Call for businesses to unite to secure future for Lincolnshire coast

The chairman of the Chamber of Commerce in Skegness is calling on businesses to unite to secure the future of the Lincolnshire coast following the demise of the marketing body Visit Lincs Coast (DBID).

Bob Walker, chairman of the Skegness area Chamber of Commerce, says the Tower Gardens shoud have been used more for events rather than roads closed.
Bob Walker, chairman of the Skegness area Chamber of Commerce, says the Tower Gardens shoud have been used more for events rather than roads closed.

Bob Walker said he was “sad that the BID has been voted out” but not surprised.

He said: “For the last few years the Board thought they always knew best and would listen to anyone with ideas but definitely not the levy payers themselves.

“They have put on some good events but not always in the right places.

"Why close off roads? Why not use Tower Gardens more? That way there would be no roads blocked off causing traffic problems.

"Then they would not give the shopkeepers reason to moan and complain that they were losing customers.

“I believe that it is time for businesses in Skegness to come together and come up with a way to market the town and put on festivals to bring in the visitors to our town.

I have always believed in the idea of the BID but do believe that it was too large an area to do justice to.

"So I would now like to call on the business community of Skegness to come along to the Skegness Chamber of Commerce and let’s put our heads together for the good of Skegness and its future prosperity.”

Tony Kelly, manager of the Lookout and a member of social media East Coast Businesses Against the Bid Levy group, said he was not surprised by the outcome of the vote.

"it has been a bone of contention among businesses for years,” he said. “We voted in the 2017 ballot but only when a fellow business owner told us that we had 72 hours to get our vote in.

"We thought they were junk mail so we’d thrown them away.

"This time business owners were ready for the ballot papers to arrive and made their feelings known.

“The BID was supposed to provide services and advertise the coast above and beyond what ELDC were providing, but the council pushed it as a way of saving themselves money.

"In a newsletter the BID admit to paying their Street Rangers to clean ELDC carparks. Why were we paying for that?

“In my opinion the council are at fault here for the way in which it was introduced and the directors of The BID Company were dazzled by the promise of ‘free’ money to help the town.

"Unfortunately, it’s not free money, it’s hard earned.”

“We wish no-one ill in this matter but we can spend that money in a more effective way in our premises to encourage visitors to return.”

However, Chris Baron, chairman of the Connected Coast Town Deal board, predicted a difficult time ahead for the coast without a “voice” to promote it.

“I was very disappointed with the result but more concerned for what the future holds.” he said.

" I am not sure what voice we now have for the Visitor Economy on the coast as we enter into what will be a very difficult 12- 18 months and with public sector budgets already under great pressure.

"We do not seem to have a Plan B and I am not sure who will now pick the baton up.”