Happy New Year and welcome to the Otley BID January 2017 Update, which keeps you up to date with business information and BID projects that are currently underway.
Did you know that new Business Rates come into effect on 1st April 2017? We have been liaising with Leeds City Council and we can confirm that within the BID area there will be no change for about a third of businesses, a third will be reduced and a third will be increased.
The Valuation Office Agency hold the information on how the rateable value of a property has been calculated. Should you believe this to be incorrect you can contact them direct to discuss your individual circumstances. The VOA website link is https://www.gov.uk/correct-your-business-rates. ¨
Under central Government’s new calculations a few businesses seem to be hit harder than others and so Otley BID and Otley Chamber of Trade will certainly add words of support for any such businesses contacting the Valuation Office Agency to challenge their new rateable value.
From 1st April 2017 there are major changes to the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme. Currently ratepayers with a single property where the rateable value is £6,000 or less receive 100% relief, whilst those between £6,001 and £11,999 receive relief on a reducing taper. However, under the new scheme eligible properties with rateable values of up to £12,000 will receive 100% relief, whilst those between £12,001 and £14,999 will be entitled to some relief.
The relief from April 2017 will automatically be awarded to those already in receipt in 2016/17. The Council has recently written to those who may newly qualify inviting them to apply – if you require any further information regarding Small Business Rate Relief please contact them on 0113 376 0359.
January Footfall Figures
January footfall and sales figures will show if the town as a whole should look to boost sales during this traditionally quiet month, by developing an annual January promotion to draw extra shoppers into Otley to visit the Sales. The idea is being trialled this year with our Big Otley Sale posters and feedback on this initiative would be most welcome.
Otley BID’s 2017 Priorities
The BID’s priorities for 2017 are being presented at the January Board Meeting and further details will feature in next month’s Economic Bulletin.
As we enter our 4th year our relationships continue to grow and meetings are being arranged with LCC Markets, Highways and Asset Management departments to drive projects forward which will further enhance our town.
Following discussions and agreement with the Royal British Legion and Leeds City Council, we are delighted to announce that the BID is funding the replanting of our Memorial Garden and initial work is well underway. This adds to the recent upgrade of the benches in the garden that were completed prior to the Armistice Day Remembrance Service in November 2016. Leeds City Council oversees the maintenance of the garden but, as they do not own the garden, they cannot pay for major improvements. We believe this is an important area of the town and that it should be maintained to a high standard to honour our war heroes and provide a pleasant outdoor feature which can be enjoyed by everyone.
Yorkshire Arts Funding
On behalf of the BID, Rachel Savage is developing a Yorkshire Arts funding application to set up activities to draw increasing numbers of parents and toddlers to the Market Place on Wednesdays. This initiative was trialled last Summer with great success. The Market Place is a vital asset to the town, so it would be fantastic to see it thriving and put to an increasing number of attractive uses on days when it is not normally in use.
Otley Tourism Strategy
As we announced in last month’s edition we are working in partnership with Otley Town Council, Otley Town Partnership and Otley Chamber of Trade to produce a Tourism Strategy for the town. Joint funding has now been agreed and more information will follow in up and coming Bulletins.