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Chief executive quits controversial Hampstead business levy group

Refusenik pub landlord says he will not pay up

01 November, 2018

THE chief executive of a controversial business group in Hampstead has stepped down as a campaign to scrap the project gathers pace.

The Hampstead Village Business Improvement District (BID) has advertised for a “BID manager” to replace its chief executive, Caroline Goldsack, at a salary of £40-50,000 a year.

It comes as the BID – which takes a levy from businesses that is re-invested into Hampstead – faces a backlash led by William IV pub landlord Jimmy McGrath. Mr McGrath, who refuses to pay the BID levy, called for the project to be scrapped after he was summonsed to court by the council for non-payment. Yesterday (Wednesday), he said: “I’ve got a QC this time and he’s advising me to plead not guilty, and then take it further. He’s very good, doing some really top cases. He’s going to come out with a load of old Latin.”

The case was due to be heard last month but was adjourned and moved to a new date later this month.

Mr McGrath added: “I’ve been getting support from businesses. I’ve had a few letters from people saying ‘Good luck’.” When the BID was introduced, after a ballot of more than 100 businesses in September 2016, it was claimed the organisation would reinvest £1.2million in Hampstead over five years. But businesses have criticised the project, with claims that improvements have been too few and far between.

Ms Goldsack, who had not responded to a request for comment yesterday (Wednesday), told the New Journal last month that the BID had done a lot of work behind the scenes, including successfully lobbying for a major reduction in rates for dozens of businesses. It had also funded the cleaning of pavements, installation of flower baskets and was organising the Christmas fair on December 2.

Hampstead Butchers and Providore owner Philip Matthews, one of 12 members of the Hampstead BID board, said in an email to businesses: “After two-and-a-half years as Hampstead BID manager, Caroline Goldsack is moving on to new challenges at the end of December.”

Jimmy McGrath

The job advert said a new manager was needed to “execute and develop the BID’s strategic priorities, manage the business operations and lead on all communication and relationships”.

Unlike the chief executive, the new BID manager would “work under the leadership of the board of directors”, according to the job ad. Other responsibilities will be to act as the “face of the BID”, “maintain strong relationships with our levy payers” and to “arrange and attend” board meetings.

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