The steering group behind the drive to create a BID company in St Andrews has unveiled more support from the business community.
It comes as traders are voting on whether it gets the green light.
If the ballot - which ends on October 8 - is a ‘yes’ then BIDStAndrews will be a new group which works to bring collective improvements to the heart of St Andrews for as five-year fixed term.
It will also join existing BID companies up and running in Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline.
The steering group has already confirmed the backing from key players in St Andrews such as the university, the G1 Group which operates a number of bars and restaurants, St Andrews Links Trust, and Fife Council.
The university has pledged an investment of £150,000 over five years, plus an additional £100,000 of services and support in kind in the event of a ‘yes’ vote.
The Old Course Hotel, which sits outwith the BID zone, also said it wanted to work with the new group and support its business plan.
This week it unveiled public backing from more businesses including Thorntons Law. Bar-Be-Que on Greyfriars, Eden Mill, and the award-winning Highland Chocolatier.
Alistair Lang of Thorntons said: “I believe it is important for all businesses to have a say and play a pro-active part in our town’s future. We each have something different to offer, and the BID allows us to get our messages across to very different audiences. We can all benefit more by working together.”
Iain Burnett Highland Chocolatier has also come out in support. Julie Collier, the company’s commercial director, said: “Opening our store in St Andrews was a major investment. We have been rewarded with great support not only from staff, residents and visitors but also from forging partnerships with businesses in and around the town. We have watched the BID St Andrews plans develop over the last year and believe a business-led initiative to improve promotion, marketing and facilities is the best way forward. As a result, we are backing the BID.”
One of the newest businesses in town, Bar-Be-Que, on Greyfriars, has also given its backing.
Owner, Iain Marr, says: “I have read the BID’s business plan and it makes complete sense to pool resources and talents to improve the promotion of St Andrews. We do all we can to work with local producers and suppliers. The BID is about building partnerships between businesses and organisations to better engage with residents and visitors. I am all for that and Q has voted yes in support of the BID.”
Support also came from Paul Miller from Eden Mill who said: “St Andrews is recognised worldwide as the home of golf. For us it is much, much more. We see the town as our home – the home of invention, innovation and learning. St Andrews is where our story began. We are proud and privileged to employ people from in and around the town – and to work with many businesses as true partners in developing what we have created. Opting in is in our nature – and we will be supporting the BID in their plans to improve the town.”
The support comes as the steering group prepares for its final drop-in session on Wednesday October 7 from 8-11 a.m. Mitchell’s on Market Street - it comes just 24 hours before the deadline for all 240 businesses to cast their vote.
Ken Dalton, chairman, said it would continue to work for a ‘yes’ vote until the deadline.
He said: “Last week, we received the backing from the town’s education, golf and hospitality heavyweights. This week, many others have given us the thumbs up – from professional services and retail, to food and drink outlets.
Ken says: “In more than a year of campaigning, we have encountered very few businesses in the town who are anti the BID’s plans.
‘‘Our experience is that the majority – from local independents to the multi-nationals – are incredibly positive.” He adds: “All successful businesses recognize that times have changed. We can no longer rely on uncertain funds from public bodies that have a duty of care outwith our remit. The demands on their resources are high – so we have to act to manage our own affairs. For St Andrews to really thrive, it requires a robust, properly-funded and business-led solution to help improve the town’s facilities and drive its promotion and marketing.”
The BID ballot closes at 5pm on Thursday October 8 - the result should be known a day later.
If it is a yes vote then BIDStAndrews will launch in January