Coastal business district plans positive for Lincolnshire operators

Coinslot - Lincolnshire
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As coastal business districts aim to improve Bournemouth and Blackpool’s resort offering, Lincolnshire businesses have voted to go the same way, with Butlins Skegness among those hoping for a significant boost on the East coast economy.

 

The Lincolnshire Coastal Destination Business Improvement District (LCDBID) was successfully voted through last month, with the group behind the the project hoping it can deliver a lengthening of the season and increased footfall in the region.

The district will allow businesses to come together and decide which improvements they feel could be made, how they will be implemented, and what it will cost them. It also hopes to secure sustainable funds that are invested in businesses to help them remain competitive.

“I think we’ve seen a lot of investment on the coast over the last two or three years and hopefully there’ll be more confidence to do that ongoing, and to lengthen the season will have a big impact on the arcades I’m sure,” explained Chris Baron, board member on the DBID and resort director at Butlins Skegness.

He added that in preparation for the DBID, the group looked at other districts such as Bournemouth and Blackpool and spoke with those involved with Greater Yarmouth’s district. Funding will come from businesses contributing 1.5 percent of their rateable value if it is above £5,000, and they hope an extra £500,000 can be raised through other means.

“One of the key aims of the bid will be looking at special events that we can put in place to make sure we can try and get more all year round employment,” Baron said. “As part of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP [Local Enterprise Partnership] we have a declared aim of doubling the value of tourism over ten years, a big driver for that for Greater Lincolnshire will be the coastal strip.”

The improvement district was voted through by a substantial margin – 202 out of 269 businesses voting for it – and received support from the East Lincolnshire District Council, who assisted with the bid by covering the costs of the company used to make the bid and the cost of the vote.

While Baron admits it will not have a huge impact on Butlins he hopes it can help out the other smaller businesses.

“I think if they all appreciate that by having the same percentage but of a far bigger pie is extremely good for them and it is all about everybody working together to maximise advantages,” he continued. “We would like to see far more businesses open 52 weeks a year because it is important that we have good employment opportunities for the younger people. The last thing we want to do is see talented people leaving the area to get jobs elsewhere. We need them to keep the town vibrant.”

Should the DBID get the £3m they are looking for from the plan, the funds will be divided between events, business support and networking, environmental enhancement and access schemes, and marketing and promotion.

The main effects of the district will not be felt until 2018 due to the process of sending out invoicing for the funds.


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