Legal challenge to Stratford BID Ballot - The Stratford Observer

Legal challenge to Stratford BID Ballot

Stratford Editorial 4th Apr, 2024   0

A BALLOT which secured the future of Stratford BID for another five years is facing a legal challenge.

Stratford BID, the mouthpiece of the town’s businesses, announced it has had to postpone all the initiatives and projects outlined in its new BID Business plan after a challenge was lodged to the ballot result with the Secretary of State.

A BID spokesperson said: “The BID Board was eager to commence the execution of the exciting initiatives from April 1 following the successful ballot. Plans were in motion, including the recruitment of a new BID Manager and the ongoing tender process for a Food Festival contract for the next five years, with the anticipation of appointing a supplier next week.

“However, the Secretary of State recently notified the BID company of the challenge to the ballot result, triggering a process that is expected to take several months to resolve. As a result, the positive work that was planned to be delivered will be put on hold while the challenge is under consideration by the relevant authorities.

“Despite these unforeseen delays, Stratford BID remains committed to the community and the businesses it serves. The organisation will continue to work diligently behind the scenes to ensure that projects and initiatives are ready to be activated and swiftly implemented once the outcome of the challenge is determined.”

Stratford businesses marginally voted “yes” to the continuance of Stratford BID in a ballot in February.

A ballot of 382 businesses, conducted by Civica election management company, resulted in 54 per cent voting in support of the town’s BID and its new business plan, which sets out the BIDs aims and ambitions for the next five years until 2029.

But the ballot came in for criticism even before it went ahead.

Stratford District Council revealed earlier in February that it had received a letter of concern about how the ballot was being conducted.

SDC ruled the ballot could continue on the basis it did not have the power to halt a ballot once it was underway.

The nature of the concerns and who submitted them was not revealed.

The BID has also suffered criticism of its performance over the past few years and has had to adapt accordingly. In September last year it announced a major restructure of its board after admitting it had not been running as “effectively as was required”.

There were also major changes in leadership to try and make it more representative of local businesses.


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