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Bill’s first to vote on plan to revitalise town centre

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Bill’s first to vote on plan to revitalise town centre.

PAISLEY businessman Bill Kelly reckons he is the first person to cast a vote to set up a Business Improvement District in the town.

The owner of Print and Copy It, in High Street had filled in his ballot form and posted it before his shop was even open, on Friday.

And he is urging other traders and businesses in the town centre to also put an ‘X’ beside the box on voting forms agreeing to set up a Paisley BID.

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Last week, postal ballot papers were sent to town centre businesses, asking if they want to set up a BID company in the town.

If enough businesses vote to set up the BID, a board of directors from the local businesses community will be elected to run the organisation.

With fees paid by local businesses – ranging from as little as 55p a day – to fund initiatives, the BID company will start working to encourage more people to come to the town centre by organising events and other marketing and promotional campaigns.
The BID would also act as a voice for local businesses and as a buying group to get cheaper utility bills.

Bill said: “I’ve looked into the setting up of a Paisley BID in some detail and I’ve come to the definite conclusion that this is a real opportunity for local traders to not only make a difference to their own businesses, but the town centre as a whole.
“In today’s marketplace, doing nothing is not really an option and I strongly believe a Paisley BID would attract more people to the town centre and deliver many new opportunities for businesses to flourish.”

Bill added: “I am so keen to see this happen that I had completed my ballot paper voting yes to a BID and had it in the postbox before my shop even opened.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Council leader urges firms to back the BID

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Council leader urges firms to back the BID.

Renfrewshire Council’s Leader is urging Paisley firms to get behind business-led plans to help revitalise the town centre.

Plans are well advanced in the town to set up a Business Improvement District – which would see local firms work together on projects of mutual benefit.

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A BID is set up when all businesses within a geographical area opt to collectively invest in schemes to improve the area, paid for through a compulsory BID levy.

All firms within the BID area boundary will vote by secret ballot in October on whether to adopt the plans.

Paisley First – a group of local organisations who are leading the process – have produced a detailed business plan for how it will all work.

And Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan has thrown his support behind the proposals, saying local firms should back the BID.

He said: “Paisley town centre faces the same challenges as traditional shopping areas everywhere – but we believe there are exciting times ahead in the near future.

“The council this year unveiled ambitious plans to use Paisley’s outstanding heritage and cultural assets to drive a wide-ranging programme of regeneration over the next decade and help attract tourism.

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“But we can only make that happen with the support of all within the local community – and town centre businesses will be at the heart of that process.

“With that in mind, they stand to gain from having a body to represent their interests and bring people together to support projects which will help boost local trade for all.

“Business Improvement Districts are already working well in other towns and I would encourage all firms within the boundary to get on board with the proposals and back the BID.”

Councillor Macmillan recently met with former MEP Hugh McMahon and Ken MacDonald, of Houston Kiltmakers, the chair and deputy chair of the Paisley First Steering Group.

Hugh McMahon said: “Paisley First is fully supportive of Renfrewshire Council’s extremely imaginative and exciting proposals for town centre regeneration by exploiting Paisley’s historic past and iconic buildings.

“Paisley First has built on these proposals in our current business plan, designed to bring specific benefits based on dealing with issues highlighted through consulting Paisley businesses, to be circulated to all business in the proposed BID area.”

There are already 22 BIDs around Scotland, but should one be adopted in Paisley it would boast the highest number of businesses of any apart from Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

All business within the BID area will receive a copy of the business plan and a ballot paper when the 42-day ballot period kicks off on Friday 3 October.

For more information, visit www.paisleyfirst.com[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Paisley First for Business

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Paisley First for Business

I was at the launch of the Paisley Business Improvement District (Paisley BID) last week. Here are some of my thoughts on the BID and what it really means to Paisley.

BIDs are well established in Scotland and from the map on www.bids-scotland.com, local BIDs such as Clarkston and also Falkirk, Bathgate & Inverness are seen to be a success. Certainly Falkirk seems to be making all the right noises and actions from an outsider’s perspective, for instance unlike Paisley, actually has some leaflets in Glasgow Airport explaining what is on in Falkirk and where to go to eat, drink, sleep etc which is a far cry from Paisley’s external self promotion, or lack of it should I say.

The following definition is from the Paisley BID website:

What is a Business Improvement District?

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a business-led collaboration initiative which originated in Canada and is widespread throughout the UK. A “BID” is governed by legislation whereby businesses within a defined area work together and invest collectively in those priority issues they believe will benefit them, whilst contributing to the sustainable economic growth of the local economy. source..

paisley-firstNow what will the BID bring to Paisley? Well from what I can see it has already managed to get local traders and business owners in the same room and talking.  Did you know there has not been a local traders’ organisation for some years which just makes you realise why the town has had problems… In harsh economic times we need to pull together and come up with a way to turn around the decline.

So, good on the people behind the BID as they are doing something to help and at least coming up with solutions and not more problems. Yes there is a long way to go but this is certainly a start and knowing most of the businesses behind the BID I really hope it succeeds.

I have heard questions about the amount of levy that will be charged to businesses when it goes live, before that there has to be a vote consisting of one question, ‘Do you want the BID – Yes/No’.  The vote will be some time towards the end of 2014.

They have cross party political support and also the backing of lots of local businesses, including Houston Kilts, Hamishes Hoose, Ashtree House, Marks & Spencers and also the support of the two major educational facilities in town, the University of the West of Scotland and West College Scotland (formerly Reid Kerr).

A question raised at the meeting was:  ‘Are the BIDs basically doing the work that the local authority should be doing?’ I would like to think not, as in the last few years and through various administrations the council has been doing a lot to help improve the town. They have also been applying for essential grant money for major improvements such as the Causeyside Street improvements which look fantastic.

If you are looking for more information on the Paisley BID process which is now officially called Paisley First then please visit their website by following this link. www.paisleyfirst.com Lets hope it is Paisley First for Business..

Blog by Brian McGuire.