Boss of the Greater Yarmouth tourism BID to face angry opponents at meeting
PUBLISHED: 09:30 19 December 2014
Archant Norfolk © 2014
Anger over a contentious tourism tax is threatening to boil over as the campaign calling for a fresh vote picks up pace.
On Sunday more than 100 business owners are expected to pack into the Indoor Market on Regent Road to rally against the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area’s BID levy which they say is unfair.
They claim they never received paperwork on the Business Improvement District (BID) and never had the chance to vote it in.
David Marsh, chairman of the GYTBIA, said he will attend the meeting with proof that ballot papers were posted out across the borough, giving every eligable company the chance to get involved.
About 1,200 borough businesses, from seafront attractions to hairdressers and garages, must pay the levy, which is based on rateable value.
GYTBIA says the £525,000 raised will benefit everyone, increasing local employment and local spend.
Most of those speaking out against the BID levy claim they knew nothing about until the bill arrived through the door.
“I am not against the BID in principle,” said Martyn Share, who has traded on Regent Road for 45 years.
“The idea of tourism driven business investing in their own future is both sensible and forward thinking.
“However, the levy has been made mandatory, been very badly communicated and been applied to a wide swathe of businesses, many of which have a somewhat tenuous link to tourism.
“Greater Yarmouth has struggled with the effects of the recession. The last thing local traders need is another ‘tax’ they cannot afford that they are unlikely to benefit from and that they weren’t given the opportunity to vote against.
“For some the annual levy is greater than a week’s takings, which can hardly be fair.”
The BID was rubberstamped after a vote in May, after four years of discussion and taking shape.
The voting turn out was less than 50 per cent, but more than 80 per cent of those who did get involved supported the scheme.
See more in today’s Great Yarmouth Mercury.