Merge will help bring efficiencies to Falkirk

The company will look after town centres across the Falkirk district
The company will look after town centres across the Falkirk district
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A shake-up of the way town centres across the district are managed is on the way.

The Falkirk and District Town Centre Management (FDTCM) company and Falkirk’s Business Improvement District (BID) are to join forces to deliver projects more efficiently.

Talks between Falkirk Council and the two bodies have led to agreement on a new structure.

After 22 years of promoting Falkirk and other district centres as attractive areas for commercial, entertainment, tourism and retail opportunities the remit of FDTCM will now be expanded to take on the role of the BID Management Group.

A new company, Falkirk Towns Limited, will be formed and a new board of directors with the key responsibility of promoting BID under the Falkirk Delivers title will be elected.

They will include two council representatives and members of the business community from the BID area.

Falkirk town centre was selected to be one of six Business Improvement District areas when the Scottish Government launched a pilot scheme in 2008.

In its first three years businesses contributed around £178,000 a year to a levy on non-domestic business rates to promote community safety, marketing and management of the centre.

Initiatives have included everything from the hiring of taxi marshalls and street ambassadors to supplying hanging baskets and bins for chewing gum.

Last year 70 per cent of Falkirk’s business community voted in favour of BID continuing for another five years and backed a business plan that could raise over £1 million from the levy during that time.

The council’s policy and resources committee has rubber-stamped the ‘merger’ plan.

Rhona Geisler, director of development services, said: “The popularity of BIDs in the UK has grown with now over 10 established in Scotland and another 14 in the pipeline.

‘‘They are an effective model to help delivery of a trading environment that businesses, their staff, customers and clients can have additional input and control over.

“A key remit of the BID business plan requires that these two management bodies are brought together into one with the primary responsibility of delivering the Falkirk BID but also the town centre management function in the district centres.

‘‘This will make management procedures and delivery of projects more efficient and provide opportunities to extend the BID model to other district centres where appropriate.”

Committee convener Councillor Craig Martin said: “Both organisations have a close working relationship with our town centre management team and have been responsible for bringing positive improvements.”

Falkirk Delivers chairwoman Corrie Cuthbertson said: “Falkirk Delivers is excited about operating in this new and efficient manner.

“We will be continuing to deliver all the projects that visitors to the town centres and districts have enjoyed in the past as well as rolling out some new and different ones, such as the up-and-coming Independents day initiative.

“We will be contacting businesses in the BID area shortly for nominations to the new board.

“We would like to thank Falkirk Council for the great support they have given both FDTCM and the BID in the past and look forward to continuing working with them in the future.”