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News - 30 May 2006

Businesses vote 'Yes' for Christmas lights in Brighton

Brighton will celebrate Christmas in style this year thanks to the traders who have supported the Business Improvement District. The Electoral Reform Services has reported a YES vote on Brighton’s first BID.

The BID campaign began in earnest in January 2006 and has been successful in winning the support of 63.8% of the hereditaments (businesses in the BID area that meet the defined A1 - A5 planning use classifications). The rateable value of the yes vote (also a key consideration) was 70% indicating strong support from the larger organisations in the city.

This means that Brighton businesses will have over £1 million to spend over the next five years on Christmas lights, marketing and increased security for the city centre.

The BID area covers the main north/south streets of the North Laine, North Street, the pedestrianised part of East Street, Meeting House Lane and Market Street. These streets were self-selecting in that traders indicated that they were supportive of the principle of establishing a BID

The Business Forum has promoted the concept of the BID and managed all the surveys and distribution of information so far. However, control will now be handed over to the BID Board, which will comprise elected traders. Nominations and democratic elections will ensue over the next few weeks.

City centre manager, Soozie Campbell said, “We are obviously delighted by this result. The yes vote is much higher than we dared hope it would be, which is very reassuring. We now feel confident about progressing the projects identified because we know that we have a strong majority of traders behind us.

“It means that we can now have the really spectacular Christmas lights display that Brighton deserves to have. We can also promote shopping and eating in Brighton on a scale that has not been done before and with our increased security we can ensure that visitors to our city don’t see the signs of crime and vandalism that would stop them coming back again.

“We are all very excited and keen to get on with the process of selecting a Christmas lights supplier, and progressing each of the other projects.

“We will also now embark on the initial research and investigation for a BID in Hove and another in West St and the seafront”

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