Chamber Chat with John O'Neill

August 02, 2021 - 12:00am

Chamber Chat with John O'Neill

Running an election campaign, because that’s basically what a Business Improvement District ballot (BID) is, is tense at the best of times but running one that goes over a month and you only get to know which business has voted, but not how, takes it to another level.

To get to ballot stage takes a lot of work including informing the appropriate Secretary of State, the local council, and the BID businesses. In addition, a business plan has to be worked up that covers the next five years of the BID’s ambitions. All in all, this process starts approximately 18 months before ballot.

Morecambe BID has just been through reballot and I am pleased to report that we have been revoted in with a very strong mandate of almost 90% of Yes votes, and 80% based on the rateable value of the property. Lancaster BID went through a reballot process earlier this year and were also voted back in with a strong result.

Many people, outside of the BID community and businesses, question the worth of BIDs but the strong support shown by the local business communities towards both BIDs show they value the work that BIDs do.

Our work varies from working hand-in-hand with the authorities, lobbying on important issues, assisting businesses, communication, running and supporting events and much, much more. We have some big plans going forward and, of course, the exciting Eden North project keeps edging closer.

It’s always great to talk to local businesses, residents and even visitors. It’s nice to be able to help. No two days are the same.

This has been my second election campaign but I’m happy to say that in no way are they a precursor to a venture into politics.