Worksop pub landlord blasts the BID – saying it does ‘nothing’ for the town

A Worksop pub landlord who hung a banner calling for North Notts Business Improvement District (BID) to be banned says it ‘does nothing for the town’.

Friday, 5th June 2020, 11:28 am
Updated Monday, 8th June 2020, 12:11 pm

Wes Chesters placed a huge sign outside Rewind pub which read ‘Ban the bid - I would rather pay the money for policing than hanging baskets’.

He removed the statement after receiving a letter from Bassetlaw District Council warning him the sign was unauthorised and he could be fined up to £2,500.

Father-of-one Wes, who owns Rewind club in the town centre, says he hung the large message outside the premises because the BID ‘does nothing for the town’.

Sally Gillborn, North Notts BID chief executive
Sally Gillborn, North Notts BID chief executive

He is one of a number of businesses in Worksop who claim the BID under-represents the town while promoting nearby Retford to its detriment.

BIDs - who charge a levy based on one percent of traders business rates over a year - are designed to develop projects to improve businesses.

However Wes, who pays £170 a year, said many businesses felt all they had to show for their membership fee was ‘a few hanging baskets’.

He said: “We’re all really fed-up - a few hanging baskets is not doing anything to help this town.

The sign hanging outside Wes Chester's Rewind pub

“This place is a lawless drug town - with syringes and homeless people everywhere.

“I would rather pay my levy directly to the police and get better policing - at least it would be going on something useful.”

Wes, who has run pubs in Worksop town centre for 24 years, said many in the town felt there was a bias at North Notts BID towards Retford.

He said: “Last August bank holiday they held Party in the Square in Retford and that completely buried Worksop - where’s our party in the square?”

Roger Stocks Worksop Independence's Roger Stocks

Wes also says the BID is unrepresentative of many businesses - with only some 300 out of 1,200 across the area voting the organisation in three years ago.

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Roger Stocks, founder of Facebook group Worksop Independence, said he did not know ‘a single person who voted for the BID’.

He added: “There is so much bad feeling about this - there seems to be a lack of transparency about how the BID are spending the money.

“One per cent doesn’t seem like a lot but we seem to have nothing to show for this money.”

Social care manager Roger described how people logging on to free wifi provided by the BID for the town centre were ‘bombarded’ by advertisements for Retford businesses.

He also claims the BID’s board of directors is made-up mainly of people with links to Retford.

However Sally Gillborn, chief executive at North Notts BID, said since North Notts BID launched in 2017 – following an 85 per cent ballot win – it had funded Worksop’s food festival, new lights for the town’s Christmas switch-on and supported popular town centre events such as the beach.

She said: “In addition to events that bring new people to Worksop, the BID set up the North Notts Business Crime Partnership - working closely with the local police and council to protect businesses in Worksop and across North Nottinghamshire from acts of anti-social behaviour.

“We also installed additional CCTV cameras with automatic number plate recognition in the Dukeries Industrial Estate and provided support to Pubwatch and Shopwatch members in Worksop by issuing free radios to encourage communication between businesses to help in the fight against crime.

“We also offer our BID members in Worksop access to free workshops and training as well as a free maintenance support service to help with small repairs, decorating, gardening and other odd jobs.”

Sally described how the BID’s North Notts Savings Service was available to Worksop members and in many cases recouped the cost of the levy.

She said: “Some of the most crucial work was the support we were able to offer during the 2019 floods – we offered local businesses support through our maintenance service

and worked closely with the emergency services, particularly in Worksop which was unfortunately hit the hardest.

“Recently the team has partnered with Wilko to provide treats to the families of Worksop’s key workers and provided essential items for BCVS Worksop to deliver to the elderly and vulnerable, as well as supplying items for animal shelters including Carlton Forest Boarding Kennels.

“We pride ourselves on using the BID levy to fund important initiatives that bring real, tangible benefits to Worksop and the three other towns that we serve.

“While we appreciate that there is a minority who would prefer not to pay the levy we are proud of the positive impact and support we provide to many businesses in Worksop and

beyond.”

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