Traders in Kendal have been urged to play an active part in the town’s Business Improvement District after it was given the go ahead for another five years.

A 28-day postal ballot was held last month asking businesses if they were in favour of renewing the scheme – which has 688 members in the town centre.

Of the 271 votes cast - representing 39 per cent of the members - 165 were in favour of renewing the BID.

The BID was established in April 2014 and raises an annual levy from businesses within a specified area in central Kendal, which it is charged with investing in initiatives to benefit those traders.

It collects an annual levy from the businesses equal to one per cent of their rateable value - providing they have a rateable value over £3,000.

BID manager Sarah Williams said it was a “good result” but urged businesses to play a more active role in the scheme - in particular by applying to be part of the BID’s new board which would be elected next year.

“When people get involved they benefit from it and we want people to come forward with ideas of what we can do and how we can do things better,” she said.

“There is lots and lots of work to be done and we need people to stand up and be counted; come and be part of it.”

The BID's work has included financial and promotional support for events such as MintFest, Lakes Alive and Kendal Mountain Festival, involvement in the development of a new brand for Kendal and the establishment of the Swipii loyalty card scheme.

Its business plan for 2019 to 2024 outlines nearly £700,000 of spending.

This will include work to lobby on behalf of the businesses, as well as a proposal to re-instate Kendal’s Chamber of Trade with the aim of providing more opportunities for networking and business support.

It will also look to promote the town as a “destination rather than a gateway” drawing tourists from the Lake District and making the most of the national park’s World Heritage Site status.

Work will also include further development of loyalty card schemes in Kendal and “rebuilding the lost infrastructure such as toilets, coach parking, and further facilities for events”.

The total rateable value of the businesses that voted was £5,411,200. The total rateable value of the businesses which voted in favour was £3,287,900.

Five ballot papers were rejected.

South Lakeland District Council, which carried out the ballot on behalf of the BID, said this meant the BID was approved because “a majority of the business ratepayers in the proposed BID area who voted voted in favour of the proposal, both by aggregate rateable value and numbers voting”.