Edinburgh's Old Town businesses vote on plans for BID

VOTING has opened in the ballot of businesses in the Old Town to decide whether the area should become a Business Improvement District.

Friday, 18th October 2019, 6:00 am
James McGregor hopes to persuade businesses to back the BID

Under proposals put forward by Original Edinburgh, all businesses in the Old Town would ay an annual levy to fund initiatives including street ambassadors to welcome and direct visitors, extra street cleaning, lighting improvements and information-sharing to combat shoplifting.

Nearly 700 firms will receive voting papers over the next few days.

James McGregor, chair of Original Edinburgh and owner of the Royal McGregor whisky bar and restaurant, said: "We’ve worked hard over the last few years to develop an ambitious package of investment for the Old Town to help deal with the issues facing both businesses and the local community. We’ve found through our engagement that the people who live and work here face many of the same issues.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"This is a fantastic opportunity to bring people together to develop solutions over and above what can be provided by the council.

“The evidence supporting the success and impact of BIDs across Scotland, the UK and Europe is overwhelming.

“In the New Town, Essential Edinburgh has shown the type of transformative impact a BID can have, and it’s time we bring some of that success to our area.”

Kat Brogan, managing director of Mercat Tours, also backed the proposal, saying it would give local businesses a voice on key issues.

She said: “There is a great deal of change, and therefore opportunity ahead for local businesses in the Old Town.

"From ensuring the area is a safe, attractive, high-quality experience for all, to the Summertime Streets and new trade waste regulations, it’s important that businesses have a voice defending their interests.

"We’re asking local businesses to give us the mandate to fight hard on their behalf. We’re confident that when Old Town businesses read our proposals, developed by business for business, they’ll see that this ambition is worth investing in.”

The deadline for voting in the BID ballot is 5pm on November 28.