DORSET’S biggest industrial estate is set to be among the first in the country to become a Business Improvement District (BID).

Sixty per cent of businesses on Ferndown and Uddens Industrial Estate voted in favour of setting up a BID.

A board of six volunteers, who all run businesses on the estate, spent 18 months putting together the plans and working with companies to develop their priorities for the next five years.

BIDs see groups of businesses working together and commissioning projects to improve their trading environment. They are funded by a levy on rate-paying businesses and must be approved by a ballot. The ballot saw a 42.5 per cent turnout and the majority vote represented 69 per cent of the estate’s rateable value.

The proposed BID would be the first in the county to be based around an industrial estate and only the second in the south west of England.

Russell Bowyer MD of Custom World Dorset Ltd and chair of the Ferndown and Uddens Business Improvement District, said: “This is great news that businesses have chosen to support the BID. We can now start to deliver a much improved industrial estate in line with our proposed business plan, with the aim of making this a cost-neutral benefit to all businesses.”

He acknowledged support from East Dorset District and Dorset County councils along with other public bodies and agencies.

Cllr Ian Monks, leader of East Dorset District Council, said: “We have been working with the BID board over the past few months to support their business plan and we are delighted that it has been approved. I’m sure that the BID will facilitate projects that will benefit all businesses on the estates.”

Ferndown and Uddens are two neighbouring sites which together make up the biggest industrial estate in the county.