Hastings Business Improvement District invites members to vote on fee reduction

Love Hastings, the town centre Business Improvement District (BID), is inviting its members to vote on a fee reduction.

It has published its draft business plan in advance of the ballot that will take place from the end of February until March 24.

The ballot will go out to almost 500 eligible businesses in and around the town centre, who will be asked to vote ‘Yes’ to agree on a minimum 16 per cent reduction on current bills.

Peter Rolfe, town business ambassador, and john Bownas, manager of Love Hastings SUS-221201-093839001

The organisation said this will allow Love Hastings to continue to support the area until at least the end of March 2027.

If the ballot is successful (as it was in 2016, when 72 per cent voted in favour) the proposal is to reduce the levy charges so that businesses only pay 1.25 per cent of their rateable value, as opposed to the current 1.5 per cent.

The new scheme would also do away with minimum payments of £120.

In a survey carried out last year businesses were given the chance to comment on the work done by the BID so far and to give their thoughts on what its future priorities should be.

Recently-appointed BID chairman, Andrew Harvey, manager of Priory Meadow Shopping Centre, said: “Perhaps unsurprisingly people’s list of priorities haven’t changed much in the last five years.

“They still want to us work with the council and police to keep the town safe and clean and they really value the work we do lobbying on their behalf for help and support in times of difficulty, such as what we have experienced during the Covid crisis. And, of course, they don’t want the town to lose its planters, hanging baskets, and Christmas lights.

“Also high on the list of things businesses value is the way we can use the money they contribute to put into many of the town’s key events.

“These are vital to the image of the town, and without our support many would struggle to put on these activities.

“What has come out of the consultation is that our members want to see more done to market Hastings as a whole to tourists and visitors further afield.

“If we are successful in March this will mean working more closely with other businesses in Old Town and St Leonards to do more to keep Hastings on the map for people looking to take breaks in the UK.”

The draft business plan can be found on the BID website at www.lovehastings.com.

The BID is going to be talking directly to businesses in the area throughout January and a final proposal document will be issued in the middle of February. This will take on board any common themes that come out of the consultation.

Ballot papers will go out on February 22 and must be returned by March 24.