Visit Dornoch

Dornoch BID

Latest update

We won the Ballot! Thank you to everyone that voted for us, we will be sending out information on the next steps to all our levied businesses soon. To see the results, please follow this link

Older News

Only a week to go until the ballot closes, next Thursday the 16th of November. There is still time to vote!

Pop into the Eagle Hotel Pub this evening (Friday the 10th November) at 5pm with any questions, or if you'd like to say Hi.

We will have news for you this time next week, so keep an eye on this page or our Facebook page...

Following a constructive and positive dialogue on Thursday, October 12, 2023, between members of the DACIC Board and the BID Steering Group, we are delighted to confirm our collective commitment to furthering the vision and prosperity of Dornoch.

This collaborative effort has been made by addressing the concerns raised by the DACIC Board, which includes the dissemination of crucial information to local businesses by the BID Steering Group. This encompasses the recent distribution of the FAQs document and the agreed-upon addendum to the Business Plan giving details of suggested projects for the new Board to consider in the first year.

Collectively, these proposed projects present a significant opportunity for businesses to potentially realise increased revenue and cost savings, ultimately ensuring a worthwhile return on their levy investment.

As a result, the DACIC board now recommends that local businesses support the BID and return their ballot papers in good time (to arrive by 16th November).

We are in accord that, should the ballot prove successful, the BID Company, representing a diverse cross-section of the Dornoch business community, will play a pivotal role in shaping the future direction of promotional and marketing endeavours for our town. This will require the active participation of visionary, passionate, and committed members of the business community who are willing to step forward and serve as directors in the new BID company.

The creation of a Dornoch BID is poised to safeguard the future of the Visit Dornoch brand, facilitate the promotion of businesses spanning various sectors, and introduce projects aimed at fostering growth and prosperity throughout the broader Dornoch business community.

The BID’s first priority will be the recruitment of a highly experienced manager with a proven track record in fundraising, marketing, and events management. This individual will work with clear delivery targets in each of these areas, all of which will be closely monitored by the board.


We now have a Frequently Asked Questions document (found in the column on the right), which we will keep updating with any comments and questions you are sending us. Please give us your feedback by email to

Thanks again for the useful feedback last Wednesday at the BID Business Plan Launch meeting. Following this the BID Steering Group is working hard behind the scenes on additional information to add weight to the presented business plan, which we hope will help your decision making.

As you know the ballot papers will be send out this Thursday, but the voting deadline is not until the 16th of November. We would therefore ask that you hold off submitting your vote until you have received the updated proposals with your requested additions.

Thank you all of those attending last night and for the useful discussion. If you weren’t able to make it but have any suggestions you’d like us to consider please get in touch.

The feedback received last night will help further inform the BID Board (once established) of the priorities of our business community. We would also like to invite you to volunteer over the coming weeks to further develop some of those projects you’d like to see, again to further inform the new Board once established. Please advise if you would like to participate by return email or contacting Paula White on 07471200103.

In the meantime, we’ve outlined some of the concerns we heard last night and we’ll be in touch again soon.

A Business Improvement District (BID) exists to give a voice to the businesses within the BID area. You, the business community, have shown us last night how strong such a voice can be, and it is a demonstration of what we want for our community. Instead of more volunteers running committees a BID gives businesses the chance to take the reins and work for the greater good of the whole (business) community and the IV25 area.

After consultation with IV25 businesses and notice from DACIC - who was the instigator in the BID development process - that the volunteer running Visit Dornoch was going to retire and finding a new volunteer to take on this extensive role seemed impossible.  The Steering Group members came forward, after attending the initial meetings, to help bring a BID to ballot. Those involved have always been conscious that they have not been elected by the businesses and therefore felt it was not up to them to decide which projects should have the priority in the Business Plan. Once the survey and initial consultations were completed all comments fell clearly within 4 themes, which are the themes, we built the Business Plan around.

You have asked the following questions:

Why is the salary for the manager so high, and why full time?

We want to attract a high calibre manager, to ensure Dornoch BID will be a success. To attract these, we need to pay them a decent salary, which they need to earn by increasing the amount raised by the levy through grant funding.

A full-time manager means they will have the time to work on all aspects of the BID, ensuring Dornoch Businesses get the most value for their money.

A full-time manager means that they would be doing the work, and the volunteer board will be deciding strategy and making decisions – not having to spend many hours undertaking the projects.

However, if the BID Board feels they would be better served by a part time manager, or a part time manager and assistant, those are options the Board can decide on.

Why is the levy based on Rateable Value?

Every BID levy in the UK is calculated on property rateable value (RV). The Steering Group cannot change this.

The levy should be seen as an investment in your business and the greater business community, this is money that will be spent in the IV25 area, to benefit our businesses and our communities. This is not a road tax, which will be spent on roads anywhere, or a council tax, which might be spent in Inverness. This is money that otherwise wouldn’t be unlocked, to make Dornoch better, and will (through grants, which are not accessible to individual businesses) bring even more money into the area, which will also benefit our communities. Even though the money is collected by the Highland Council, it is ring fenced and held in a special account and only the BID Board will be able to draw money down from it.

How will the BID be spending our money?

That is up to you, the business community, as levy payers. The Steering Group was asked to draw up a business plan for the coming five years on the back of consultations and a survey conducted with the IV25 postcode businesses. However, what these projects should be, within the headings, should be a decision made by the IV25 businesses, or the Board of Directors, voted in by those businesses.


