A STEERING group has been set up to begin the process of creating the Ulverston Business Improvement District.

The BID is a local business-led initiative that could generate more than £70,000 each year for five years to promote the town and improve it for both visitors and residents.

At a meeting in Ulverston Business Centre, the steering group agreed to use up to £20,000 from Ulverston Town Council, Ulverston Community Partnership, South Lakeland District Council, and Cumbria County Council to progress the initiative over the next year with the aim of balloting businesses at the end of 2014.

Businesses across Ulverston will vote on whether they want the BID to go ahead – raising money via an extra one per cent on the business rate for a fund that will be administered by a company specially set up to promote and improve the town.

Chairman of the BID Steering Group Chris Nelson, from the Ulverston Business Alliance, said: “The money will not be used to replace council services. It will be controlled by representatives of local businesses that provide the funding – and they will decide how best to spend it based on feedback from the town’s business community.

“We will also be seeking to attract extra money through match-funding.

“The town’s biggest employers including Siemens, Tritech, Forge Europa, Oxley and GlaxoSmithKline have all expressed their support for the BID initiative. The steering group are all unpaid volunteers and it includes representatives from large companies, traders, licensed premises, tourism and Ulverston Town Council.

“We need the business community to get behind the BID initiative if it is to succeed and deliver benefits for the town – everyone can make a contribution, from the largest company to the smallest trader or home worker. They all have a stake in creating a brighter future for Ulverston.”

The other officials appointed at the Steering Group meeting were Roger Chattaway from the Farmers Arms as deputy chairman, estate agent Ralph Spours as honorary secretary and local accountant Ian Knox as treasurer.

The steering group decided to advertise for a specialist consultant to manage the BID process and create a website to keep people informed on its progress.

The group will also be contacting other towns that have successfully achieved BID status to share best practice.

For more information, call Chris on 07761 930627 or email chris@trafalgar-pr.co.uk.