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Bury St Edmunds business improvement district renewed

Bury St Edmunds business improvement district will continue for another five years.

Businesses voted overwhelmingly for the continuation of the scheme, which sees firms pay a levy to fund services and events to bring benefit to the town centre.

Mark Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds - the group which manages the district, revealed the news this afternoon (Friday, November 29).

He said: "It is good news. We are re-elected on an increased mandate. Five years on, we have even bigger numbers."

“This fantastic result means that we can now build upon the achievements of ten successful years of the district and achieve even more for the town and our businesses by working collaboratively with other key stakeholders."

Mark Cordell
Mark Cordell

All firms in a set town centre area whose premises have a rateable value of more than £10,000 were invited to take part in the ballot.

In total, 84 per cent of businesses who took part supported the continuation of the scheme.

This is an improvement on the 82 per cent from when the district was renewed in 2014.

Our Bury St Edmunds also had to ensure the combined rateable value must be greater than 50 per cent of the total rateable value of voters - which they did.

The rateable value of those who voted yes was nearly £7.2 million or 93 per cent of the votes cast (compared to 90 per cent in 2014). Turnout in the ballot was 35 per cent.

It all means an unprecedented £2,375,000 is likely to be spent over the next five years.

Businesses pay from £200 a year to £10,000 depending on their size.

So far the scheme has funded the Christmas lights turn-on, paid for training for businesses, helped drive improvements with parking and was behind free town centre maps.

Mr Cordell said all this and more can be enjoyed over the next five years.

He added: "We have consistently seen Bury St Edmunds doing comparatively well against other towns, despite the challenges which are affecting high streets up and down the country.

"The improvement district will continue to work to carry this momentum forward because there is no room for complacency as we strive to retain the prosperity of the town.”