Festive events in Skipton

THE Christmas Markets are a huge attraction for Skipton and form part of the town’s unique festive offerings.

With the extended Christmas Lights Switch On event combining with the Santa Run, they make up a package that brings tens of thousands of visitors into the town over Christmas.

Six year old George Hall gives the Mayor and Boogie Storm a hand in lighting up Skipton

And the Skipton BID plays a very significant part in supporting both these prestigious events, ensuring they get the backing they need.

The Christmas Lights are put on in partnership with Skipton Town Council, and BID manager Geraldine Thompson warns that their scale would have to be dramatically reduced if there was no BID funding.

And Kerry Wheelwright, Events and Tourism Manager withSkipton Town Council agreed, stressing that they would not simply be able to find the extra money if the BID was lost.

The lights have over the period of the BID been extended from just the High Street to many other streets across the town centre.

Geraldine says: “Our impressive lighting display receives hundreds of positive comments each year.

“We fund them in partnership with Skipton Town Council and that partnership has allowed the scheme to be extended away from just the High Street and into many other streets across the town centre.”

The BID has teamed up with the Town Council’s events management team to organise the town’s biggest lights switch on event ever this Sunday (full story on page ??).

And it also played a significant role in linking the event with the Skipton Santa Fun Run this year, allowing that event to start from the town centre and generating even more footfall for the town centre.

Sunday marks the start of three very important weekends of festive celebrations in Skipton, which proved a huge footfall for the town.

The Christmas Markets, now firmly entrenched in the top ten UK Christmas Markets, take place this year on Sunday 2 and Sunday 9 December.

Footfall counters show the markets, with seasonal live entertainment, funfair rides, festive food and drink, and other entertainment alongside the stalls, bring in 20,000 visitors – almost three times that of a normal Sunday, said Geraldine.

She stressed that both the lights and the Christmas Markets would be affected if the BID wasn’t there to support them.

“We have a fantastic display of Christmas lights which the Town Council do a great job of putting up,” Geraldine said.

“Shoppers and visitors are always impressed by the lights.

“But without the BID funding, the town would be back to a Christmas Tree outside the Town Hall and a few lights on the High Street.

“That is what used to be there, and BID money has enabled us to expand and improve the display.

“There is no other organisation that will be able to come along and replace that funding.”

She said BID money also made a big difference to the special attraction and character of the Christmas Markets.

“The thousands we provide for the markets allow them to close the High Street, and if we weren’t there, this funding wouldn’t be there either,” she said. 

“The Christmas markets would probably continue, but unless they could find sponsorship to replace the funding we provided, they wouldn’t be much different to a normal market day. 

“It would almost certainly lose the very special identity it has.

“Our markets are always in the top ten of Christmas Markets, and have won awards – last year, it was named as the ‘Best Large Speciality Market’ in the Great British Market Awards.

“Last year, we had 139 booked coaches for our special town ambassador service alone, and that again is a by-product of the BID as we fund the ambassadors.”

She said the three events undoubtedly gave traders in the town a huge boost before Christmas and the more difficult trading months after the festivities have ended.

Skipton Town Mayor Alan Hickman enjoying the candle-light procession

Kerry said: “The Town Council doesn’t have the financial resources to replace the BID money.

“The town would have some lights and a Christmas Tree, but nothing like the fantastic display we are able to put on now.

“The same applies to the Christmas Markets. The Town Council wouldn’t have the money to provide any extra support, and it’s very unlikely the district council would either.

“That would undoubtedly mean they would not be as spectacular.”

Press Release – Don’t leave Skipton behind

Bradford BID

Last month, businesses in Bradford gave overwhelming backing for a new Business Improvement District (BID) in the city.

And just a couple of weeks ago, Otley BID enjoyed a resounding yes vote for its second term and Harrogate secured its first term with 82% in favour.

Harrogate BID

They are among the growing number of towns and cities which have followed in the footsteps of Skipton since it became one of the first BID towns in Yorkshire ten years ago.

Keighley, Halifax, Leeds, and Colne are among the many other nearby towns and cities that now have their own BIDs.

And Ilkley, Burnley, and Knaresborough are all in the process of setting them up.

Those behind Skipton BID and local businesses supporting it say it is vital that as a BID pioneer, Skipton is now not left behind.

They are urging levy payers to vote YES in the renewal ballot which takes place in January to ensure the success of the last ten years can continue and be built upon.

BID chairman Andrew Mear said the work the BID had done since it was formed in 2009 had undoubtedly helped the town to thrive in many ways.

