SOME businesses in Gibraltar have protested against the new BID scheme that is planning to improve the shopping potential of Main Street and nearby areas over the next five years.

About 100 business owners attended a meeting to block the new Business Improvement District (BID) project after receiving the first bills to fund the project of up to £5,000.

Business owners like Bhisham Nhichalani of one of the biggest clothes stores, Trends, said they will not pay their first bills in protest.

In last year’s vote, business owners cast a total of 292 votes, 65% of which voted ‘yes’ to the plans.

But with 1,175 businesses being able to vote, the turnout was quite low.

Now BID project directors are asking anyone who did not get a vote to come forward before the end of October.

The project has set itself up as a not-for-profit company with board directors receiving no compensation for their work with the government voting it into law earlier this year.

It plans to invest over £4 million over five years into developing this new shopping experience which is funded by both the businesses and the government.

The new downtown.gi website will create listing for businesses, promote offers and events while providing new projects.

One of the first plans on the table is the Downtown gift card Scheme that could be bought by local residents, companies and tourists.

The BID project believes this will bring more money into the area, increase the amount of people shopping and raise profits.

It also plans to push government into making streets cleaner and market Gibraltar abroad.

The local BID is based on similar shopping models in the UK and across the world.

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