Businesses have given their backing to plans to reinvigorate Dunfermline city centre by delivering a ‘Yes’ vote for Scotland’s latest Business Improvement District (BID).
The Dunfermline Delivers BID wants to inject new life into the area and will include projects to improve the retail mix and make the city centre more accessible. It will also seek to enhance the perception and image of Dunfermline via improved marketing and promotions.
The BID has a baseline service agreement with Fife Council, Fife Constabulary and Visitscotland to ensure that no BID money will be used to deliver services already provided by these statutory authorities.
Bill Fletcher Chair of Dunfermline Delivers said: “This is a huge shot in the arm for Scotland’s once great capital. We are committed to making Dunfermline a thriving, vibrant and cultural space again and with this BID income, this vision will now become a reality.”
Susan Hughes, Dunfermline Delivers commented: “Dunfermline businesses have shown great courage and desire for change by voting yes. At a time when every penny is a prisoner, they have committed to invest in their city and their business. By working together we can turn this city’s fortunes around.”
Dunfermline Delivers is the seventh BID in Scotland and is supported by Fife Council which has agreed to a five year funding package in the region of £750,000, which will match fund cash raised under the levy.
When this financial support is added to the levy collected, Dunfermline Delivers will have a budget of approximately £1.5m over the next five years to assist with improving business in the city and the regeneration of the city centre.
Councillor Tony Martin, Strategic Chair of Fife Council’s Environment, Enterprise and Transportation committee, added:
“Thursday’s YES vote is excellent news for Dunfermline and for Fife. It illustrates the commitment of local businesses to the town centre and empowers this key group of stakeholders to shape and influence the development of the town.
“The BID gives Dunfermline a green light to embark on an extremely exciting phase in its development. We look forward to working with Dunfermline Delivers and with Dunfermline’s creative and innovative business community to exceed expectations and create a Dunfermline which is a great place in which to live, work, visit and invest.”
Voting took place throughout May and June with the ballot closing on Thursday June 18.
A total of 47% of eligible businesses voted representing 50.5% of the rateable value and easily satisfying the turnout threshold of 25%. 72.9% of businesses voted in favour of the BID which represented 61.1% of the rateable value, a resounding mandate for the BID.
John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance & Sustainable Growth said:
“This decision by businesses across Dunfermline to go ahead and form their own Business Improvement District is great news for the local economy.
“At a time of global economic turmoil, business people across Scotland can be assured that the Scottish Government stands full square behind them. We are on their side and we will do all we can to create the right conditions to allow their business to grow and flourish despite the current difficulties.
“But we also need businesses themselves to do their bit and where possible work together for their collective benefit and for the good of the local economy. That is why I am delighted businesses in Dunfermline have voted so decisively to do exactly that through their BID.”
Ian Davison Porter, Project Director, Business Improvement Districts Scotland concluded:
“This is great news for Dunfermline, the seventh BID in Scotland. The BID team have put in a lot of work and effort to get this far, but the real work starts now. The level of contribution by Fife Council demonstrates the belief of the local authority in the BID and their commitment to the partnership. The city centre businesses now have a real opportunity to make a difference to the business environment in Dunfermline in these challenging times. The Dunfermline Delivers partnership has to show now that it can deliver.”
For further information on Business Improvement Districts Scotland please visit www.bids-scotland.com