Blackpool’s Business Improvement District (BID) has successfully defended a legal claim brought by a town centre business challenging the levy raised by the organisation.
Blackpool BID works in partnership with local businesses, organisations, and the local authority to deliver initiatives to improve the town centre trading environment and increase shopper footfall.
It runs a number of town centre services, such as the Pubwatch and Shopwatch schemes, as well providing town centre wardens and environmental services.
The work of the BID is funded by a levy on businesses within the town centre zone and sees businesses pay one per cent of the ratable value of their business premises.
Litigation was brought against Blackpool BID challenging the legitimate statutory basis upon which BID raises the levy.
Harrison Drury was instructed by Blackpool BID to represent it in proceedings and successfully argued that the case be discontinued following correspondence with the claimant’s legal representatives.
Eileen Ormand, Blackpool town centre and BID manager, said: “Our aim is to make the town centre cleaner, safer and more vibrant and inviting for visitors. The levy is vital to our work which benefits all town centre traders. We will continue to act in the best interests of town centre businesses helping to deliver initiatives that improve business.”
David Edwards, associate solicitor at Harrison Drury, said: “This claim was spurious and vexatious in that it was bound to fail. Our robust defence has secured a discontinuance of the proceedings in their entirety by the claimant, with undertakings secured against future litigation by that claimant.
“We felt it was important to set a precedent for our client as to how it is prepared to deal with and respond to such litigation to enable it to focus properly on its commercial aims.”
The levied businesses participated in a renewal ballot in October 2010, in which the Blackpool BID secured a further five year term.
BIDs are a government initiative. They represent a defined geographical area in which local businesses and other partners agree to contribute additional funding, controlled by the BID, to make specific improvements over and above the existing statutory services provided by the local authority and police.
They do not replace or subsidise existing services, but seek to enhance them significantly in response to priorities identified by local business.