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Friday, 25 July 2014

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Business support group is wound up in Keswick

A group which spent six years working to boost business in Keswick has been scrapped.

Keswick Business Improvement District was launched in 2006 as a partnership between business and local government.

All eligible businesses paid a levy on top of their business rates and that money was spent on projects to increase trade.

Its work included the creation of a new car park at Fitz Park, support for events like the jazz festival and the production of shopping guides.

The initial five-year term ended in March last year and a ballot of traders then revealed that, while most traders who voted wanted it to continue, a second poll based on the rateable values of businesses was lost.

Some of the original committee stayed in place and worked towards building up a fresh proposal to put to a new vote last month.

This time, the vote based on rateable value was won, with 60 per cent support, but overall 55 per cent of businesses were against relaunching the scheme.

In total 271 businesses voted out of the 547 polled.

The group is now being wound up and its remaining funds – a few hundred pounds – will be passed to another organisation in the town to be used for the benefit of businesses.

Chairman Paul Titley said he felt the town had missed a huge opportunity.

He urged businesses to join Keswick Tourism Association – the only organisation in the town now working to develop business – to ensure their voices were heard.

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