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Chairman quits over 'personal vendetta' in BID campaign battle.

Byline: Graeme Brown Head of Business graeme.brown@trinitymirror.com

THE principle advocate of a business improvement district narrowly voted down by traders has resigned claiming the No campaign became a "personal vendetta" against him.

Robert Grosvenor, chairman of the Lifford Business Association, hit out at opponents after failing to secure enough backing for a new body to boost investment in Bournville, Cotteridge, Kings Norton and Stirchley.

Plans for the city's 12th business improvement district (BID), which would have seen more than an extra PS1 million invested in the area over five years, were foiled after 52 per cent of businesses polled voted against paying an extra levy.

In a letter resigning from the Lifford Business Association (LBA), Mr Grosvenor said: "As a result of the 11th-hour intensive No campaign in Stirchley, spreading skewed facts, utilising LBA logo in their campaign confusing our members and spreading ill feeling based on misinformation, four years work has gone to waste."

It continues: "Together, we could have been invincible but unfortunately we are it seems divided and as a result a lot of us will 'fall'.

"I do though hope and wish you do resolve things in your consciences and come up with a Plan B before it's too late. Just remember that as you drive up Pershore Road over the four weeks in run up to Christmas..."

Traders were split on the BID with 52 per cent of a 36 per cent turnout voting against.

Mr Grosvenor, who runs hairdressing salon Headmasters on Pershore Road, said he had worked unpaid for since 2011 to get the BID established.

Eleven BIDs have been set up across the city covering areas like Broad Street, the Colmore Business District and Erdington and Northfield town centres.

The levy paid by firms funds services like extra street cleaning, policing and security, marketing and promotion, festivals and general improvements to an area. The Lifford businesses wanted to use the funds to boost trade which some claim is falling behind as nearby areas like Longbridge and Selly Oak are being revived with new stores.

The area has also been blighted as a result of a drawn out battle between Tesco and Co-op over the Stirchley superstore and regeneration, with construction still awaited more than a decade after plans were first announced.

He said the area would be worse off for not bringing in a BID, adding: "I'll be the first to applaud the first organisation or individual that will invest PS225,000 per annum plus voluntary contributions over the next five years to support the marketing and events, clean and green, safety and security on all four areas as per our prospectus that will be spent directly on you as a business in the area."

Together, we could have been invincible but unfortunately we are it seems divided and as a result a lot of us will 'fall'Robert Grosvenor

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 6, 2015
Words:480
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