FALMOUTH businesses are being urged to give the thumbs-up to a scheme that could generate £800,000 of investment in the town.

They have the chance to vote to secure a third term of the award-winning not-for-profit Falmouth Business Improvement District (BID).

Richard Wilcox, Falmouth BID manager, said: “There has never been a more pressing time to shine a spotlight on our towns and high streets. They are, after all, the lifeblood of the county, where businesses and enterprises of varying sizes, operate across numerous sectors – retail, marine, education, hospitality, digital and creative – supporting thousands of jobs.

"It is of course, a challenging trading environment and so by working in partnership with other proactive organisations, the Falmouth BID hopes to continue focussing on and allocating vital funds to innovative projects that assist our business community and award-winning destination. All of which helps Falmouth stand out from the crowd, attract visitors, new businesses and further investment.”

A ‘yes’ vote from 400+ businesses would secure the lucrative sum as a minimum over the next five years, to continue to support the town with a series of campaigns and initiatives.

This includes a new Christmas festival, continued green space regeneration and investment to further grow major festivals like Falmouth Week or the Tall Ships Regatta - an event which boosted the local economy by around £10 million when the port last hosted it in 2014.

Following input from businesses, the BID would also continue its investment in a national PR campaign to raise the profile of Falmouth and its business community, and cruise ships visiting the port.

A series of successful campaigns for Falmouth over its past two five-year terms, have included supporting the likes of Suhaili 50 Parade of Sail with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and the Red Arrows displays, organising early season events such as the Falmouth Spring Festival, undertaking a visitor signage project, rolling out a free town WiFi platform which is a first for Cornwall, developing Falmouth’s official town website Falmouth.co.uk and social media channels, and funding free first quarter car parking.

The BID also helped to co-ordinate the Government-led Great British High Street national award submission, leading to Falmouth beating 900 other towns to be crowned the Great British High Street Coastal Community of the Year.

Neil Chadwick, co-founder of Seasalt, said: “Seasalt has 55 shops in the UK and I regularly travel to coastal towns all over the country. There are very few places anywhere that can compete with Falmouth’s vibrancy, friendliness and sense of pride. It is truly special all year round, although never more so than when we stage events such as the Oyster Festival and Sea Shanty Festival.

"Falmouth remains one of our busiest shops and this is a credit to the Falmouth BID and Town Council, who work so well together in managing our great town.”

A Business Improvement District (BID) scheme is a not-for-profit business-led initiative supported by government legislation, which gives local firms the power to raise funds locally to be spent locally on improving their trading environment.

There are now almost 300 BID schemes operating across the UK, investing millions of pounds in projects, with eight running in Cornwall. They are governed by a board of volunteer directors who in Falmouth’s case, freely give up time to assist in developing the initiatives alongside the BID Manager.

If the vote is successful, a third term will begin on April 1, 2019.

A no vote would mean that all projects supported by the BID over the past ten years including festivals, destination marketing, the official website, street decorations, free car parking and business training could stop.

Richard Thomas, of RTP Surveyors and Falmouth BID chairman, said: “The investment and projects delivered have generated a momentum and energy that have been vital to Falmouth’s success and national recognition. But it shouldn’t stop here. As a businessman in Falmouth, I know how challenging the economic climate is and how every penny matters. But it is imperative that we continue to invest in our special town and business community, and with the help of our active business community, we can achieve even more.”

For more information on the BID renewal visit https://www.falmouth.co.uk/falmouth-bid