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Countdown to Penicuik BID Ballot

The town is two months away from a historical ballot to establish a Business Improvement District.

Last week, council officials met to rubberstamp the proposed business plan put forward by Penicuik First’s coordinator Edward Linton-Smith. Now, with approval, the steering group is in the position to print and distribute the ballots and plans to eligible businesses. Business plans are set to reach town centre shops and organisations from as early as this week, before ballot papers are sent out on 14 April. Businesses will then have 42 days to return their completed ballot paper stating whether they are for or against the establishment of a BID.

Edward Linton-Smith said:

Since its inception, the local businesses who formed the Steering Group have truly devoted themselves to ensuring Penicuik First turns the aspirations of the local business community in to a reality. All the projects that it will deliver after a successful ballot are born of common sense, affordability, and most importantly, consultation with businesses and property owners in the town centre

The business plan, compiled over the past six months will detail projects that will be undertaken using a BID levy collected from involved businesses. Such projects are believed to include the upgrading of town centre signage and the creation of a town business directory and website. Further down the line, the levy could be used to implement parking changes or improve shopfronts along the historical High Street.

Whilst many improvements will not come to fruition until after the ballot, the steering group has organised a “taster” of what could be achieved through a successful BID. Possibly starting as early as May, Penicuik’s Town Centre will play host to a market. Organised by those behind the popular Peebles market, the event will gather traders from throughout the region allowing the public to sample wares previously unavailable in the town.

After undertaking early polling, the BID coordinator is hopeful of a positive outcome in the forthcoming ballot. Mr Linton-Smith added:

Penicuik’s town centre will always be the heart of our community, but it must adapt to survive. Online commerce and retail parks aren’t going anywhere, but Penicuik First is ready to fight back. Through a central website, extensive marketing and promotion of the town’s businesses, event hosting, and working with existing community groups, Penicuik First will remind Penicuik why our town centre is worth saving. There’s no time to sit idly by while shops are replaced by “To Let” signs. Now is the time for town centre businesses to vote for the future of our town. Let’s not waste our chance.

The results of the ballot will be announced soon after the 26 May. We will bring you full coverage and analysis of the decision closer to the time.

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