Okehampton Town Council is set to discuss a report investigating the possibility of establishing a business improvement district (BID) on Monday (August 22).

The report discusses an ongoing feasibility study into a BID and comes as part of West Devon Borough Council’s My Place My Views survey which invites residents to comment on the things they like and dislike in their town.

So far, Okehampton residents have highlighted Simmons Park as a particularly attractive area but have raised concerns over the derelict Old Mill site, the state of the rivers and the amount of congestion at the supermarket car parks.

There has previously been opposition to the suggestion of a BID in Okehampton’s town centre and many businesses voted against the suggestion in a previous proposal to set one up, stating that they were put off by the additional expenses needed for a BID to be successful.

Okehampton Town Councillor Christine Marsh said: ‘I think a BID is better than a chamber of trade which has now gone but there’s fors and againsts.

‘The first time a BID was suggested I didn’t think it was a good idea because there’s a lot of small businesses.’

West Devon Borough Council has partnered with Plymouth City Council and South Hams District Council for the My Place My Views survey which they hope will be able to provide them with information to shape a Joint Local Plan.

The plan aims to replace the councils’ old development plans and create a new joint plan between the three councils to improve the area.

As part of the plan, the councils are encouraging town centres to become more competitive to increase the towns’ economy which includes working towards establishing BIDs, improve transport facilities and encourage tourism to the towns.

Councillors have worked to put forward a plan for the future of Okehampton which includes supporting rail links between Exeter and Okehampton, improving employment opportunities and meeting the housing needs of residents, old and new.

Once the survey has closed will review the issues raise and open discussions will the relevant bodies in order to put the plan into action.

It is expected that the councils will start the process of updating the Joint Local Plan in March 2024.

A BID is a defined area in which all business owners are charged a levy to go towards projects which will help the local community.

Business owners can only be charged for up to five years before business owners must vote again to extend the levy period.

There is no set project that the money must go towards and it could include projects to provide extra safety measures or establish environmental initiatives.