TOP high street stores have been blamed for torpedoing a plan to transform Milngavie Precinct.
The town centre will lose out on more than half a million pounds over the next five years after the vote to set up a Business Improvement District (BID) failed.
All traders in and around Milngavie Precinct were asked to approve plans which would see them pooling cash and resources to work collectively for the upgrade and promotion of the town centre - which is facing a double-pronged threat from a possible huge new Tesco development and the economic downturn.
Businesses were asked to pay a set amount of cash each year to fund the BID - the sum dependent on their size,
When the results were announced, a slender majority of traders supported the scheme.
But it fell down because not enough big companies, who would pay the most towards the BID, backed the plan.
Ian Lavrie of Milngavie Traders. Association, who had sponsored the Milngavie - My Way scheme, blasted the big boys - accusing them of letting the town down.
The Townhead Carpets boss said: “To say I’m disappointed is the understatement of the year. If we had known this was going to be the result we would not have gone ahead.
“We really thought we had the majority on both the traders vote and the rateable value vote. We thought it would be tight, but we thought we had it.
“There were people who said they would do certain things who obviously didn’t.
“In terms of the big traders, it’s the old adage of those who take out the most put the least in. There are big companies like Marks and Spencer, Iceland, Boots and M & Co. We can only speculate, but it’s clear that some have voted against or abstained.
“This is an extremely difficult economic climate, and I know we were asking people for money but we have to look ahead, and the BID was not for today it was for the future, to give us the town centre which will survive this recession.
“This BID was not just for the traders, it was for the whole community, because we all need a thriving town centre.”
However, while the BID backers are licking their wounds, Mr Lavrie said that if there is enough support, a new BID proposal will be tabled - but even if that goes ahead, people will have to wait for years to see the benefits.
See full story in this week’s Herald