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Protest meeting planned as Hampstead businesses rebel against BID levy

PUBLISHED: 17:20 08 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:52 09 February 2017

Hampstead businesses must pay a levy to a private company over and above their council tax. Photo: Polly Hancock

Hampstead businesses must pay a levy to a private company over and above their council tax. Photo: Polly Hancock

Archant

A Hampstead business has called a public meeting in response to growing confusion and concern from traders over where their money is being spent when they pay a compulsory levy to a private company

Each one of the 243 businesses in Hampstead have to pay an annual fee for their membership of the Hampstead Village business improvement district (BID), a non-profit limited company.

It was set up following a referendum last summer and promises to use the money, paid over and above council tax, to improve shopping and trade in the village, ultimately saving traders’ money.

All Hampstead business owners pay the annual levy, even if they voted against the BID or abstained.

The levy is in place in spite of the fact that only 111 out of 243 businesses voted, with 73 in favour.

Camden Council receives £12,000 annually for collecting the levy from businesses and can take enforcement action against those who fail to pay on time.

Steve Coxshall, owner of The Duke of Hamilton in New End and the Rabbit Hole jazz and theatre venue underneath, has called an open public meeting for local traders and Camden councillors.

He has invited the BID chief executive Caroline Goldsack to answer questions, although she has not yet responded.

He wrote in the invitation: “I’m arranging this on behalf of all businesses in Hampstead who have great concerns yet are scared of the way [BID] is using camden to collect our monies...

“We want a number of questions answered in black and white.”

Hampstead traders pay between £225 and £6,000 a year, depending on the rateable value of their property.

Ms Goldsack previously said BID proposals would be focusing on boosting marketing and events, improving the streetscene, parking and business support.

She has not replied to requests for comment.

– The meeting with be held at the Rabbit Hole theatre underneath the Duke of Hamilton pub on Feb 20 at 6.30pm.


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