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New term for Rediscover Peterhead Business Improvement District assessed by area committee

The continuation of the Rediscover Peterhead Business Improvement District (BID) has been assessed by councilors in Buchan.

The BID is coming to the end of its inaugural five-year term after it started operating in 2017.

Formed as Rediscover Peterhead, it must now undertake a renewal ballot if it wishes to continue for a further five-year period.

At its meeting on January 13 the IDB board agreed to progress the re-election process.

It is business-led where a levy is charged to all commercial buildings that fall within the defined area of ​​the district if a Yes ballot is successful.

This levy will allow projects and services to be undertaken above those that Aberdeenshire Council, Police Scotland, Visit Aberdeenshire and Bear Scotland offer.

The Rediscover Peterhead Business Improvement District must now undertake a renewal ballot if it wishes to continue for a further five-year period.

During its meeting on Tuesday the Buchan area committee was consulted about the board’s decision to progress the re-election process.

In the report that went before councillors it said: “Following consultation with the businesses a BID proposal and business plan will be drawn up which will be the BID companies next five-year plan for the delivery of these additional projects and services.

“All properties liable for the levy will have the opportunity to review this document and feedback within the consultation period before the final business plan is produced.

“Once all businesses have been consulted, the board will also agree the defined BID area and the levy charges.

“The total core pot of levy collection for the ‘Rediscover Peterhead’ BID will be determined once the levy charges have been set and projects costed.

“Written into the BID proposal will be the intention to match this pound for pound by external monies, aiming to match fund each project within the business plan.

“The BID manager will seek to increase the monies through the collection of voluntary contributions from businesses out with the defined BID area.”

Although the BID is business led, a legal partnership has been in operation between the local authority and Rediscover Peterhead.

Scottish Government legislation and regulations enable the development of BIDs in Scotland. These stipulate stages in which the steering group advise the Scottish Government and Aberdeenshire Council of certain notifications.

The proposed ballot date for the Rediscover Peterhead election is September 29.

The report added: “One hundred and fifty-four days before ballot, the steering group will send a letter to the chief executive, as returning officer, notifying Aberdeenshire Council that a BID was being developed and asking for permission to go to ballot.

“Ninety-eight days before ballot, the group will submit the BID proposal and business plan to Scottish Government ministers and Aberdeenshire Council. If accepted and an agreement reached, a 56-day letter will be submitted instructing Aberdeenshire Council to put the BID proposals to ballot on the proposed ballot date.

“Ballot papers will be issued 42 days before the ballot date. For the ballot to be successful there must be a minimum 25 per cent turnout (by number and rateable value).

“Over 50 per cent of businesses by number and 50 per cent by combined rateable value must vote in favor of the BID.”

The report detailed the achievements of Rediscover Peterhead over the past five years.

These included the Peterhead Seafood Festival; Peterhead Producer’s Market; the Invest in Peterhead scheme and the installation of CCTV in the town centre.

It has also formed various town trails with different themes; supported a number of projects during the Christmas period; Carried out gull egg and nest removal and street cleans and assisted the community through the Covid-19 pandemic with a number of initiatives.

Councilor Stephen Smith was supportive of the IDB and the work that had been done.

He told the meeting: “Ultimately it will be for the IDB stakeholders to decide if they want to take this forward.

“But based on what I’ve seen over the last few years the IDB has been a very positive thing for Peterhead in terms of what it has achieved and also acting as a voice for businesses and traders in the town.

“It has also put forward a positive view of the town and encouraged new investment.

“I would certainly support it going forward if that is ultimately what the stakeholders decide to do.

“I would also take the opportunity to commend those involved throughout the IDB period for their work to date and in terms of what they have managed to achieve.”

Councilor Stephen Calder outlined he had issue with the IDB and would struggle to back it going forward.

He said: “What I hear from residents and from local shopkeepers and business owners is no positive responses to hope for achievements whether it be the council or the BID over the last five years.

“Many of them gave them a chance, and I did as well. I think there must be a fresh approach and a determination to make the regeneration and revitalization of the town center area succeed.

“But to make it succeed we’ve got to do things differently. Doing things the same as we’ve done for the last five years won’t work. Making the same mistakes won’t get a different result.

“In the present form I can’t support the continuation of Rediscover Peterhead. More of the same for another five years won’t achieve any better results in regeneration than the last five years.”

The comments from the area committee will now go forward to the council’s infrastructure services committee which will assess the continuation of the BID at its meeting on Thursday, March 10.

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