ERYC calls “Time!” on YCBID
- – an “In My View” article by NIGEL WARD, reporting on a significant development at East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
At a meeting of Full Council of East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) in Beverley today (22nd June 2022), the following motion was successfully CARRIED, following a brief presentation by the Proposer, Opposition leader Councillor David NOLAN [Lib/Dem] (pictured above, left) and an incisive summary (including pointed reference to VAT irregularites) by Seconder, Councillor Andy WALKER [Y.P.] (pictured above, right). (The shadowy figure in the background is Mr Clive ROWE-EVANS, Chair of Yorkshire Coast BID Ltd.). YCBID apparently chose not to make representations against the motion and no opposition to the motion was expressed by members.
To move: Councillor Nolan:-
In light of the extraordinary, unforeseeable and unpredicted hardships to businesses throughout the pandemic and these early days of its aftermath, will this Council, in consideration of the many unprecedented challenges facing BID Levy-payers, now additionally burdened by repayments under the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), now examine and debate the past and present performance of the Yorkshire Coast BID, its future operation and fitness for purpose.
Additionally, following recent professional and VAT expert advice to businesses in the Scarborough Borough Council area, this Council resolves to:
1. Review all financial procedures in order to ensure that this Council has followed the correct and legal billing and invoicing procedures.
2. Resolve to abstain from voting on the establishment or maintenance of further ‘Business Improvement Districts’ in order that the outcome truly is the will of businesses.
To second: Councillor Walker
This does not signify the end of the BID, nor even the end of the beginning of the BID. However, it is fair to speculate that it does signify the beginning of the end of the BID, which will be unwelcome news to Mr Mo ASWAT, whose company Mosaic Partnership introduced the Business Improvement District proposition to the Yorkshire coast.
It should be remembered that Yorkshire Coast BID Ltd was incorporated only after narrowly securing a majority ‘Yes’ vote in a ballot in which both SBC and ERYC cast ‘Yes’ votes on behalf of dozens of hereditaments (properties) in the public ownership (including car-parks, toilets, etc), without which the BID would never have come into existence.
Clearly, that ballot did not represent “the will of businesses” and it is difficult to imagine businesses voting in favour, in the future, of that which they never wanted in the first and which has done nothing to endear itself to them ever since. Sensibly, ERYC Councillors have moved to prevent any similarly biased ballot in the future. “Time, gentlemen, please!”.
It is to be hoped that Scarborough Borough Councillors will inform themselves sufficiently to deal as effectively with a very similar motion due to be set before them at an Extraordinary Meeting of SBC (dated to be announced in the coming days).
Members of both Councils have expressed to me their horror at the offensively undemocratic strapline featured on the Mosaic Partnership website – hastily removed shortly after publication here on the Enquirer:
“We assist Councils to force BIDS (Business Improvement Districts) into towns in order to
raise more revenue out of businesses.“
Clearly, Mr ASWAT espouses a banana republic view of democracy which will not sit comfortably with Scarborough Borough Councillors.