You have made it quite clear that you would like to have a better understanding of which projects you can expect in the first 5 years of the BID, therefore I would like to ask if you would volunteer over the coming weeks to come together and work these out, as guidelines to the BID Board, and maybe as trial to see if you would like to be a part of that BID Board in future.

A BID should be led by a cross selection of businesspeople voted in by the businesses involved, so that everyone’s voice can be heard, and the projects chosen will benefit all businesses. What that should look like is up to you. The Steering Group has taken the BID up to ballot, now YOU need to decide if it should go ahead, and if it does, who should be in charge. If we get the Yes vote you will get a request form to nominate someone from a business in the IV25 area to be on the Board (only one person per business), and from these nominees a BID Board will be formed. It is important that all sectors of business are represented on the Board, so please think carefully who YOU would like to represent you, and which projects should take precedence over others.

This Board will be responsible for all decisions relating to staff, contracts, the delivery of the approved business plan and other activities generated by the BID.

The BID Company Board will have the authority to adapt or alter the projects and services from year to year to reflect any change in economic circumstances or any new opportunities that may arise. This will be in the best interests of the levy payers and without recourse to an alteration ballot.

What the BID board cannot alter is the BID area and the liability for, or amount of, the BID levy.
It is the BID’s responsibility to keep in touch with all businesses and ensure you are kept informed during the first 5 years on what progress the BID is making and how these benefit your businesses.

We are asking you not to stick your faith in a group of volunteers, but to come together as businesses, and work together to make Dornoch and the outlying areas the best it can be, by being involved and taking the reins ourselves.


Our next meeting will be on Wednesday the 20th September, which will be the launch of our business plan. It will be held at the Dornoch Hotel, from 5-7pm. If you would like to come along, please let us know so we know how many people to expect.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Come along next Wednesday the 26th July from 5-7pm at the Dornoch Hub, to meet the BID Steering Group and find out our progress so far. Ask your questions, or just come along to show your support.

Please click the link to see our latest newsletter.


What is a BID?

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a geographically defined area, where businesses come together and agree to invest collectively in projects and services that the businesses believe will improve their trading environment. BID projects are new and additional projects and services; they do not replace services that are already provided by Highland Council and other statutory bodies.

BIDs are developed, managed and paid for by the non-domestic sector by means of a compulsory levy, which the eligible persons in the proposed BID area must vote in favour of before the BID can be established. Each eligible person liable to pay the BID levy will be able to vote on whether the BID goes ahead.

Unlike business rates the money doesn't go to the Scottish Government for redistribution. It will remain in Dornoch to be spent on the things that you, our local businesses, have identified as your priorities.

For the ballot to be successful there must be a minimum turnout of 25% by number of eligible voters (the headcount) and rateable value, with the majority voting in favour by both number and rateable value. This protects the small and large businesses as the voting system requires all four conditions to be met.

Call to action

Dornoch has had a business group since 2014 with 80-100 members per annum, contributing to a joint marketing ‘pot’ which enabled us to employ four part time staff to deliver digital and in person visitor information. This has been restricted to tourism businesses to date and supported by significant volunteer effort.

At the suggestion of our Business Group, we now want to work towards becoming a Business Improvement District (BID) where all businesses contribute to a funding pot to be able to deliver an agreed 5-year business plan. The membership will be extended to all businesses not just those involved in tourism. This will generate a bigger funding pot and with a well presented and researched five-year plan, make it easier to attract match funding e.g. for capital projects. The business plan will be created from an extensive consultation with all the businesses in the IV25 area, and consists of those things that our businesses want to improve on most.

The BID will enable us to build on our past success of joint working but in a more formalised arrangement to include all businesses and to employ a manager to deliver the agreed business plan.

To reflect everyone's views we need to hear from as many of you as possible. Please take the time to fill in the survey which will be send out to you soon, to ensure we have your up to date email address, it would be greatly appreciated if you can send a quick email to

We have 2 online consultation sessions planned on the 7th and 8th of March 23 7pm, for access details please contact Paula White at the email adress below. These events are now passed, to view our presentation please click on the following link:

For more information on BIDS please look at the following two documents

The survey has now been sent to all businesses on our Rateable Value List, if you think you should have received a survey but haven't please contact us at

Next engagement events planned

Monday 24th April 5-7pm at Royal Dornoch Golf Club

Tuesday 25th April 5-7pm at The Dornoch Hub

Wednesday 26th April 5-7pm at the Dornoch Hub

Thursday 27th April 5-7pm at the Dornoch Hub

Friday 28th April 5-7pm at Royal Dornoch Golf Club 

At these events we would

-welcome your input to our business plan for the next 5 years

-answer any questions you might have about the BID

-help you fill in our survey

-listen to your ideas

Update June 2023

We are now working on our BID proposal, the survey will close at the end of June, so if you haven't filled it in yet, there is still time!

In the BID proposal we are evaluating, combining and identifying those issues you have brought forward and will form the backbone of our business plan. 

For any other information or a friendly chat please contact our BID coordinator Paula White at or give her a call on weekdays between 12 noon and 5pm on 07471200103.

Dornoch BID Ballot

If you have lost your ballot papers, or need a new copy, or would like to know more about how the Highland Council conducts the ballot, please click on the following link

Otherwise please get in touch with Paula our coordinator, on


Dornoch BID Business Plan

To see our Business plan please click here

To see the addendum to the Business Plan, please click here

Dornoch BID FAQ

For our Frequently Asked Questions please click here

Dornoch Area Community Interest Company
Registered Office: The Dornoch Hub, Argyle Street, Dornoch IV25 3LA | The Company is registered in Scotland, no. 327565
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