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'Bigger than Brexit' - result of tourism BID ballot revealed

PUBLISHED: 09:47 07 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:23 07 August 2019

Busy Regent Road in Great Yarmouth as people enjoy the summer in the town. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Busy Regent Road in Great Yarmouth as people enjoy the summer in the town. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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An organisation that has delivered fireworks, festivals, hanging baskets, and beach cleans has been given a second term.

The new Regent Road shops in Great Yarmouth, which have replaced those destroyed by the fire. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe new Regent Road shops in Great Yarmouth, which have replaced those destroyed by the fire. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

It means fewer businesses will be paying more under the terms of the new agreement - set to pump £2m into the tourism economy.

The Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area (GYTABIA) was launched in 2014, almost immediately running into trouble.

More recently it faced a backlash over the Great Yarmouth Air Show which, according to leaked accounts, made a loss of £582,000.

The result of the vote was revealed on Tuesday, August 6.

Figures show 53pc of the 262 who voted were in favour of continuing with the BID - compared to 85pc apparently voting to create England's third BID resort five years ago.

Summer in Great Yarmouth on the seafront. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSummer in Great Yarmouth on the seafront. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Although the rateable value of those voting 'yes' was worth close to £9m, more than 70pc of the total.

The one-month ballot period started on Monday, July 8, and finished on Monday, August 5.

Some 671 had the chance to have their say.

In order to succeed more than 50pc of the total votes cast needed to be in favour of the proposal, and the rateable value of those who voted in favour needed to total more than 50pc of the rateable value of all those who voted.

Summer in Great Yarmouth on the seafront. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSummer in Great Yarmouth on the seafront. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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BID chairman Gareth Brown said: "In the backing of the BID we are delighted that the people of Great Yarmouth have seen the value in the BID for the last five years and understand that without the levy things like the Maritime Festival, events, and other things like hanging baskets and signage just would not happen.

"The benefits of businesses pulling together to promote the Greater Yarmouth area are critically important."

Of the 53pc 'yes' vote he said it was "bigger than Brexit" pointing to the 70pc rateable value share it equated to.

He said it was too early to talk about specific projects but that the overall aim was for "more people to come more often and stay for longer."

It is thought bills will start landing on doorsteps from September.

He added it was more of a new bid than a renewal with half the number of businesses eligible to pay the levy, than first time around because of changes to the criteria.

Carl Smith, council leader, said: "Great Yarmouth is Norfolk's top coastal resort, with a growing visitor economy now worth £625m annually and supporting an estimated 12,000 jobs locally.

"The borough council is committed to supporting tourism and we welcome the result of this ballot.

"The council is committed to continuing to work in close partnership with the Tourism BID to support the visitor economy.

"There is much to look forward to in 2019 and beyond."

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