OBAN is set to become Scotland’s first whole town Business Improvement District (BID) following a ballot held on Friday 5 October.
Businesses in the town turned out to register their support for BID4Oban, which has been in development since 2010.
Ninety per cent of the votes cast were in favour – a clear mandate for BID4Oban to proceed with its exciting plans for improvements to the town.
A Business Improvement District has clearly defined geographical boundaries, lasts for five years and aims to deliver projects and services that are not provided by any other public authority.
In Oban, the area of the BID takes in the entire town – all streets falling within 30mph limits – and is the first such example in Scotland.
BID4Oban’s aims include creating the best first impression of the town, making Oban the best place to visit, explore and spend, and looking at ways of extending the tourist season – all achieved through businesses working together and united.
Plans include new welcome features for Oban at the A85 and A816 entrances, floral displays, power washing of pavements, an annual Big Tidy, decorative street and Christmas lights, and a scheme for improving shop frontages, including window dressing for empty shops.
There are also proposals for town centre ambassadors and a town piper. A major programme of events and festivals will also include a number of new ‘out of season’ events, to bring in visitors at quieter times.
BID4Oban’s plans will be funded by the levy paid by businesses each year. The levy for each company is based on rateable value and for some businesses it can be as little as £2.90 per week.
The levy, combined with a £100,000 contribution from Argyll and Bute Council, will bring in £840,000 to Oban over the five-year life of the BID.
As well as its own levy, the council will boost BID4Oban’s efforts to the tune of £203,500 both in terms of financial assistance and in-kind project support.
Welcoming the news that Oban had voted in favour of BID4Oban, Argyll and Bute Council leader, Roddy McCuish, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Oban, and one that the town has grasped with both hands.
“The team at BID4Oban have worked extremely hard to bring it to this stage and I congratulate them for their efforts.
“By joining forces, local businesses can make the most of all that Oban has to offer and there will be many benefits for the whole of Argyll and Bute as a result.
“Argyll and Bute Council is delighted to be involved with this innovative scheme and we look forward to working together in order to achieve the very best results for Oban.”
Now, the BID4Oban steering group will form a company limited by guarantee to deliver the plans for the town over the next five years. BID4Oban Ltd will formally come into operation on 31 October.
More information can be found at www.bid4oban.co.uk
Total number of votes cast in the Oban BID Ballot, Friday 5 October 246
Total number of votes in favour 221
Total number of votes against 23
Total number of rejected papers 2
Return rate in respect of eligible people 49 per cent
BID4Oban Ltd’s board of up to twelve directors will act on a voluntary and unpaid basis.
A Service Level Agreement will be put in place between BID4Oban, Argyll and Bute Council and other public authorities to ensure that the services delivered by the BID are additional to those already provided by public agencies.
The levy for each business is based on rateable value and will be collected by the local authority and passed to BID4Oban Ltd.