manager Marcos Gold.
The statement said the management had "worked tirelessly to support the local business community" and that "feedback and engagement of businesses" had both helped steer the BID and inform the decision to dissolve it now.
It continues: "We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the businesses of Hampstead Village for their support over the past five years and want all the best for the area moving forward."
More to follow.