As the campaign for a Business Improvement District in St Andrews enters its final two weeks, “key businesses and organisations” have backed the initiative, forming what the organisers are calling “a unique partnership.”
BID St Andrews has hailed the backing of some of the town’s largest players as proof that the project will unify the town “as never before”.
Ken Dalton, Chairman of the steering group, explains: “From day one, BID St Andrews has been about having a unified voice – delivered by businesses and organisations for the benefit of the entire St Andrews community.” Ken adds: “As the ballot deadline approaches, we are delighted some of the biggest, most influential and diverse partners in the town have thrown their weight behind the campaign – either voting yes if they are within the BID area or opting in if they are beyond the boundary.”
Those who have shown their support are across the academic, golf and hospitality sectors – all key to the town’s success.
At the University of St Andrews, Niall Scott, Director of Corporate Communications, explains their support: “The University is intertwined with the town, with its residents, visitors and every business, we’ve grown up with it over six centuries. Our students and staff are customers. Business owners, managers and staff are the friends or family of our own colleagues. In order to make the very most of these intricate interdependencies, we need to work together, day-by-day.” He adds: “The BID is different from any other initiative because for the first time it gives our local businesses the power to lead the promotion, development and shape of St Andrews in the future. That’s why we’re backing it.”
The University has pledged to support the BID with an investment of £150,000 over the next 5 years, plus an additional £100,000 worth of services and support in kind in the event of a ‘yes’ vote.
At St Andrews Links Trust, Commercial Director, Danny Campbell, says: “We see the town as a unique destination and our facilities at the Home of Golf as a key part of the community. We support the opportunities that the BID will create, not least offering a shared voice for the first time to cross-sector businesses.” He adds: “As a values-led, dynamic, diverse and inclusive organisation we will continue to put our innovative ideas into action and effectively share our professional expertise and knowledge to support the BID. We believe in the power of collaboration and the shared ambition to continuously improve our wonderful town, making St Andrews even better for residents, visitors and businesses alike.”
On the hospitality side, two of the town’s largest have given their support.
Director of Operations at the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, David Scott, has pledged the resort’s support for the BID saying: “Our Hams Hame Pub & Grill is within the boundary – and we will be voting ‘yes’ to support the BID as we believe in playing an active role within the town and its development.” David adds: “Although the hotel lies outwith the BID’s town boundary, we are very keen to work with them to support events and activities featured in their business plan. We already make a significant commitment to support events such as the St Andrews Food & Drink Festival – and we see the proposed BID as a great vehicle to unify interests in and around the town for everyone’s benefit.”
The G1 group – owners of some of the town’s best known restaurants and bars, has also given the BID the thumbs up, saying: “As Scotland’s largest independent and most diverse leisure operator, we take enormous pride in building relationships – not only with our team and suppliers but with our customers and their communities. We have invested significantly in our estate in St Andrews, refurbishing grade A & B listed buildings to create unique places for our customers to enjoy. The BID makes perfect sense to us – bringing together businesses to ensure we all speak with greater clarity and collaboration. We have already voted ‘yes’ and would urge others to do the same. The business plan is sound – and will benefit all who back it.”
Ken Dalton adds: “We are building a unique and lasting partnership. It is bringing together businesses and organisations large and small – as well as partners from both the private, public and charity sectors.
Kate Hughes, Area Services Manager for Fife Council, adds the local authority’s support, saying: “For the past year, businesses across the town have demonstrated how they can work together, investing their time and energy in local projects and events as part of the BID countdown. Working in such a way enables the growth of a vibrant, local economy. A BID will not only provide support for local, independent businesses but it will also engage the larger national and international players.” She adds: “Fife Council has been happy to support this initiative, and see that a YES vote will benefit both the business and wider community. It will provide an environment where businesses are focused on collective improvements that will further enhance the town, that has to be an advantage for all. The steering group has done a great job and I hope the businesses get behind the BID and vote YES in the ballot.”
Ken concludes: “This is fantastic news for everyone that has worked so hard over the last year on the BID’s steering group – as well as all of those on the fringes who have given us their time and support. We have listened to the concerns of the smaller businesses – those paying non-domestic rates below £10,000 – and removed any need for them to contribute. Those above that threshold are being asked to make a relatively small investment – just 1.5% of their current ratable value each year, for five years. The sum of those parts will be significant – close to a million pounds that will deliver against the business plan, influencing how St Andrews is marketed, promoted and run for the benefit of businesses, organisations and our customers – be they local residents or visitors to the town.”
Every eligible business in the BID area has received a copy of the BID’s business plan together with a ballot paper entitling them to vote before the closing deadline of 5pm on Thursday 8th October 2015.