BUSINESSES in Galashiels have rejected plans to make the town a BID district.

Around 40 towns and cities across the country, including Selkirk, Falkirk, Inverness and Aberdeen, have become Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).

The schemes allow local shops, cafes, pubs and other businesses to pool and share resources.

And, working with other private, public and third sector partners, try to improve local economic conditions by delivering an agreed package of investment and initiatives.

But a ballot in Galashiels hasn't seen enough support for the scheme to be introduced in the town.

Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for Business and Economic Development, told the Border Telegraph: “While it is disappointing to hear that Galashiels has chosen not to go ahead with a Business Improvement District for the town, we understand the pressures businesses and shops are currently under and the tight budgets they need to work to.

“I would pay tribute to the very significant efforts made by Energise Galashiels in seeking to deliver a BID and particularly the strong leadership provided by Craig Murray and his hard working team.

"This is not the result they would have wished for but they should be proud of the personal contribution they have made to the future of Galashiels."

Ballot papers were distributed to eligible voters in October.

A total of 147 votes were cast, representing a 43.75 percent turnout.

To be successful, the majority, measured in Rateable Value, had to be in favour of the BID.

Although 105 businesses voted in favour of the plan, representing 71 percent of the votes cast, the 42 businesses who voted against represented much larger Rateable Value premises.

Once the Rateable Value measure was taken into consideration £1.82m voted in favour while £2.9m voted against.

Councillor Rowley added: “Despite this setback, there are a number of exciting projects being taken forward in Galashiels to regenerate the town, including streetscape improvements and the Great Tapestry of Scotland Visitor Centre which will kick start delivery of the Galashiels Masterplan.

“The council recognises the importance of town centres, regardless of whether they introduce a Business Improvement District or not, and we will provide appropriate support to ensure Galashiels has a bright future.

"Alongside other partners, including Energise Galashiels, we now have an important role to play to help lead the town in ensuring its successful regeneration is achieved.”