£200,000 on offer from biscuit boss if Lanark businesses vote to become a BID

Will the Braveheart spirit return to Lanark as a BID? Local re-enactor Andrew Birrell in the new Wallace Close.
Will the Braveheart spirit return to Lanark as a BID? Local re-enactor Andrew Birrell in the new Wallace Close.

A gift of £200,000 is being offered to Lanark to kick-start the Royal Burgh’s economic re-birth.

However, there is a condition that comes with the colossal gesture by John Cunningham, boss of the town’s Border Biscuit company.

Before the cash is handed over, businesses in Lanark will have to make the bravehearted decision to vote to become a Business Development District (BID), the scheme under which all firms, shops, offices, etc. in a town all pay a levy into a central fund which is then used for improvements to the area, leading to increased prosperity.

A full business plan for a Lanark BID is almost ready for publication and consideration by all the town’s retail and commercial concerns.

It is planned to hold a public meeting to ‘launch’ the BID proposal and voting either for or against its introduction is expected to begin in December; a result is expected to be announced in February next year.

If that vote goes the way of the BID team assembled by Lanark Community Development Trust, then Mr Cunningham has committed to a £40,000-per-year injection of funds into Lanark BID for its first five years.

After that first five years, businesses will be able to vote again, this time whether or not to continue with the scheme.

Heading up the BID team is the current Lord Cornet Gary Winning and he told the Gazette this week that Mr Cunningham’s donation “reflects his long-time commitment to the Royal Burgh” and added that some schemes for using the cash were already at the planning stage, ready to become a reality if Lanark BID wins the ballot.