And he warned that a no vote in January would set the town back significantly and could see it left behind by its neighbours.

“Skipton can’t afford not to have a BID. The £800,000 investment it will be able to put into the town over the next five years will not come from anywhere else,” he said.

“And without that money, a huge amount of ongoing and new projects and events will be lost forever.

“What could the businesses on their own do with the small part of the levy that they pay? It is much better to bring it all together in one pot to benefit the whole of the town.”

He said anyone who was thinking of voting no should look at what was happening elsewhere across the region.

“Don’t just take our word for it. In the last four years or so, the number of BID towns and cities in the UK has increased dramatically,” Andrew said.

“Businesses are recognising how important they are, and how they are much better working together.

“Skipton is now surrounded by other towns and cities, each with a BID doing great work – Keighley, Otley, Halifax, Bradford, Colne and Leeds, for example. Others are on the way soon, including Ilkley, Harrogate, Burnley, Knaresborough, and Ripon.

“All of these places can’t be wrong – and it would be disastrous if Skipton, having been a pioneer of BIDs in the north of the country, was to lose its own. We really can’tafford to lose that investment at a time when surrounding places are ‘upping their game’.”

One businessman who fully recognises the value of the BIDs and their importance to towns and cities is Richard Wilson, who owns the Cake ‘Ole in Craven Court with Neil Senior.

They have a second business in Keighley and will soon by opening a third in the Pavilion building in City Park, Bradford.

Richard said the recently launched BID was vital for the centre of Bradford, just as it had been for Skipton over the last ten years.

He stressed that Skipton was their flagship operation and they would be staying here, and said the work of the BID had played a big part in their decision to first open in the town five years ago.

“The BID is really important for the town. The amount of people it brings in for events makes a real difference,” said Richard.

“The BID is there to look specifically at what Skipton needs as a town, and that is really important. Every town or city is different and has different needs.”

He said when doing market research to find a location, they had seen the amount of work the BID done in putting on events right through the year, and that had impressed them.

He agreed that it was vital the town votes yes in the renewal ballot, and that Skipton didn’t miss out on the advantages other BID towns and cities have.

“The BID is a crucial part of Skipton.”

Looking at the growing number of BIDs surrounding the town, Andrew said: “We can’t afford to run the risk of being left behind.

“The money the BID has to spend will make a huge difference to all of Skipton. Let’s make sure we keep that advantage and keep Skipton thriving.

“The BID has been able to invest £1.5m taking the town forward. Vote YES and allow that work for the good of the whole town to continue.”

Teddy Boutique back the BID

Niki Talbot, who owns Teddy Boutique on Mill Bridge with her daughter Charlotte, is a big backer of the BID and the events it helps to support like the Switch-On and the Christmas Markets.

“When we decided to take the plunge and open Teddy Boutique we chose Skipton because we loved the unique feel of the town with all of its independent shops,” she said.

“We have both lived locally for 30 plus years and have gradually watched local high streets morph into clones of each other, but Skipton is different.

“And it’s important to keep it that wayif our lovely high street is to survive,” said Niki, who revealed they are about to expand their shop to open an upstairs sales floor.

“We believe the BID helps this by organising or supporting the many events that take place throughout  the year. The Christmas Lights Switch On this Sunday is a great example of this; it will bring in thousands of extra people. And the Christmas Markets are  fantastic and give trade in the whole town a real boost.

“These events and the many others that take place over the year bring people to the town who, we know from our own experience, return time and time again and bring friends, not only to the events but for visits and holidays through the year.

These events bring people to the town who, we know from our own experience, return time and time again and bring friends, not only to the events but for visits and holidays through the year. This surely keeps Skipton on the Map as somewhere worth coming to.

“On a personal level the BID team have helped us as a small independent family business.  The BID, in particular Geraldine, keeps us up to date with what is happening in the town and has provided us with opportunities to promote our business on more than one occasion.

“We are just about to open our upstairs sales floor and expand our range of
children’s clothes and beautiful baby gifts and we know the BID will be there supporting and promoting our efforts. So for anyone who has any doubts we would say give the BID your support. Skipton would be a very different town without it!”

Press Release – Police and Tesco back ‘crime busting’ Skipton BID scheme


Sergeant Paul Evans

Skipton police have backed the BID, and say the work it has done on crime prevention and disorder has been invaluable.

Sergeant Paul Evans says there is no doubt it has helped reduce crime and disorder and helped keep people feel safer in town.

