The result of the BID Ballot has been published and the BID is closing after a conclusive vote for closure by 168 members of the BID. By a strange coincidence a similar number to those who voted for it in 2013.
Clearly for the Town of Dartmouth, and for the team of people who have given so much of their time and skills to delivering this opportunity this is a major blow. For the town it means the loss of a big investment in its future. The top seven levy payers including Sainsburys, Lidl, Dart Marina and the Castle Hotel were contributing £24,500.00 per year to this investment, which is £122,500 over the 5 years of the BID.
My own calculations, based on a copy of the levy tables, show that a total of 270 second home owners who do not live in Dartmouth, and are registered as accommodation providers for rating purposes, will not now be making any contribution to the economic welfare of the town (163 from Norton Park and 107 others ). This alone equates to £40,500 a year (based on £150 levy) which is £202,500 over the 5 years of the BID. Properly spent that kind of investment can make a real difference.
Perhaps more concerning is the lack of interest in this project shown by Dartmouth’s Business owners as reflected, in the turnout of only 27%. A very low figure considering the importance of this vote. In fact if we play with statistics in the same way that the opponents of the BID have done so often, we can argue that only 25% of levy payers voted for the closure of the BID Company. That’s 168 out of 665 who voted for closure! Not so convincing. But this is just playing with numbers.
This removes any option the TIC may have had for a guaranteed source of BID funding to help their survival plans. We were interested to read the headline that Visit South Devon has rescued the TIC! Our only question is who is goping to rescue Visit South Devon? We sincerely hope this decision does not come back to haunt the TIC.
Dartmouth Business News will be issuing a Freedom of Information request to find out how many of the members who voted actually live in Dartmouth. Especially as the BID Board bent over backwards to give second home owners the chance to enter the ballot and veto the BID.
By far the saddest aspect of this whole project has been the attitude of the protesters. their main argument has been “if it doesn’t help me then I am not interested”. The exact opposite of the selfless dedication of the team that worked together with me to create this opportunity for the town irrespective of the impact on their own businesses, which often suffered through lack of management time.
At the BID EGM last Tuesday someone, who I don’t know, came up to me after the meeting was over and shouted in my face ” do you realise what a monster you created” to which I replied ” what we created for the Town was a great opportunity, but unfortunately the town turned it into a monster”.
I feel proud of what we achieved as a BID team working together. It was the same core crowd of people who you always find dedicating their time for free to help this town prosper. I suspect they may think again before giving their time so freely when their efforts are treated with such disdain. We created a very good business plan, based on a thorough consultation, thanks to the expert help we received from The Mosaic Partnership. Mosaic have just created their 77th successful BID town in Straban. 98% of their successful BID’s go on to achieve real improvements in the prosperity of their town.
I am disappointed that Dartmouth will not now go on to benefit from this investment, but quietly relieved that I will not have to face the personal attacks that come with the job. Dartmouth Business News will continue to provide vital information to the town in the hope that you will find value in it.
Don’t worry you wont have to pay for it!!!