Cambrian News photographer

MORE than 30 Aberystwyth businesses have been ordered by a court to pay a levy on their business rates as part of the controversial Aberystwyth Business Improvement District.

The Cambrian News reported “The businesses, which owe just under £7,000 between them, were made subject to liability orders by Aberystwyth magistrates after failing to pay the levy, which works out as 1.25 per cent of their annual business rates.

Initially, 57 businesses were facing court action, but magistrates heard that had been reduced after reminder notices had seen businesses make payments to Ceredigion County Council, which collects the levy on behalf of Advancing Aberystwyth, the company formed following a ballot into the introduction of a BID.

Each of the 31 businesses made subject to the liability order will also now have to pay costs of £40 to the counci on top of the levy fee.

The BID, which was narrowly voted through in 2016, sees more than 400 businesses paying the levy, which is expected to raise around £140,000 each year to pay for improvement schemes aimed at boosting trade in the town.

Despite 400 businesses being eligible to vote in the ballot, just 97 premises voted in favour of the scheme, with 84 opposing it.

Opponents of the scheme had questioned whether the money raised under the levy would benefit all businesses and they insisted that individual businesses would be better placed to use that money on marketing to help boost trade.

The Cambrian News revealed that the council itself voted 14 times in favour of the BID through its various premises within the BID zone” here.