Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Board Dedicated to Help Town Resigns En Masse

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Board Dedicated to Help Town Resigns En Masse

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Muncaster Reporter

BOARD members of the controversial Hexham BID have resigned casting doubts over the company's future, it can be revealed.

The six board members reacted furiously to calls by councillors Richard Wearmouth and Cath Homer that the Hexham BID AGM should be held again.

It followed criticism from a number of businesses who claimed they were excluded from the meeting on November 8 due to a 'hastily introduced' membership policy.

In a letter to Coun Wearmouth, leaked to The Journal, the board hit out at the councillors for raising their concerns in the media rather than contacting them directly.

And they claim their actions have "significantly damaged" the delivery of the company's business plan, leaving their positions untenable.

The letter reveals members have now told Northumberland County Council that they are stepping down, which the local authority said could lead to the company being liquidated.

The board said: "We no longer have the council's support. It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that the board members have no alternative other than to resign and therefore terminate the BID arrangements.

"The responsibility now lies with the council to consider whether it wishes to set up another company to deliver the BID in Hexham."

The BID came into force in October last year after 66% of the 232 businesses who voted were in support of the scheme.

Companies within the town's designated BID area are obliged to pay between PS200 and PS10,000 a year, but some traders have refused over claims they don't see value from the group.

Despite the backlash, the board said it has delivered extra Christmas lights for the town, a revamped Visit Hexham website and supported two new festivals.

"Directors would like to thank the levy payers of Hexham's business community, staff, and contractors for their hard work and support," its members said. …

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