Opposition to Peterhead’s Business Improvement District scheme has led to an unusual and rather scatological poster campaign.
Businessman Keith Bennett has created a parody advertising effort claiming the Rediscover Peterhead group is bad for the town.
One of the posters, claiming the group are “dumping on local businesses”, among other statements, adorns his Save on Specs premises on the town’s Marischal Street.
Mr Bennett has, however, produced 50 of the posters and hopes to see them proliferate throughout the town by making them available through social media.
Bid schemes are being used in town’s across Scotland to drive upgrades and bring investment, with approaching 40 now in operation, some very successfully.
Rediscover Peterhead hopes to work towards the regeneration of the town centre to attract new businesses and create more jobs while at the same time increasing civic pride.
Such schemes are not universally popular, however, and their creation has been blocked in a number of places.
Mr Bennett’s personal objections centre on the terms by which BID schemes operate and are established and the fact that their successful formation requires businesses within the Bid zones – even if they are not supporters – to contribute.
He claims that only a fraction of the 220 or so businesses within the Peterhead Bid zone were required to vote in favour, branding that “unfair”.
The businessman said: “It’s not about the money as, initially at least, it’s only £300 a year. It is also not about whether they will do a good job.
“It’s the undemocratic way it was forced through and yet was dressed-up as democratic that gets me.
“They’ve set up a private limited company which is able to force other businesses to pay money and I feel they’re not accountable as we’ve no way to see exactly where the money is going.
“Some other business owners have several businesses so the investment could end up being around £1,500 for them.
“I hate to use the word ‘unfair’ but that’s how it feels.”
He added: “I’m hoping some other businesses in the town will want to put the posters up. I ordered them to show that not everyone is a fan of Bid.
“I’m not the leader of any group but I resent being pushed around.”
Iain Sutherland, Bid manager, declined to comment on the poster campaign.