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Company pulls out of Newtown BID project

Created on 06/12/2019 @ 15:24
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The company that won a contract to develop and run Newtown Business Investment District scheme has today announced it is pulling out of the project.

The company said it followed "slanderous and defamatory" comments against its  Managing Director, Mark Barnes, who is also a Newtown Powys county councillor. The BID scheme is meant to inject life and investment into the town centre to counter the downturn in trade and visitors to the town.

In a statement, the company said: "Revive & Thrive is today announcing that it is terminating its contract with Powys County Council to work with businesses in Newtown on the development of a Business Improvement District (BID) for the town with immediate effect.

The announcement comes after a further tranche of slanderous and defamatory statements against the company and against its managing director, Mark Barnes, on Facebook, via the anti-BID group 'No to Newtown BID.'"
"Over the last two weeks, this group, which continues to hide behind a veil of anonymity, has posted a series of articles on its Facebook page which are not only false or misleading in relation to the development of the BID project in Newtown, but it has also published outright lies and has named not only individuals within Revive & Thrive, but has attacked other business owners too.
"Revive & Thrive has countered these arguments, both on the page and face-to-face with businesses in the town, and has even offered to meet publicly with representatives of the group, hustings-style, to debate what each party has had to say and let the public decide for themselves. Needless to say, this offer was not accepted.
"The company has taken the decision following the lack of support it has received from its client, Powys County Council, in countering claims made against both it and the local authority.
"Revive & Thrive had been seeking a way to agree a strategy with the Council for dealing with the group and with on-going issues in the town which were separate to the BID development but which had been impacting on it, but without success, with Powys Council seemingly content to let damaging conversations in the town run their course.
"Additionally, the company has voiced its disappointment that other businesses across the town have not done more to speak out against a narrow-minded and vitriolic minority, especially as the company is based in the town and Mark is a resident of it.
"Revive & Thrive has worked on many BIDs across both England and Wales and has never encountered such malicious and personal attacks before, in spite of having to acknowledge that there are businesses in every town who, for whatever reasons, do not agree with or support the work that the company does."
Company Director, Matt Powell, said: “I feel deeply disappointed for the businesses in Newtown that what could and should have been a fantastic project for the town is now put at serious risk by a very small minority of small-minded businesses who are too cowardly to even state in public who they are, but the number one priority for Revive & Thrive has to be the safety and well-being of its people and we simply cannot accept or tolerate the hurtful and slanderous comments that have been made against us, as a company and as individuals within it.
"We wish the business community of Newtown well in the face of increasing competition and we can now focus our efforts productively on working to deliver opportunities for towns that are seeking proactive solutions to the challenges faced by their high streets.”
Revive & Thrive intends to carry on its work with Powys County Council to bring a set of BID proposals to ballot for Brecon in January 2020 and has only today also announced the successful ballot outcome for the project.

It has been working on with Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council to develop the first industrial BID in Wales on the Rassau and Tafarnaubach Industrial Estates in Ebbw Vale.

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