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Kirkwall businesses vote ‘yes’ to third term of BID

Town centre businesses have voted in favour of a third five-year term of the Kirkwall Business  Improvement District (BID.) The outcome of the Kirkwall BID ballot was revealed at 10.30am on  Friday 3rd March 2023 by Orkney Islands Council, the Ballot Holder. The overall result was 109 in favour 22 against, with a turnout of 58% in respect of rateable values and 47% of ratepayers.  

Over the last 10 years, Kirkwall businesses have collectively invested over £625,000 through  the payment of an annual levy. This has been used to deliver services and projects that enhance the trading environment, creating a prosperous and exciting destination for shoppers,  staff, residents and visitors to the town. A further five-year term allows Kirkwall BID to build upon the firm foundations already achieved in the town.  

Originally founded in 2013, Kirkwall BID has, over the past 10 years, introduced numerous successful campaigns and projects that met the key objectives of the BID member’s business plan.  These included initiatives such as installing winter lights across the town, creating a popular calendar of events bringing people to the town, and the launch of free one-hour winter parking  agreed with the local authority. BID has a huge reach in its promotional and advertising activities, both in local press and radio, and on social media.  

The third term of the BID will begin on 3rd March 2023 with the roll-out of a new business plan  as agreed and voted for by BID members. Key activities and initiatives highlighted for the next  five years include a sustained and enhanced destination-marketing and events campaign, im proved business support and training, strengthening of Kirkwall’s position as one of the most welcoming, beautiful town centres in Scotland and improving the town’s accessibility and foot fall.  

Commenting on the successful ballot win, Laura Bruce, Manager of Kirkwall BID said:  

“We are so delighted to have secured a further positive result in the recent BID renewal ballot,  and are proud to be able to continue our work promoting and improving the trading environment  of the town. We continue to be 100% committed to the businesses across Kirkwall BID, and we  will continue to work tirelessly with them to ensure that Kirkwall maintains its thriving town centre.  

“My huge thanks go to my team, Sally and Sasha, as well as our volunteer board of directors  who have supported us and encouraged us through the Covid-19 Pandemic. We couldn’t do it  without them. A final thanks to all the businesses and organisations that have supported and  worked collaboratively with us to secure a third term for the BID, and a more prosperous future  for our town. We look forward now to rolling up our sleeves and rolling out the new business  plan that BID members have convincingly voted in favour for us to deliver.”  

Kirkwall BID Chair, Duncan McLean, owner of Kirkness & Gorie said:  

“I’m delighted that the businesses of Kirkwall voted to keep the heart in Kirkwall with Kirkwall  BID. We knew it was not an easy decision for all members, already facing rising costs across  their businesses, to vote Yes for a slightly higher levy payment. The new business plan sees a  rise in the levy charge for the first time since 2013, and explains how Kirkwall BID had been  working hard with one of the smallest BID budgets in the UK, securing additional funding to  achieve all that it does.  

“For the smallest businesses, the minimum levy is only £100 – less than £2 per week – and the  resource businesses can draw on for that will a return many times that. It’s the best £2 business  can spend every week!” 

A full breakdown of the ballot results will be uploaded to BID’s website, and emailed to all members. BID’s plans for events, promotions and other activities over the spring and summer will be  announced soon.