The BID helped set up the Skipton Crime Reduction Partnership five years ago with partners Stopping Trouble and Night-time Disorder (STAND), Skipton Town Council and Craven District Council, ShopWatch, and Skipton Police.

BID Manager Geraldine Thompson said: “By working together, businesses in Skipton can discourage retail crime and anti-social behaviour and help the police catch criminals.

“The key to the success of the scheme is talking to each other and sharing information.”

That could include suspicious behaviour in the town, intelligence about offenders from other areas, notification of fraud attempts like fake vouchers or counterfeit notes from elsewhere in the region, and notification of theft and shop lifting incidents.

“That can be instantly shared on our smartphone app and through our radio system,” she said.

The Partnership was re-launched last year with the BID taking over the cost of members’ access to a secure database and the rent of the digital radios.

The Partnership, linking in to the existing ShopWatch and STAND groups, allows members to download a dedicated app for smart phones called DISC which gives instant access to vital information including banned lists, mugshots, offender profiles, news, alerts, documents, upcoming events, ID-sought images and much more.

Geraldine urged any businesses who were part of the BID who were not taking advantage of the scheme to come on board as quickly as possible.

Sgt Evans said: “The BID has helped us massively in terms of reducing crime and disorder and since I came on board they’ve enabled us to push on two of the main schemes which were the ShopWatch Radio Scheme and also the pub watch scheme STAND.”

He said help had been needed in maintaining the schemes, particularly the Shop Watch. Initially businesses had to pay a premium for a radio link which was a way to share information with each other and also a link to the police.

“The BID came along and said its part of our role – let us fund that. So what they have done is remove the cost for local businesses for the radio.

“The radio link is key. Sharing information, communication and intelligence. They’ve done a sterling job helping us fund that.

“On the back of that has come the web link, which again has brought the crime reduction partnership into the 21stcentury.

“The web link sorts out all the data protection issues that we had around paper records and BID has helped finance that side.

“Support for STAND with admin facilities in terms of capturing the people who are on the banned list and the galleries that are on the web app which can be shared amongst business users is thanks to the BID.

“They’ve been huge and really have made a big difference in helping us reduce crime and disorder in Skipton.”

Dean Majors, community champion at Skipton Tesco, said the store is a big supporter of the BID and of the Crime Reduction Partnership.

“We work closely with the BID within the community and also with the crime reduction scheme,” he said.

“They are a vital link between us and the independent businesses in the town by helping us keep one step ahead of any anti-social behaviour that happens from time to time.

“We vote YES to Skipton BID, as it offers us great support with any local events, like the markets and the Santa Run.”

Geraldine stressed that the future of both the newly-restored CCTV cameras and the Skipton Crime Reduction Partnership would both be in doubt if there was a no vote in the BID renewal ballot in January.

She said that as part of the Business Support strand of the BID Business Plan, the BID will continue to fund and promote STAND and the ShopWatch scheme if it gets the green light for a third term.

“We want to develop the sharing of intelligence and information across the town for the good of everybody who lives, works, and does business here,” she said.

“The BID can deliver the administration and funding to not only keep this partnership going successfully but to enhance and develop it to further improve the information we offer.”

Sera Brook, landlady of the Albion Inn on Otley Street, is also chairperson of the Skipton STAND group, which is the town’s pub watch scheme.

She says the BID has been a huge help with the legal side of the STAND and the administration of the lists and keeping them up to date.

“Crime is an issue and it is going to get worse as Christmas approaches. The Crime Reduction Partnership has helped our links with the police. To have Sgt Evans is great – we’ve got a specific person to go to. That wouldn’t work without the Crime Reduction Partnership.

“What the partnership does is give licensees the back-up they need.”

The BID keeps online a list of all the people banned from pubs, as well as information on potential issues and groups that may cause problems.

“The deterrent of being banned from every pub in Skipton that is in STAND, which is the majority of them, is a big one, and the knowledge that this list can be accessed instantly by all members has certainly acted as a deterrent,” says Sera.

“We are not about ruining people’s fun; we are just about keeping ourselves and our customers safe and the support of the BID helps us do that.”

Press Release – War Memorial Tidied Up

Joel Henderson, Estates Manager, Skipton Town Council

Skipton BID provided the funding to refurbish the town’s Cenotaph earlier this year to make sure it was looking at its best for the 100thanniversary of Armistice Day.

Renovation work was needed to bring it up to scratch, so Skipton Town Council estates manager Joel Henderson approached the BID to see if it would support the cleaning and repainting ahead of the Remembrance Service.

