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Newry City businesses have voted overwhelmingly in favour of turning the city centre into a Business Improvement District (BID).  Not only did stakeholders declare Newry a BID, the result places Newry as one of the top 15 BID ballot outcomes in the UK.  Newry BID is Northern Ireland’s third BID area and Newry tops the poll here in terms of support for a BID.    The result was declared before a crowd of hopeful spectators in local business Finegan & Sons by Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Naomi Bailie. Chairperson Bailie commended the BID Team on their hard work to achieve this result for Newry.

Transforming the city centre into a BID will deliver more than £1.8 million of additional investment over the next five years. In the last decade more than 200 BIDs have been established across the UK and last week, Belfast City declared the Belfast One BID following the Ballymena BID which was declared in March this year.  A period of consultation conducted throughout the City by the Newry BID team made up of local stakeholders led to the development of the Newry BID business plan which sets out a 5 year economic plan for improving the City’s trading environment and raising its profile.   A ballot conducted by the Electoral Reform Services showed that 87% of city centre businesses who voted were in favour of making Newry City a BID area.

The result symbolizes change for Newry City and will allow locally run city centre businesses a greater say in how the City is marketed, maintained and managed.

Sarah Henry Project Manager, of the Newry BID said: “I would like to thank all city centre businesses and stakeholders who actively supported the Newry BID and backed the process leading to such a fantastic, positive result.  We did not expect such a high turnout and this has really given the BID Team the confidence to bring this project forward.  To be ranked as one of the top 15 BID ballot results in the UK is something we should be really proud of.’

‘The Newry BID offers us a new and exciting opportunity and promotes collaboration between public and private sector in an innovative and proactive way.  We want to see Newry City as multi-functional, diverse and social centre.’

Donna McConnell of Newry City Centre Management and the Newry BID Task Group said: “Partnership has always been a key driver in Newry and today’s result is testament to that.  This is a strong vote of confidence from our business community and all stakeholders here and who clearly see the city’s potential for change.”

Orla Jackson from Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade said that ‘The Chamber is delighted that the Newry BID has been supported and endorsed by the local business community and achieved a majority ‘YES’ vote in the BID ballot.  The Newry BID offers local businesses a unique opportunity to have their say and invest in a wide range of programmes, events and activities that will promote Newry City as key location to visit, work and invest in.”

The postal BID Ballot was run for 42 days from 25th September.  Organised by the independent Electoral Reform Services (ERS), the BID ballot papers were sent out to eligible voters in the City Centre BID area.

Detailed figures for the vote were as follows:

Yes by Number: 87%

Yes by Rateable Value: 92%

A majority in terms of votes cast and rateable value is legally required for a BID to be voted in.