Elgin shopkeeper set for court return over BID protest

Elgin BID – move to oppose continuation

An Elgin shopkeeper who won his case over unpaid fees to a local business promotion scheme will have to face legal action over again.

Baggs of Elgin owner David Cairns has been a long-time objector to the compulsory annual fees levied by the Elgin Business Interest District (BID).

Business owners in the centre of Elgin must pay an annual fee after a majority voted for the formation of the Elgin BID five years ago.

Sheriff Officers had identified items in the Baggs store at the St Giles Shopping Centre to be seized to recover £459 in unpaid levies – but Mr Cairns appeal against that decision was successful when the court ruled that the stock had been “substantially undervalued”.

Now officers acting on behalf of the court returned to the shop to revalue stock in the company of a local auctioneer – but found it to be worth no more than their initial valuation.

Mr Cairns says as a result he will return to the Sheriff Court to argue his case over again.

He said: “I got a letter from the court saying that they have substantially undervalued the goods – now they have come with an auctioneer to convince the court that they have valued the goods properly.

“They have valued the goods exactly as they were valued the last time, so now I have to go back to court with the exact same argument. They banked everything on the fact that they had an auctioneer with them so that must be the right value.

“If they just gave me a fair value then they could have what I owe them.”

Since Mr Cairns’ story first came to light several local shop owners in the town have approached insideMoray saying that they fully agree with his stance against Elgin BID, claiming that the scheme has done little to promote small businesses.

It is understood that a new pressure group is to be formed by those businesses who oppose the Elgin BID, with an early opportunity arriving later this year when businesses in the centre of Elgin will be invited to vote on if the scheme should continue.

Elgin BID manager Gill Neill said: “We encourage and attempt to work with all BID members – however, some of our members exercised their right to vote against the BID company and have chosen not to get involved in activities.

“While we completely respect their rights we are obliged to follow due process where businesses chose not to pay their levy and pursue payment.”

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