A VOTE to decided if businesses in Taunton town centre should pay an extra levy has been delayed following a ‘challenge of its accuracy’.

The Taunton BID working group was set to send out the notice of ballot on February 6, with ballot papers sent out on February 20 and a closing date of March 19.

Businesses within the map, drawn out by the BID working group, will be obligated to pay 1.5 per cent of its rateable value into a joint fund if the majority of companies in within the area vote ‘yes’ and their total rateable value equals more than the 'no' vote.

The BID working group published a list of eligible voters based on local authority data, but this process caused some confusion over discrepancies on who was allowed a vote.

Because of this, the voting has been delayed by 10 days to allow Somerset West and Taunton Council to have another look at the list.

Cllr Marcus Kravis, executive member for assets, said “SWT has instructed the ballot holder to delay the issue of the notice of ballot by ten days.

“The council felt it would be beneficial to further scrutinise the voter list to ensure everyone is confident that it is as accurate as possible.”

The new dates will see notice of ballot given on February 17, ballot papers sent out on March 2, and closing ballot day March 30.

Colin Barrell, chairman of the BID Working Group, said: “The BID working group is committed to ensuring the ballot is carried out in the fairest possible way. The BID group are open to challenge and willing to listen.

“As a result and to reassure voters and businesses in the proposed area, we are carrying out further scrutiny of the information, provided from Somerset West and Taunton’s Business Rate records, to ensure that the list of eligible voters is as accurate and up to date as possible at the point of the notices being sent out.

“We aim to send the notice of ballot to all eligible businesses on February 17 and subsequently distribute a full proposal of our plans for the five year term of the proposed BID for Taunton.”

The delay stemmed from concerns raised by the No Taunton Bid campaign group, which claimed businesses within the map boundaries were not listed to vote, and vice versa.

A spokesperson said: “We are pleased to have helped the council, Taunton BID and all the voting businesses ensure there’s an accurate voting list, so the right people get to vote. But BID not even knowing who all their voting businesses are is disgraceful, whether deliberate or a genuine mistake, it doesn’t matter, many are worried it’s a taste of what’s to come from this private BID company if voted in.”