Traders will get backing for new Milngavie BID

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TRADERS in Milngavie will be given another chance to get behind a scheme to boost the precinct.

East Dunbartonshire Council is backing plans to re-launch the Business Improvement District (BID) project for the town centre.

The plan would see traders pooling cash and resources and working together to upgrade and promote Milngavie’s shopping area.

Businesses voted on whether to launch a BID in October - but despite the majority being in favour, it was blocked because not enough of the major town centre players backed it.

Backers said that, as a result, Milngavie Precinct lost out on £500,000 worth of improvements and other benefits.

Milngavie Traders’ Association backed the proposal and the council has formed a steering group to promote the new BID - and believe that a second ballot could be successful if some things are done differently.

Councillor Billy Hendry, convener of the East Dunbartonshire’s development and infrastructure committee, said: “The result of the ballot was disappointing but there is hope that Milngavie could yet become a Business Improvement District.

“The stakes are high because if the proposal does go ahead it could raise around £90,000 per annum for five years to fund projects that would enhance Milngavie town centre. In addition, the council has agreed to add £5,000 to the pot every year.”

Local businessman and chair of the BID Steering Group, Ian Lavrie, said: “I am grateful to the council for its continued support and hope that we can move forward and ballot traders once again. I believe this is an excellent opportunity for Milngavie.”

Under BID rules, a new ballot cannot be held until February 2013, giving backers plenty of time to win round doubters.

Plans which had to be scrapped because of this year’s BID failure included a Christmas fair, a busking festival, a West Highland Way week and an enhanced Book and Arts Festival.