Traders have voted against plans to introduce a business improvement district to Lynn.
The people behind the project say Friday’s ballot was a “setback” but hope to come up with an alternative scheme for interested firms.
Shops and businesses would been asked to pay a levy on top of their rates to fund improvements in the town centre, which could have brought £1.5 million worth of investment over five years.
Nearly 54 per cent of businesses had voted in favour of the scheme but it was lost on the secondary count, which was based on rateable value, when just under 48 per cent of firms were in favour. A total of 277 votes were cast.
The team have to wait two years to go for a second vote.
BID Steering Group member Darren Taylor said: “This is undoubtedly a setback for Lynn town centre. The businesses have voted no to vital investment and support.
“We now run the risk of losing out to towns like Cambridge and Norwich and seeing continued decline of our town centre. However, I still believe that Lynn has much to offer and I remain committed to working hard to ensure its survival as a vibrant town centre.”
Another group member Andy Wilson added: “We would have been able to do so much more in the town with the BID money.”
Steering group member Jess Cunningham said: “There are business who want to do something and it would be a shame not to make use of that positivity. The issues highlighted by businesses have not gone away.”