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BID For A Prosperous Town Centre

After years of promises, Midlothian Council will ballot Penicuik businesses next year about creating a Business Improvement District in the town.

The local SNP led administration announced today, Tuesday 8 October,  that a ballot will be held between over two hundred businesses in 2014 to determine whether or not the struggling town centre will benefit from the creation of a Business Improvement District.

First created in Canada in 1970, there are now over 1000 BIDs across the globe, 210 of which are in the United Kingdom alone. Penicuik could be the first town in the county to establish a BID should the local traders vote in favour next year.

The Business Improvement District would be in force for a period of five years before either being dismantled or, subject to another ballot, continued. At the moment, the Scottish Government has set aside £20,000 to allow Penicuik to form a BID.

Councillor Jim Bryant, Cabinet Portfolio holder for Economic Development, said:

We really need Penicuik businesses to come forward and take part in this ballot to say whether or not they want this to be set up.  I can see real benefits for them and the town itself of backing the Business Improvement District and I hope we get an enthusiastic response.

A Business Improvement District would see local businesses, in a designated area, pay a levy which would then be used to improve aspects of the town, which will hopefully encourage an increase in footfall.

However the ballot may prove that traders are not willing to pay a levy, much like what happened in Peebles in 2011.

What’s your view on the matter? Tell us in this week’s poll below or on our homepage.