Vote on 'second term' for Visit Lincs Coast BID paused on 'legality'

The ballot on a second term for the Visit Lincs Coast BID has been paused on a ‘legality’.

Hundreds of businesses along the coast from Donna Nook to Friskney were expecting ballot papers to drop through their letter boxes after April 19, starting a month-long timeline for levy payers to lodge a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ vote.

The BID started campaigning in March for a ‘Yes’ vote for businesses to pay a 1.5% of its rateable value towards marketing, promotion, events, business support and environment enhancements, warning these would all cease with a ‘no’ vote.

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However, after Skegness Town Council lodged a ‘yes’ vote, East Lindsey District Council (ELDC), in its statutory role as the Authority requesting a ballot, announced it is being paused.

In a statement, Christine Marshall, Deputy Chief Executive (Corporate Development) ELDC said: “As you may be aware, to support the small businesses on the coast, the Visit Lincs Coast Board agreed to raise the rateable value threshold for which eligible businesses pay into the BID from £5,000 to £7,500 for the forthcoming Ballot.

"The change to the rateable value threshold essentially reduces the number of businesses that would be required to pay the BID Levy. Initially, it had been the intention to take forward a ‘renewal’ ballot, but this threshold change now requires a ‘new’ Ballot process to be undertaken.

"This matter has arisen due to new legal advice received by the District Council in relation to the Ballot process when a BID Levy threshold is proposed to change.

"It is disappointing that the District Council has had to pause the ballot, however, it is the best course of action and will still allow for the Ballot to be completed within the required timescales.”

Five years ago 1,300 business qualified to pay the levy for the BID to market the coast.

Glossy ‘second term’ brochures produced for the 950 businesses now qualifying for the ballot stated the BID would be investing a further £3 million on the Lincolnshire coast.

Sid Dennis, the Chairman of Visit Lincs Coast Destination BID, commented: “To support the small businesses on the coast, the Visit Lincs Coast Board agreed to raise the rateable value threshold for which eligible businesses pay into the BID from £5,000 to £7,500 for the forthcoming Ballot.

"Additionally, in response to the inflationary pressures we know all businesses are facing, the Visit Lincs Coast Board will be holding the levy charge agreed in 2017 until 2027.

"The change to the rateable value threshold essentially reduces the number of businesses that would be required to pay the BID Levy.

"Initially, it had been the intention to take forward a ‘renewal’ ballot, but this threshold change now requires a ‘new’ Ballot process to be undertaken. This matter has arisen due to new legal advice received by the District Council in relation to the Ballot process when a BID Levy threshold is proposed to change.

"It is disappointing that the District Council has had to pause the ballot, however, we believe that this is the best course of action and will still enable the Ballot to be completed within the required timescales.

"Visit Lincs Coast remains committed to supporting our businesses and local economy and look forward to implementing an abundance of exciting plans for the Summer and Autumn of 2022.”