BUSINESSES in Queensferry have given their backing to proposals which will make the town Scotland’s latest Business Improvement District (BID).
The Queensferry BID, which will now be able to source grant funding of up to £½ million over the next five years, is committed to improving the town by attracting new investment and taking the lead on local issues.
Proposed projects include a strong marketing campaign for the town and local businesses, which will include a VisitQueensferry website and a mobile app for visitors to the town.
There will also be a business directory, the introduction of a ‘‘keep business local’’ campaign and support for business development.
The BID will look to facilitate a vibrant local business network and promote community engagement.
BID will also work to make it as easy as possible for people to access the town with clearer street signs and more parking. The aim is to encourage visitors to stay longer, spend more money and revisit.
Roddy Forfar, chairman of the BID steering group which has been at the forefront of the campaign said: “I am thrilled at the result. Without the BID there would have been no driving force and lobbying voice supporting the future of Queensferry. The result shows local businesses realise doing nothing is not an option.
“Thanks goes to Diane Brown, our BID project manager, who first introduced us to the concept and her hard work and tenacity in achieving this on our collective behalf.
‘‘The hard work now begins in setting up a new BID company and shaping the delivery of the business plan. We now have five years to make a major difference to businesses in Queensferry.”
A total of 63 per cent of eligible businesses voted with 73.7 per cent voting in favour - a resounding mandate for the BID. The figures equate to 90 yes votes, 32 opposed and five spoilt papers.
Ian Davison Porter, project director for Business Improvement Districts Scotland, said: “This is great news for Queensferry and its businesses now have a real opportunity to make a difference to their business operating environment in these challenging times. The Queensferry BID now has to deliver on its business plan.”
The Queensferry BID is the twelfth BID in Scotland and they now join towns such as Bathgate, Alloa, Falkirk and Dunfermline, which have all seen major re-investment in their areas.
Queensferry resident and Almond ward councillor Norman Work said of the BID decision: “The yes vote is great news for Queensferry and its environs.
‘‘It really illustrates the commitment of local businesses to the town centre and empowers this key group of stakeholders to shape and influence the development of the town.
‘‘The BID gives Queensferry a green light to embark on an extremely exciting phase in its development.
‘‘We are looking forward to working with the Queensferry BID and its creative and innovative business community, to deliver the proposed projects and create a Queensferry which is a great place to live, work, visit and invest.”
Derek Mackay, Scottish Government minister for local government and planning added: “The decision to form a Business Improvement District in Queensferry has the potential to boost the local economy in these challenging times. I look forward to seeing the Queensferry BID progress.’’