Ambitious plans to regenerate Milngavie town centre have been backed by councillors - provided local businesses give it the green light.
East Dunbartonshire Council’s development and regeneration committee met last night (Tuesday, December 3) and approved the draft business plan to set up a Milngavie Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID).
In the event of a successful ballot, councillors have agreed that, subject to confirmation at the council’s policy and resources committee, the local authority will contribute £30,000 per annum for the five-year period of the proposed business plan as well as continuing to offer ongoing officer support.
The approval of the business plan clears the way for the BID Steering Group to proceed with submitting their proposal to Scottish Government later this week and to request the Returning Officer from East Dunbartonshire Council to conduct a ballot of businesses within the BID area.
Councillor Alan Moir, convener of the development and regeneration committee said: “We are delighted to approve the BID Business Plan and remit to the council’s policy and resources committee for approval of the requested funding support of £30,000 per year, should the ballot of businesses be successful.
“Members of the Economic Development Team have been working hard with the BID Steering Group for a considerable length of time and they all deserve great praise.
“The creation of a BID for Milngavie would be terrific news for the future of the town centre and supports the Council and Community Planning Partnership’s aim to achieve sustainable growth.
“It’s vital we work together with the BID Steering Group and businesses from all sectors to help the town centre flourish.
“This is not about saving the council money - this is about working with businesses to allow them to enhance their role in the community to secure a vital and vibrant town centre which meets the needs of local residents and businesses now and in the future.”
A previous ballot in November 2011 was unsuccessful and the council’s economic development team and BID Steering Group worked together afterwards to review the bid process and ballot. Key areas for improvement and action
A BID is a defined geographical area where businesses work together and invest collectively in local improvements which will improve their trading environment.
A Scottish Government-backed mechanism, governed by planning legislation, a BID delivers projects and services which are clearly in addition to those delivered by statutory authorities and is able to lever in additional funding from external sources in order to deliver business-led priorities.
The new BID plan expects to generate approximately £70,000 in private sector funding per year - an investment of £350,000 over a five-year period. In addition, the council would contribute a total of £150,000 over the five years, together with additional in-kind and officer support, whilst the BID would also work to draw in additional external funding for marketing and events projects.
Discussions are also ongoing with other public agencies including Police Scotland regarding their potential to support the BID.
There has been extensive consultation with businesses within the BID area and key projects have been identified. The three key objectives of the plan comprise:
· Enhancing Milngavie town centre as the heart of the community
· Making Milngavie a destination of choice
· Boosting business activity and support
Ballot papers are due to be issued to businesses on 3 February 2014.