ABINGDON traders will be asked to pay for efforts to market the town to shoppers.

They will be asked to vote on whether a Business Improvement District (BID) should be set up in the town.

They would pay one to four per cent extra in business rates to raise £140,000 a year for events and promotional work.

The Government this month gave £33,000 to council-funded business partnership Choose Abingdon for the £47,000 project.

A referendum will be held by Christmas which, if successful, would see the BID created on April 1, joining 170 set up in the UK since 2003.

It would last for five years and would have to be renewed with another vote.

Choose Abingdon manager Heather Brown said: “I think it’s time we offered this opportunity to our businesses as it’s clearly something that other places have found to be a benefit.”

Bedford became the first county town to set up a BID in 2005, which has since been voted back in.

A consultation will be overseen by Choose Abingdon, funded by Vale of White Horse District Council.

Steve Hipgrave, landlord of the Kings Head and Bell, said: “I think it sounds like a really good idea, businesses would feel more invested in the town. I would probably vote for it.”

Plans for an Oxford BID were rejected by 56 per cent of the 356 businesses who voted in 2008.