Dartmouth BID’s U-turn on rates levy shock
BUSINESSES will, after all, be facing a higher than expected levy demand from the Dartmouth Business Improvement District. The town’s BID team had said that new bills would be drawn up after incorrect invoices were sent out. But now in what many see as an astonishing U-turn, the BID says the original figures must stand and there will be no money-off, as was promised. In a statement issued this week, the BID said it had come to the decision after taking legal advice. BID director Francesca Johnson said that in order for the BID to deliver its promise of a firm business plan costing around £170,000 each year, it had to charge the higher rate levy. It is understood the BID could face the risk of a legal challenge if it fails to meet this commitment. But Colin Payne, of the Norton Park action group, believes legal battles may be pending anyway. ‘The original lowest levy, for less than £10,000 rateable value, as set out in the Dartmouth BID Business Plan 2014-2019 brochure, was stated as £100 per annum,’ he said. ‘Those of us in that lower band have received invoices for £150 from South Hams Council on or about June 20, 2014. ‘All those who voted in the ballot and who have premises within this band had given their consent to the BID on the basis of £100 per annum levy, known at the time they voted, and they are perfectly within their rights to only pay the £100.