An initiative that could have pumped at least £500,000 into the local economy has been rejected by business owners in Ballyclare.
Traders in the town voted on whether to back the proposals drawn up by the Business Improvement District (BID) team.
Detailing the project ahead of the vote, a Ballyclare BID spokesperson said: “Business Improvement Districts are funded and controlled directly by the businesses that pay for them. As a business, you choose which projects the BID fund is spent on.
“In order to remain competitive, Ballyclare needs to stand out. By obtaining Business Improvement District status, we can all work together to invest in our local area, which will enhance our trading environment. Making a real difference by attracting more shoppers and visitors and, in the long term, attracting more businesses to invest in Ballyclare.
“Regardless of how you vote, if the BID vote is successful, your business will be legally obliged to pay the levy, so it is vitally important that you use your vote wisely.”
The postal ballot was open from January 17 to February 28 and the results were announced by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council today.
A total of 187 votes were cast with only 59 voting in support of the BID plans.
A spokesperson for Antrim and Newtownabbey Council said: “In a postal ballot proposing the introduction of a Ballyclare Business Improvement District the majority of business ratepayers in the proposed BID area who voted, voted against the proposal by aggregate rateable value and numbers voting.
“The total number of votes cast in favour of the establishment of the Ballyclare BID was 59 and the number that voted against the establishment of the Ballyclare BID was 127. There was one invalid vote. The total number of votes cast in the ballot was 187.”
The council spokesperson added: “To establish a BID a majority both in votes cast and in rateable value of votes cast was required. As such a BID cannot be introduced in Ballyclare as a result of this ballot.
“The council recognises the efforts of the BID Task Group members and shares their sentiments that a BID must be supported by the business community if it is to succeed and whilst this ballot means that a BID will not be introduced, the council hopes that the excellent work undertaken and the momentum which has developed can be harnessed for the betterment of Ballyclare town.”