Advancing Aberystwyth Facts
Here you will find the true facts and answers to some comments and misconceptions regarding Advancing Aberystwyth and our work.
Are Advancing Aberystwyth accountable to anyone?
Advancing Aberystwyth are a private not-for-profit organisation set up to run the BID. We are run by a Board of Directors who represent businesses and various partners including, Town Council, County Council, University and Menter Aberystwyth. All BIDs across the UK are governed by strict legislation. The legislation we are governed by are the ‘The Business Improvement Districts (Wales) Regulations 2005’ – which can be found here.
"Not every business will receive a ballot paper"
This claim is totally false. Every eligible voter, will receive a ballot paper. As the BID company, Advancing Aberystwyth have NO involvement whatsoever with the running of the ballot. It is being run by an external company – CIVICA (formerly known as the Electoral Reforms Services), who are legally bound to run a fair ballot. They will receive details of all eligible voters from the Council Rates department and they will then send out voting papers to everyone. Advancing Aberystwyth also gave businesses the chance to provide an alternative address (due to lockdown). This information will be passed to the council and then CIVICA. If businesses did not provde an alternative address, the papers will autmomatically go to the address that council holds for those businesses.
Are Advancing Aberystwyth using an external consultant to deliver our renewal ballot work?
Mill Street Fund
What is the Mill Street Fund?
The Mill Street Fund is a £250,000 gift from the Mill Street Developers to the town. The money is being held by Ceredigion County Council, and we can apply for the funding on specific projects that have a long lasting legacy on the town.
Did the money need to be spent in our first term?
No it did not. We had hoped to have made more progress in developing the major projects, however COVID-19 meant those plans were put on hold in 2020. As a result, the money is still available for us to apply for in our 2nd BID term (if successful). Meaning we will still be in a position to deliver these major projects.
What is the money being spent on?
We want to use the money to develop major projects that have a big impact on the town. Part of it was used to fund the Ice Rink in 2018. The remainder will be used as match funding to develop other major projects.
Did Advancing Aberystwyth use levy money to pay a contractor to clean streets in July 2020?
Have Advancing Aberystwyth taken over any council services?
Do Aberystwyth University receive an 80% discount on their levy payments?
Are levy payments capped for large businesses?
Did you collect the levy during COVID-19 pandemic?
No we did not collect the full levy. Along with other BIDs in Wales, we lobbied the Welsh Government to suspend the levy charges to businsses during 2020/21. Unfortunately, they were not prepared to do so. However, in order to support small businsses, our board decided not to collect the levy from businesses with a rateable value of £51k and under.
What did you do to help businesses?
As well as not charging the levy to small businsses, we also provided the following support:
- Set up a new web area promoting new services and opening times of businesses during ‘lockdown’
- Offered FREE e-learning courses in partership with Coleg Ceredigion whilst businesses and staff were on furlough leave
- Provided FREE Re-opening Protection Kits for businesses
- Offered FREE COVID-19 training
- Provided FREE outdoor furniture to help hospitality businesses
- Secured a grant to provide new outdoor café areas in the town
- FREE Hand Sanitiser for re-opening after second fire break lockdown
- FREE facebook advertising for businesses
- New ‘Siop Aber – Caru Aber’ shop local Gift Voucher project over Christmas and New Year
Ice Rink & Winterland
"The Ice Rink was a waste of levy payers money"
"The Ice Rink is in the wrong the location"
"The Ice Rink made huge losses"
Project Income & Expenditure:
2018 Expenditure: £93,057
2018 Income: £86,496
2019 Expenditure: £99,617
2019 Income: £62,996
Therefore over the two years, the average cost was approx. £21k per year, which we believe is great value for a month long attraction that brought thousands of visitors to the town from all over the UK. When we move to a new site, we expect the project to breakeven, as we will be able to sell more tickets (due to bigger rink) and there should be less cancelled sessions being more sheltered from the wind.