BUSINESSES in Kendal have thrown their weight behind a scheme to help the town realise ‘untapped tourism potential’.

The Cumbrian town’s businesses have voted in favour of renewing the Kendal Business Improvement District (BID) for the next five years.

A BID is a defined area where a levy is charged on business rate payers which is used to develop projects which will benefit businesses in the area.

There were 173 votes cast in the ballot of which 129 were in favour of renewing the BID. Westmorland and Furness Council had previously pledged to support the initiative and use their voting allocation in favour of the BID at a cabinet meeting in October.

The scheme will aim to encourage more tourists to visit Kendal.

Kendal BID business plan 2024-2029 states: “The BID has identified untapped tourism potential as an opportunity to attract more visitors to Kendal. To harness this potential, the BID implements marketing and promotional campaigns.

“By increasing visitor numbers and boosting the local economy, the BID supports tourism-related businesses and creates employment opportunities within the sector, contributing to overall economic growth.”

Businesses that pay the levy can vote in the ballot which determines whether the scheme goes ahead.

Leader of Westmorland and Furness Council, councillor Jonathan Brook (Kendal South, Lib Dems), previously said: “The work undertaken by the Kendal BID is invaluable to the town and its surrounding area.”

“The Kendal BID provides a voice for town centre businesses and is an organisation that the council can, and will, work closely with to deliver shared objectives. The work of the BID will help to support Kendal as a local service centre to serve the needs of the community”, Cllr Brook added.

The initiative will also seek to build more confidence in the local economy.

The plan adds: “The overall economic climate in Kendal BID area requires assistance to foster confidence and stimulate growth. The rise in business closures, high failure rates, and escalating costs contribute to an unstable economy.

“To address this, Kendal BID provides support, resources, and initiatives that promote economic stability and instil confidence within the local business community.”

The BID area in Kendal will be increased from previous terms as according to the organisers there is a desire for a more inclusive BID which will be able to benefit businesses that were previously excluded.

The levy businesses will pay is based on one per cent of the properties most current rateable value.