Missed opportunity as Rediscover Peterhead fails to achieve second five-year term

Rediscover Peterhead, Business Improvement District has failed to reach the required votes in order to be re-elected for a second five-year term.

Rediscover Peterhead Business Improvement District (BID) has been unsuccessful in its efforts to serve for a consecutive five-year term.
Rediscover Peterhead Business Improvement District (BID) has been unsuccessful in its efforts to serve for a consecutive five-year term.

The renewal ballot process was launched in May with a confidential ballot of all eligible businesses within the BID area ending at 5pm yesterday (Thurs, Sept 29).

The results show that 127 of those balloted responded, with 38.6% voting in favour of the renewal and 61.4% against.

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The BID – which drew an annual town centre investment of £111,500 - will now be wound up with the loss of two jobs.

Linda Hendry, Rediscover Peterhead Manager, said it was a blow to the town and all the work done to-date to support the businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic and recent worries around soaring utility prices.

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She said: “I am deeply disappointed that despite all the groundwork we undertook in our first five years and all the projects and activities we have managed to undertake during our first term, we were unable to secure enough votes to continue.

“During what remain very challenging times for businesses across the country, it will be vital for Peterhead traders to rally round and support one another, however there is no doubt it will be difficult to replicate the £111,500 of investment together with the significant match-funding we would have generated in the coming five years.

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“We are very proud of what we have achieved in our first term – particularly given the challenges we all faced when COVID-19 struck in March 2020. We have seen the introduction of the CCTV system to the town centre, introduced the hugely successful seafood festivals and producer markets and helped improve surfacing, lighting and signage in the town centre. Supporting business via the shop front small grants scheme, launching of the Discover Peterhead app, and providing of support to Light up Peterhead and Scottish Week.

“We we’re enthusiastically looking forward to another five years of working together with local businesses and our partners including Peterhead Community Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Visit Aberdeenshire, Light up Peterhead, Scottish Week and Invest In Peterhead to continue the work which we have undertaken to-date.

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“Everyone at Rediscover Peterhead wishes all our businesses the very best for the future.”

Board Chairman John Pascoe added: “I too am understandably disappointed at the result returned by the Peterhead businesses, not only that the five years of hard work, through unprecedented trading conditions and changing shopping trends, are ending, but also for the loss of opportunity to further grow the gains made in that time. Rediscover Peterhead will continue until the end of November to deliver all that it can and continue working hard with partners such as Light Up to deliver what was promised in the business plan.”

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Rediscover Peterhead had hoped to secure a mandate to deliver its new 5-year business plan which sets out a plan to increase footfall through a range of events and promotions, offer cost-saving initiatives for both businesses and customers and continue enhancing the attractiveness of Peterhead town centre.

It would have focused on a number of projects including:

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• Ongoing delivery of town centre events, working with key partners.

• Continue to Improve the town centre appearance.

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• Transform a number of doorways as we build on the public art project.

• Continue to work on securing extra external funding.

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• Continued social media coverage and marketing support for businesses and town centre.

• Create and deliver a marketing communications strategy.

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• Help to increase workflow and business support.

• Create partnerships to facilitate a connection with tourism and the town centre offer,

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• Invest in Peterhead by looking for funding for a business hub.

• Working in Partnership with Police Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council, as part of Shop watch and Pub watch.

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Full ballot breakdown:

The rateable values of the relevant properties in respect of which these votes were cast were as follows:

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Aggregate of the rateable values of the relevant properties in respect of which a person voting in the ballot has voted for the BID proposals (A) - £1,027,350

Aggregate of the rateable values of the relevant properties in respect of which a person voting in the ballot has voted against the BID proposals (B) - £116,6300

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The total number of eligible business premises (total number of ballot papers) of

which a person is entitled to vote in the ballot was 228

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The aggregate of the rateable values of relevant properties in respect of which a

person is entitled to vote in the ballot was £3,796,500

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The aggregate property rateable value in respect of which a person, excluding

rejected ballot papers voted was £2,193,650

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The return rate (turnout) in respect of those eligible to vote was 52%

The return rate (turnout) in respect of rateable values was 57.78%

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Since 2014, the council has formally supported BIDs - business-led initiatives for those firms where an annual levy is charged to all commercial buildings falling within a defined area of a town if a yes ballot is successful.

This levy enables projects and statutory services above those that Aberdeenshire Council, Police Scotland, VisitAberdeenshire and Bear Scotland offer as their baseline services.

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Following consultation with the businesses, a BID Proposal and Business Plan is drawn up which forms the BID company’s five-year plan for the delivery of these additional projects

and services.

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Although BIDs are business-led, a legal partnership has been in operation between the council and the BID companies since 2017.