The BID agreed to provide the funding of £2,100. Work was also done by Skipton in Bloom to weed and tidy up the Cenotaph roundabout garden.

Joel said: “We thought it would be a nice if the railings were looking at their very best in time for the Remembrance service, so we approached the BID, and they agreed to provide the funding.”

BID manager Geraldine Thompson said the board were more than happy to support the work.

“It was something the board felt was important we could do for the town, particularly in the centenary year of Armistice Day.

“We must always remember those who gave so much for us, so we were happy to provide funding for such a worthwhile investment.”

Skipton Town Council is also currently looking at the feasibility of illuminating the Cenotaph during winter months, following a request from the Royal British Legion

This Sunday will see the annual parade from Bunkers Hill to the Cenotaph, with those taking part lining up from 10am and heading to the Cenotaph for 11am for a short service by Reverend Veronica James followed by the wreath laying, with the main service afterwards in Holy Trinity Church.

Thank you to G T Valeting and cleaning services for their professional help rejuvenating the Cenotaph.

Press Release – Tourism in Skipton needs a ‘Yes’ Vote

The Visit Skipton brand is the first port of call for many people when they are looking online for reasons to come to the town.

Stephen Garnett Photography

Attracting more than 20,000 unique visitors to the Welcome to Skipton website every month – most of whom view at least three pages – it is regarded as the most important medium for promoting the town nationally and globally.

It was set up and is funded by Skipton BID – and a no vote for BID renewal in January could mean it would completely disappear.

“The Visit Skipton brand would certainly be vulnerable,” said BID manager Geraldine Thompson.

The site offers free listings for all BID levy payers free of charge, as well as for events that promote Skipton.

It is one of the highest-ranking sites for Google searches for Skipton.

Geraldine said: “Over the past five years, Skipton BID and Skipton Town Council have together developed Visit Skipton into a regionally and nationally recognised destination brand.

“The Welcome to Skipton website is a hugely important part of that branding, but it also includes many promotional and marketing initiatives.

“Skipton BID invests substantially into promoting and marketing our town both regionally and nationally.

“And in partnership with other organisations, it funds representation of Skipton at key tourism, leisure and group travel events around the country, helping to ensure the town stays on the radar for coach operators and group travel organisers.”

She said that although some people might say the visitors will come anyway, without the support the BID, it could well fall behind other towns where BIDs were setting up new promotional initiatives.

“If Skipton doesn’t continue to sing its own praises, no one else is going to do it for us,” she said.

If renewed, Visit Skipton is one of the three key tenets of the Skipton BID business plan for the next five years.

Investment of £300,000 will go towards developing and improving the Visit Skipton brand, including redeveloping the Visit Skipton website as the key source of information for visitors, developing and enhancing its presence on social media, and looking at further promotion of Skipton on an international level.

It would also be used to develop and enhance the wide range of festivals Skipton offers over the year, including the possibility of expanding Sheep Day from a one-day event to a week-long festival.

Press Release “BID decision vital to future of Skipton” – says Castle owner

Skipton Castle has stood for almost a thousand years, and is one of the best preserved medieval Castles in the country; it attracts around 100,000 visitors every year.

Now the owner of Skipton Castle says the town is facing another important decision in its history – one that could have consequences if it goes the wrong way.

Sebastian Fattorini was involved with moves to set up Skipton BID ten years ago, and he believes it has helped to transform the town in that period.

And he says it is vital that the levy-paying businesses vote YES in the renewal vote in January next year to allow that ongoing work to continue.

The Fattorini family has owned the castle since 1956, having been involved in the fabric of commerce of the town since setting up a jewellery business at the lower end of the High Street in 1827.

Sebastian took over as administrator around 20 years ago, and had no hesitation in joining those who worked to set up the BID – one of the first in the north – when it was mooted.

“Prior to the BID, it was the same small group of people who promoted and supported the events in Skipton. What the bid did was to increase the resources so that the events could be bigger and better and Skipton promoted as a destination,” he said.

“The future of a vibrant town is a destination town. Skipton is a destination town. It has much to offer from the woods, market, canal, castle, and museum, attractive high street with its shops, cafés and restaurants against the backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales

“It is important to realise that all businesses in Skipton rely on a healthy local economy. The BID makes a significant contribution to supporting the local economy. It’s important that another term is voted in.”

Press Release – Skipton Puppet Festival future ‘hinges on a Yes vote’

An internationally acclaimed puppet festival is hoping to return to Skipton for the eighth time next year thanks to financial support from Skipton BID.

