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The Lichfield Business Improvement District will end after five years of operation.

The directors of the group have said that the uncertainties surrounding coronavirus had led to the decision.

Lichfield BID logo

The business improvement district (BID) began in 2015 with plans to generate £1million to invest in projects to drive trade by getting city centre companies to hand over 1.5% of their annual rateable value.

But chairman Paul Maddox said the current climate meant the five-year project would not be extended once it ends in September.

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“COVID-19 is causing levels of disruption to Lichfield not seen in generations.

“Lichfield BID has been operating for nearly five years providing direct support to businesses and it has been successful in generating additional footfall, investment and a sense of community to serve the local population and visitors to the area.

“Many of our businesses do not know if they are going to survive over the coming weeks and months, or if they do at what cost, with the very real threat of staff redundancies.

“Understandably paying their BID levy and supporting a second five year term is not at the top of their list of priorities.

“With this in mind, my fellow BID directors and I have decided that we will lapse Lichfield BID at the end of its current five-year term, which would be at the end of September 2020.

“This has been a difficult decision to make, but it has been done with the best interests of the businesses in Lichfield in mind.”

Paul Maddox

Although the scheme will come to an end, Mr Maddox said the organisation would continue as a “non-trading entity” with a view to seeking a ballot for a further BID once the economic situation is clearer.

“We explored a number of options, including holding our ballot within our current term and extending our BID by six months, as allowed by the COVID-19 legislation.

“However, the possibility of a successful vote is compromised by the current situation and extending the BID would mean we would be legally obliged to send out an enforceable bill to cover the extension period, which would be found to be untenable by Lichfield businesses.”

Paul Maddox

“A huge disappointment”

Mr Maddox said discussions would be taking place on finding ways to hand over some ongoing projects to other groups.

“I realise there maybe some concerns over some of the vital services provided by the BID, such as the digital radio and management system.

“We will be working with a range of local agencies to try to manage a hand-over and change of ownership to ensure continuity.

“I realise that this will be a huge disappointment bearing in mind the hard work, effort and support businesses have given the BID but I think you will agree it is the most sensible thing to do given our current circumstances.”

Paul Maddox

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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