THE borough council has expressed its ‘regret’ after Councillor Kevin Farrer said he would resign from the authority amid a row over the Business Improvement District (BID).

Cllr Farrer was summonsed to Basingstoke Magistrates Court yesterday (Thursday) after failing to pay his BID levy.

At the hearing he slammed Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) – the authority of which his is a member – and furiously expressed to his supporters and fellow non-levy paying businesses that he would resign from his position on the borough council.

"I have just resigned, I cannot work with hypocrisy," said Cllr Farrer.

He later added: "I cannot work with people who say the town is on its knees and needs rejuvenating, and while it is being rejuvenated it will be further on its knees.

"I can't stand in a room with a bunch of liars, I can't do it."

At the time of writing, TVBC says that Cllr Farrer’s resignation has not yet been formally received.

The council has issued a statement addressing the situation, stressing that Mr Farrer was aware that the council he was elected to in May of this year is “legally obliged” to collect the BID levy on behalf of the BID company.

it was also noted that “the majority of businesses have paid their levy” and that those to appear in court yesterday (Thursday) related to “less than 10 per cent” of the total levy due.

The full statement from the council read: “Mr Farrer’s actions in court following the outcome of the hearing are regrettable.

“He, like other business owners, will be aware that the council is legally obliged to collect the BID levy on behalf of the BID company, which is entirely separate from the council.

“Recognising that this is the first year that businesses will pay the BID levy, we have issued both informal and formal reminders in respect of outstanding amounts. It is important to remember that the vast majority of businesses have paid their levy. The summonses heard in court yesterday related to less than 10 per cent of the total levy due.

“The money the council collects is passed to the BID company in its entirety and is used for the sole purpose of enhancing the town centre for businesses, shoppers and visitors alike.

“Regardless of individual views, the ballot was undertaken in accordance with the BID regulations and this was confirmed by the Secretary of State’s decision to uphold the ballot following an appeal. He expressly supported the council’s right to vote in favour of the proposal, recognising that the council too will pay the levy in respect of its town centre assets.

“More broadly, the council has invested millions of pounds in Andover’s town centre with a view to benefitting businesses. And we propose to invest more in the future by the completion of the masterplan project and by leading the way on the redevelopment of the town centre.”