The famous town of St Andrews -which has more than 100 food related businesses – is the latest in Scotland to target a government initiative aimed at bringing local businesses together to plan for the future.
The Business Improvement District (BID) movement has been steadily growing all over Scotland, and St Andrews is being given the chance to take up the challenge.
The St Andrews project has already formed a steering group of enthusiastic people from across the local business community to drive it forward.
Last week the BID was launched during a meeting at Hamilton Grand, and over the next few months a full consultation will take place with all eligible businesses.
At the end of this month an open meeting will be held in the town, and next year the businesses will vote to decide if the BID will proceed.
BID St Andrews obtained grant funding for the initial development work – through the St Andrews Partnership – from the Scottish Government and Fife Council.
The steering group has appointed North East Fife businesswoman Viv Collie, whose background includes town centre development work, to co-ordinate the work that could lead to a formal structure being established.
Viv, whose experience includes town centre management, has worked all over Scotland and has an expertise in community consultation.
She said that BIDs allow businesses to work together and invest collectively in local improvements which complement those of statutory authorities.
Such improvements, she said, can bring benefit to the businesses involved, contribute to the wider aspirations of residents, grow the local economy, and help increase the number of visitors and customers.
“A BID is not a substitute for central or local government investment, but an additional investment to strengthen the local economy and give local businesses a unified voice,” she said.
The chair of the BID St Andrews steering group, Ken Dalton, said that the initiative provides a wonderful platform to implement change to the town and its environs, making it an even better place to do business and generate growth opportunities.
“We are very hopeful that the business community will get behind the scheme and endorse BID St Andrews,” he said.
Born out of Town Centre Management Partnerships (TCMPs), the concept of BIDs was originally set up in Canada but took off in the US in the late 1970s with over 1700 now established worldwide. There are now more than 135 BIDs in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
BIDs are developed, managed and paid for by the business sector by means of a compulsory levy which the businesses within the proposed area must approve before the BID can be established. Each business liable to contribute will be able to vote on whether or not the BID goes ahead.
BIDs in Scotland are not restricted to town and city centres and can be developed in areas such as the tourism and visitor sector, commercial or industrial districts areas, rural areas, agriculture or single sector business groups who wish to collectively improve their trading environment.
Viv has already worked with a number of local businesses through the “Food from Fife” initiative, and the St Andrews Food and Drink Festival.
She said that consultation will be very important as the St Andrews BID plans are developed, and that she will be working as co-ordinator for the steering group over the next 12 months to help them through each stage of the BID process.
“We want to speak to the local businesses and hear people’s views on what a BID could bring to the town” she said.
The BID St Andrews Steering Group will be hosting an Open Meeting for local businesses at 6pm on Monday 28th July in the new ballroom at Hotel du Vin.
This will be a provide the opportunity to hear representatives from the highly successful BID in Falkirk, and meet Ian Davison Porter, Director of Business Improvement Districts Scotland.
The event is free to businesses – places can be booked by e mailing email@example.com
The BID St Andrews steering group will be working with Fife Council and other key stakeholder organisations in the town. The steering group has representation from a wide range of businesses located around the town including:
Ken Dalton, The Adamson (Chair)
Linda-anne Beaulier, Castlemount B&B (Vice Chair)
Maggie Picken, St Andrews Coach Houses (Secretary)
Alex Walker, Boots
Archie McDiarmid, Luvians
Bob Millar, Auchterlonies
David Grove, Fife Council
Debbie MacCallum, Fife Cottages
Douglas Kinnear, Murray Donald
Jim McArthur, Hardies (and the St Andrews Partnership)
Lindsey Adams, Bonkers (and the St Andrews Merchants’ Association)
Lisa Ross, Starbucks
Niall Thompson, Hotel du Vin St Andrews (and Stay in St Andrews)
Owen Hazel, B. Jannettas
Rick East, Ryman
Robert Glashan, Fairmont St Andrews
BIDs already set up in Scotland include Essential Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Falkirk Delivers, Inverness City, Giffnock, Queensferry Ambition, Greater Grassmarket, Living Lerwick, Oban, Largs, Kirkwall, Dunoon, Embrace Elgin, Sauchiehall Street, Dunfermline Delivers, Kirkcaldy4All, I Love Clarkston, Enterprising Bathgate, Hamilton, Alloa, and Clacksfirst Limited Business Parks.