Proposals to create a new business improvement district in the heart of King’s Lynn have hit a stumbling block with a no-vote.

But there is still optimism that the town centre will attract inward investment to keep it vibrant.

An 18-month campaign to encourage businesses to back the BID plan came to an end with a ballot, and the result was revealed on Friday.

Some 54 per cent of businesses agreed with the suggestion; but the vote fell because the rules said there must also be a majority of the rateable value of businesses eligible. The difference could have been just 2 per cent which may have been just one business in the town.

There are already more than 100 BIDs around the country and was hoped Lynn would be joining them.

The scheme would have seen businesses paying an additional charge on their rates and the money would have been managed to improve and enhance services in the town centre and to attract visitors.

The steering committee said around 60 per cent of businesses would have paid around £1 a day to generate the income needed.

West Norfolk Council leader Nick Daubney said he was disappointed for the steering committee that the vote failed.

He said the council needed to find ways of working with the group on some of the plans it had drawn-up.

It had been estimated the BID would have raised £1.5m over five years.

Steering group chairman Ben Colson said he was disappointed.

“I think I should be pleased that the business community is so positive about its future that it can turn away from such an opportunity, but I am not really sure what to think.”

Member Darren Taylor said he hoped something positive would still come about as a result of the BID scheme.

“We are not giving up on our town,” he said.

There is a meeting at 9.30am on May 6 at the Chapel Street offices of the council

It will be two years before another formal BID vote can be taken.