Calderdale Council leaders are backing Brighouse companies if they decide they want to establish a business improvement district to deliver extra services to the town.
Businesses are being balloted to find out whether they wish to pay a levy based on their rateable value to deliver additional services within the town to those provided by the council.
If the ballot is successful a newly created Brighouse Business Improvement District (BID) company will be responsible for providing the additional services.
The Council’s Cabinet agreed to approve the council’s role in its administration and BID levy collection on behalf of Brighouse BID.
This will allow operational clarity for the group subject to a “yes” vote this month.
Cabinet member for Regeneration and Economic Strategy, Coun Barry Collins (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) said the approach to supporting a BID had been developed in Halifax last year and rolled out there since.
“It is representing a potential major step forward for Brighouse in business terms. It is our second town in Calderdale and when money from that levy is put together it will be used by the business improvement district to deliver additional services,” he said.
“My understanding is the BID would raise approximately £120,000 a year which could be invested in services and improve the town centre.”
Cabinet’s decision to approve the levy collection also sets out the future relationship between the council and Brighouse BID company.
In addition to authorising the council to collect the levy, the BID will pay a fee to the council of around £3,500 per year to cover collection and administration costs.
Over the proposed five-year term it is estimated the BID has the potential to raise around £120,000 per annum, to be used in line with its business plan to deliver services over and above what the council currently provides.
The development stage of the BID has been funded by £20,000 from the council on the recommendation of its Economy and Investment Panel.
As well as the BID’s “yes” or “no” vote, businesses are being asked to prioritise projects they think it can deliver on, with an overall aim of making Brighouse town centre a more vibrant, positive and safer shopping and evening experience.
Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot), Cabinet member for Resources, Performance and business Change, suggested some signage directing people who were visiting into town from the bus station was an idea they might want to take up.
“I enjoy shopping in Brighouse and think it has got a thriving future,” she said.