Councillors are expected to back plans to levy firms in two north-east towns to create special business zones when they meet later this week.

The business communities in Peterhead and Inverurie supported Aberdeenshire Council’s plans to create the Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) earlier this year.

Now the local authority is offering to help organise the project in both towns.

The idea is that local shops and firms pay an extra levy on top of their business rates. The money is then spent on initiatives to improve the shopping areas and encourage more customers back into the town centre.

In a report to the infrastructure committee the council’s strategic town centre executive Audrey Michie says: “An Aberdeenshire Towns Conference was held in Peterhead in March 2015, the theme being town centre collaboration. Speakers at this event included representatives from BID Scotland, Elgin & Clarkston BIDs along with talks aimed at the smaller towns from Gordon Bell, from the Retailer.

“Businesses representing all six areas of Aberdeenshire were present, however Peterhead and Inverurie showed the most interest in developing a BID on that day.”

If councillors agree to offer staffing support to the business communities to help organise the projects, the next step is a 14 month consultation to gather ideas for improvements to both towns.

A final business plan will then be drawn up, and around £65,000 will be levied from businesses in both towns.

Source: Aberdeen Press and Journal

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