Nairn has voted to establish its own Business Improvement District (BID) in what was called a “hugely positive step forward.”
The result was announced yesterday after three years of work by the Nairn Connects project trying to persuade businesses to vote “yes.”
The vote means that local businesses or managers inside the district will pay a council tax levy that will be invested locally.
Despite last minute concerns about complacency, Nairn easily passed the minimum 25% threshold for respondents and total non-domestic rateable property value.
There was a headcount turnout of more than 51% of those eligible to be balloted which came to a rateable value turnout of just under 60%.
In total 281 businesses were could have cast a vote with 107 owners or managers voting for BID and only 23 or 17% voting against it.
Chairman of the Nairn Connects steering group Michael Boylan said: “This is a hugely positive step forward made by local business and Non-Domestic rated property owners. It’s now time for us all to come together and make a real difference to Nairn.
“Throughout the three year process the debate was rarely about what should be done and always about what was the best method to get it done and I’m delighted that the local business community has agreed that a BID is the way forward.
“What is not always recognised is the time and effort from local individuals that goes into making Nairn a better place and this process is another great example of that within our community. I’d also like to thank everyone who took the time to vote.”
He added: “The next steps are to form a board and details on this will be published publically in the coming weeks, this will be open to all businesses involved, after that it will be up to the board of Directors to work with levy payers, community groups, public organisations and others in making a positive difference to Nairn’s economy”
Nairn and Cawdor Councillor Laurie Fraser welcomed the result saying it is “absolutely positive, it is a great thing for Nairn because it will give us something to work with as money from the council is getting tighter and tighter.
“It will allow us to improve the town physically and to put on events – which is getting harder and harder to do with just volunteers – and it will boost the economy.
He added: “We are also hoping that it will attract businesses to the town and halt any more decline in the town.”