Traders vote whether to pay higher rates
BALLOT papers are being sent out to businesses in Clifton Village to see if they are in favour of a paying extra business rates in return for improvements to the area.
Under the scheme, 330 businesses would have to pay an extra levy of 1.5 per cent on their business rates each year.
The money would be ring fenced by Bristol City Council to pay for improvements in the area over the next five years aimed at getting more people to shop and spend leisure time in the village.
The postal ballot is being conducted by Electoral Reform Services on the behalf of Bristol City Council. Ballot papers must be returned by October 16.
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In April, Clifton Village Traders Association announced plans for a Business Improvement District (BID) scheme. Over the summer they have been getting feedback from business people.
Documents now issued by the Association say that a winning ballot must pass two tests.
More than 50 per cent of business rate payers who vote must be in favour of the scheme. The rateable value of property occupied by those rate payers who vote in favour of the BID proposals must also exceed that of those who vote against the proposals. If traders vote in favour they will have to pay the new levy on November 1 each year.
Announcing the scheme earlier this year Tony Miles, chairman of the traders association, said: "This is not a new tax. It is an investment. The money will remain in Clifton Village and will be spent on things that matter to local people.
"Among other things we will be able to attract more people to the village which will be good for tourism and for the traders, both independent and national."
Simon Quarrie, operations director of the Clifton Sausage bar and restaurant in Portland Street, said: "It means that all the businesses will contribute to improving the area. That has to be good for the people who live around here and visitors."
Lee Purnell, of Mele Boutique in The Mall, said: "Anything that brings more people into the area can only be welcomed, especially in these difficult economic times."