Independent traders in Shawlands have told of their frustration at a scheme designed to boost business, which they say has not delivered.

The Glasgow Times reported how a letter was sent by a group of business owners to My Shawlands, which operates the Business Improvement District scheme which all firms in the area must contribute to.

After the letter, which was responded to by the operators who defended the scheme, the Glasgow Times visited the area and spoke to small firms in and around the main street.

Several said they see no benefit from the annual fee and, with rising bills for rent, rates and energy costs, say it is a charge they do not want to pay.

READ NEXT:Glasgow businesses hit out at My Shawlands BID over transparency

A number have started to get final warning letters from Glasgow City Council, who collect the fee on behalf of My Shawlands.

Steven Steele, of Corner Bikes, has recently been invoiced by the council for payments.

He said: “There has been zero benefit to me as a business.

"It has not assisted me in any way. I've not seen a rise in trade."

He wants more detail on what cash has been used for.

He added: “They can’t back up their spending claims.”

Alex Mills of Handsome Jack’s Barbershop said trading conditions are extremely difficult.

Glasgow Times:

He said: “We are refusing to pay. It’s £300 a year for a few flowers. Businesses are struggling and some are going out of business.

“It is the biggest joke, especially when we are struggling to meet the costs we have to pay, like rent and rates.

“We get zero benefit from it. We have had to put our prices up just to stay in business because we are struggling just to stay open with rent and rates now so expensive.

“We get no support in general.

“The money they are trying to take from us as small businesses is disgraceful, so to be asked to pay this on top of everything else for zero benefit is too much.

“I don’t want to be getting the threatening bills but there is nothing in return for this.

“I don’t see why we have to pay it.”

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Jeff Kearns runs Clever Clogs shoe repairs and key cutting on Kilmarnock Road.

Glasgow Times:

He said: “I gave it a try the first time but voted against it last time as I didn’t see the benefit.

“It has gone up by 10% as well to £330.

“The markets don’t help local traders, they take business away.

“We gave it a try.

“Owners also want clarity on what the money is being spent on.

"Apart from a few hanging baskets, I don't see it. I can pay for my own baskets.

Glasgow Times:

Yuriy Kackak, the owner of Deanston Bakery, expressed concern over how the BID was benefitting businesses in the area, especially amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Glasgow Times:

He said: “Running a small business can feel like an uphill battle, and the recent increase in costs of electricity, food and products has all added immense strain.

"After paying thousands of pounds over the years to My Shawlands Business Improvement District (BID), all I am asking is to see how the BID uses the payments to benefit the area that all businesses in Shawlands have no choice but to pay.”

Yuriy added: “The business owners I have spoken to want to be able to work hand in hand with My Shawlands BID to create a thriving and transparent business environment for the whole community.”

Pepe Bascetta, of Mail Boxes on Kilmarnock Road, said: “We are being strangled into it. It is not something I want to put money into.

“It has not helped us. It may help others in other parts of the area but I am paying to take money away from our business.

“Business is tough, every penny is important but this is punitive.

“The small businesses voted against it but bigger companies voted it though."

My Shawlands said: “In the event of any non-payment of the BID improvement levy, it will be strongly pursued by Glasgow City Council (as the billing body) using the recovery powers available to the Council to ensure complete fairness to all the businesses that have paid.

"Glasgow City Council will be entitled to charge an additional fee to the levy amount to meet any additional costs incurred in the recovery of the levy.”

Glasgow Times:

My Shawlands lists among the projects delivered over the last five years a play out day, Christmas events including a lights switch on, December entertainment including a synthetic ice rink and snow globe, a 'Southtember' shop local campaign month, a new Park Lane market, social media engagement, a street party, hanging baskets and public seating.