SHOP owners in Kidderminster town centre will pay an extra levy on their rates from next year, after 55 per cent of companies voted in favour of plans for a business improvement district (BID).

A ballot has been taking place over the past month, with just over half of businesses backing plans to set up the Kidderminster BID to fund additional services and boost footfall.

From April 2020, businesses in the BID area will pay an extra 1.5 per cent levy on the rateable value of their business to pay for events and initiatives in an effort to reduce crime, increase footfall and consumer spend, boost property values and create a better perception of the town.

Ian Miller, the ballot holder who is also the returning officer for Wyre Forest, said: "I was pleased to announce that businesses in Kidderminster town centre have voted to support the business improvement district.

"Almost 55 per cent of businesses that voted were in favour and the majority by rateable value was even greater, at nearly 64 per cent.”

Of eligible businesses in central Kidderminster, 102 votes - excluding rejected ballots - were cast.

Mike Parker, corporate director for economic place and prosperity, said “Businesses have used their collective voice to endorse the BID plans.

"The levy will raise over £1m over the next five years which will be invested into the town as the businesses determine.

"The next step will be to establish a BID company to oversee the delivery of the proposals.

“There is no doubt that it is a challenging period for town centre businesses but this vote will allow for innovation to come forward and bring further investment into the town, which will be good for business, shoppers and visitors alike.”