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Joint Chairs Of Weymouth BID Step Down

Steve Newstead

8:37am 28th November 2014

There's been a major shakeup of the leadership of Weymouth BID after its first AGM.

100 business people and members of the public attended the meeting on Tuesday 18th November.

There were angry exchanges between local businesses and directors and as a result the Business Improvements District's two joint chairs have chosen to step down in a move which they say is in the interests of Weymouth and the businesses which the BID represents.

Alison Theobald and Alistair Clarke felt it was better to resign with immediate effect than face a vote of no confidence.

Alison Theobald said: “I passionately believe that Weymouth is a great place to live, work and bring up a family; due to this I joined the board of Directors to help instigate positive change. Over the past 17 years I have worked tirelessly to build both my business and reputation in Weymouth, however, due to recent events at the Weymouth BID AGM I now feel that I cannot continue as Chair. It is with regret that I have made this decision as I truly believe that Weymouth does have a bright future if businesses, local authority and Weymouth BID work together. I wish the BID every success in the future.”

Alistair Clarke said: “It has been a pleasure to be involved in Weymouth BID and work alongside a fantastic and committed board of directors. We have achieved so much over the past year; work that can be built on and will help deliver real benefits for the businesses in Weymouth. I wish Weymouth BID all the very best for the future.

Steve Newstead (pictured) will take up the post of Interim Chair and Tim Williams will stay on as Treasurer.

Weymouth BID started last year after winning a majority vote by local businesses.

It takes a levy from firms in its catchment area and spends money on projects aimed at improving trading in the town.

Weymouth BID says it's aware a number of issues need to be addressed to help improve communication between the board and businesses.

To achieve that they have made the following decisions:

• The Weymouth BID Ltd Board of unpaid directors will continue to support the BID programme as set out in the business plan. Those board members who were not ratified to the Board at the AGM will remain in position in accordance with Company Law as it is felt that their expertise will be invaluable to the success of the Board. A résumé of all Board Directors will be sent out to levy payers.

• There will be regular ‘Surgeries’ for levy payers to attend - the BID Manager will be present with at least two Board directors. Location and dates will be provided as soon as possible.

• Weymouth BID will be considering alternatives to how they publish Board decisions via the

www.weymouthbid.co.uk website. This will improve transparency in the future.

• The Constitution (which is not currently agreed by the members in any form) will become a set of Management Rules. The Weymouth BID company will be governed by the Memorandum Articles of Association which can be found on www.weymouthbid.co.uk. Following feedback at the AGM, levy payers will now be given the opportunity to feedback what they would like included in the management rules.

• The total salaries for the Manager and BID part time staff is £42,719 which includes National Insurance and Tax contributions. This is clearly nowhere near the £90k that has been incorrectly reported. No bonuses or benefits are paid. The position of Manager is an employed position and therefore protected by employment law.

Following other feedback received at the AGM, the following decisions have also been agreed and put into action:

• The Weymouth BID will be offering discounted advertising in the Dorset Echo to all levy payers in December 2014.

• A Suggestions page will be set up on the Weymouth Bid website in order that the levy payers can submit their ideas to the BID for publishing.

• A Suppliers & Services section will also be set up on the website so that local businesses can view what services are required and provide the opportunity to bid for contracts. This could also be expanded to a Business to Business service area.

• The Weymouth BID website www.weymouthbid.co.uk will continue to be the place to find information on the BID and the business plan. Levy payers will soon be able to pick up a printed version of the business plan from the BID office if Internet access is not available.

• A weekly email update will be circulated to all levy payers every Friday, anyone not receiving this communication needs to contact the BID office to provide and clarify the correct email address.

• The visitor focused website www.WeAreWeymouth.co.uk will continue to provide free advertising for levy payers in appropriate business categories. Future targeted marketing campaigns will take place to advertise Weymouth as an out-of-season destination during 2015, together with trade shows for group travel.

• The 2015 Events and Projects programme will be published on www.weymouthbid.co.uk, circulated by email and posted as a newsletter by 31 December 2014; levy payers are encouraged to use this programme as a platform to promote their businesses.

• Springboard Footfall programme is already installed and in the coming years The BID will look to use this information to attract retailers and new business to the town. This information will be available for levy payers.

• The Feast Weymouth dining event was a great success in the first year and this will take place again in October 2015.

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