We need answers on how Carluke BID row started

Carluke - High Street
Carluke - High Street

A Carluke businessman is calling for answers to serious questions he feels the current ructions surrounding the town’s BID scheme have raised.

Last month the very future of the Business Improvement District scheme was thrown into doubt when its chairman Martin Hannah and manager Jim McNally suddenly resigned, citing undue interference of South Lanarkshire Council in their running of the scheme designed to improve the town centre with projects financed by a general levy.

The former chairman claimed in a statement that the council, which collected the levy on its behalf, had been slow to pass on to BID monies from the £60,256 raised so far from the levy, and accused the council of undue interference by insisting on sending one of its officials to Carluke BID board meetings. Mr Hannah was also critical of some non-commercial premises in town, including a church, which had objected to paying the levy.

Now Carluke businessman Eric Warren has stated that there are questions to be asked about the problems surrounding the scheme,

He said: “Surely the people of Carluke- and especially those chosen by the BID organisers to pay their levy - are entitled to know why SLC decided to withhold most of the monies collected? Does SLC believe the process by which the BID was established was flawed? This would explain why they felt it appropriate to have one of their officers present at a BID board meeting. This does not seem unreasonable, since SLC have certain statutory obligations in relation to the BID scheme.

“Why were the BID board so upset by the presence of the SLC officer? Will the board make the minutes of the meetings available to the people of Carluke?

“Mr Hannah criticised one of the Carluke churches for “arguing with having to cough up the £10 a week subscription to the central BID fund to improve the town. Perhaps the members of that church would have been in a better position to understand why they should happily raise £2,600 for this project over the next five years if the board had explained to them why any church should pay the levy,”