A TOWN continues to push forward to become an improvement district for businesses.

At a meeting on Wednesday, councillors agreed that plans to make Colne a Business Improvement District (BID) should press ahead.

This means businesses could raise their own funds to strengthen the town’s economy.

Cllr Mohammed Iqbal,leader of Pendle Council and portfolio holder for economic development, said: “This is a really exciting business-led initiative for Colne.

“The overall aim is to build on the success of Colne and establishing it as a great place to shop, socialise and do business.”

Businesses in the town are expected to go to ballot in June to vote on whether to introduce the scheme.

If it gets the go ahead, the BID will be implemented on October 1.

The proposals have seen businesses have had their say about what they would like a BID for Colne to look like and four overall priorities have been identified.

• Build an effective partnership in Colne between businesses, organisations and local councils

• Take pride in Colne by maintaining a bright, attractive town that customers want to visit and businesses will want to be in

• Market and promote Colne as an attractive hill town, with a distinctive offer of shops, markets and events as well as some of the best entertainment, leisure and recreation

• Protect Colne as a safe and welcoming place to be, where shoppers, visitors and workers can feel relaxed and enjoy themselves during the day and in the evening.

These priorities will now become part of a proposed programme of work.

Once this has been agreed, businesses will have the chance to vote on whether to formally make Colne a Business Improvement District.

Cllr Iqbal, who sits on the steering group which is leading on the BID, added: “It’s proposed that the Colne BID Levy will be set at 1.5 per cent of rateable value, raising approximately £100,000 per year, or £0.5m, over the initial five years of the Colne BID.”

Businesses with a rateable value of £3,000 or under would be exempt from paying any BID levy. This is due to the administration costs of collecting what would be a small sum.

For more information, visit the Colne BID website at www.colnebid.com.