BUSINESS bosses are being urged to get behind an ambitious BID that would see £1.5 million invested into the town centre to increase its appeal and boost footfall.

The town's Primark manager Dawn Smyth is heading up a consultation inviting town centre businesses to submit and discuss their views on the setting up of a Business Improvement District (BID).

The BID gets businesses to undertake activities, projects and services aimed at making a town centre more economically vibrant, safer, cleaner and greener.

More than 200 city and town centres across the UK have chosen to implement successful BIDs since 2005 including Liverpool, Manchester and Chester.

Dawn, chair of the Warrington BID Team, believes the BID ‘will make a huge difference’ to the town centre.

Regeneration charity Groundwork, which has been retained as the consultant for the BID, will be managing the process of setting it up by July next year.

Ballot papers will be released to eligible businesses on February 28, with the deadline for voting set as March 28.

If it gets the support, the private sector-led £1.5 million BID investment into the town centre will begin in the summer.

Groundwork director Greville Kelly said: "All the money from this project, raised through the levy, will be invested into projects and services under the control of businesses, who have put it into the pot.

"It will go into projects and services that they believe will make their business more competitive over the next five years.

"That will then translate to projects that will attract more footfall into the town centre and make it safer, cleaner and greener – a more attractive place to come.

"This is about the private sector getting the opportunity to take the lead.

"The big challenge for Warrington is that if the business community does not unite behind the bid then there are other town centres with BIDs in place, which will step ahead of Warrington.

"But this is not an additional tax, it is administered through the business rates system.

"It is about businesses making a small investment – it is all pro rata based on the size of a premises.

"For the smallest businesses who will be involved in this, they will be paying the daily equivalent of 54p.

"It should be seen as an investment, not a cost."

BIDs are in place for five years, after which they can be renewed if they have been successful.

Further information and the proposal can be obtained from along with a feedback form.

Any comments and feedback are required by December 11.