The Skipton International Puppet Festival is globally regarded as one of the best events of its kind and attracts thousands of people into the town.

Visitors come from all over the UK and abroad, with people travelling from Europe, Canada, America and Australia in the past.

But despite its success and popularity, the event relies on grant funding to happen – and that Arts Council funding is dependent on local partnership funding being in place first.

The BID has been a vital part of that partnership in recent years and has again agreed to provide 10 to 15 per cent funding for the cost of the event to allow it to apply for the Arts Council grant.

Festival director Liz Lempen says BID funding has kept the biennial festival, which is scheduled to take place from 4thto 6thOctober next year, going for the last four events.

And BID manager Geraldine Thompson says that anyone who wants to keep the festival – and the many other Skipton events the BID supports – going in future years must vote YES for renewal in January.

Liz said: “The festival has grown and it is now an impactful but expensive event to create.

“We cannot do it without a large grant from the Arts Council. Over the last decade as funding cuts have bitten deep the application process has become ever more competitive.

“Without local partnerships and partnership funding in place we would not have a strong hand to play. With generous commitment from the BID we can make our case to lever funding to Skipton.

“The BID has actually kept the festival going for the last four events, putting up funds and support in advance of funding applications.

“It has good reasons to do so. The festival brings people to the town, developing its cultural offer as a great place to live, work and play.

“The Puppet Festival literally puts Skipton on the map, developing the unique and characterful profile of the town both nationally and Internationally.

Photo courtesy of Blu Planet / Skipton Puppet Festival

“Local people love it, turning out in thousands to either participate or watch the spectacular puppet parade; the town loves it; and visitors flock from near and far.

“The arts community love it – it is a beacon for puppeteers. It also lays a definite claim to being the largest, most popular and definitely the friendliest celebration of family puppet theatre in the UK.”

Geraldine explained why it was so vital the BID came up with the funding to keep the puppet festival in town.

“Skipton International Puppet Festival has grown over its seven biennial editions into a major jewel in the crown of Skipton’s calendar of events,” she said

“Not only does the festival contribute to the happiness factor of life in Skipton but with about 15,000 visitors over the weekend, it also generates a significant audience from further afield contributing to the local economy.

“Visitors experiencing a brilliant weekend event set against the backdrop of charming and vibrant Skipton will undoubtedly return for a second dose of the town.”

She said that although 75 per cent of the funding comes from the Arts Council, the application for that grant funding was dependent on local support levels and funding.

“Tohave any kind of chance we must make the strongest application we can with a minimum of 10% partner funds in place and also show support from the locality in terms of local authority, business and community,” she said.

“Some of this can be in-kind support, but the more hard cash that is confirmed, the stronger the application.

“Local authorities have increasingly reduced or cut their community grant pots completely. Which brings us to the BID. For the past four festivals Skipton BID has come forward with a substantial 10 to 15% grant offer to lay the foundations for a realistic budget in advance of that crucial Arts Council application.

“Without the Arts Council grant, the festival can’t happen; without the BID, the Arts Council would not fund it.

“Therefore, in plain terms, if you want to see Skipton International Puppet Festival continue then please vote for the BID in January.”

Press Release – Waterway Festival is relying on BID Support

Skipton Waterway Festival is one of the big events in the town’s packed calendar – and it would not happen without BID support, says one of the owners of the family firm which organises it.

The canal-based festival attracts thousands of visitors into the town on the first May Bank Holiday weekend every year.

It is put on by Pennine Cruisers, and Zoe Venn, who owns the company with her dad and mum, Ian and Pamela Clarke, is very clear about what it would mean for the event if the BID isn’t renewed for a third term.

“Whenever I have conversations with people who are opposed to the BID, the first thing I say to them is that without the BID support, the Waterway Festival would not happen,” she said.

“The amount of financial support the BID gives us is vitally important for the festival, which is a non-profit making event.”

For the last ten years, the BID has financially supported the festival, along with many other events, including the Skipton Christmas Markets, the Skipton International Puppet Festival, and Sheep Day.

It has provided seed funding for new events, such as Skipton Car Show and Yarndale, as well as financial support for existing ones during that period, and plans to continue to develop and enhance the range of events and festivals in the town over the next five years if it levy payers vote YES for renewal in January’s ballot.

Zoe says the BID is not only vital for the Waterway Festival to continue, but for the good of the town as a whole.

“For Skipton as a whole, the BID is really important, but sometimes people aren’t aware or aren’t that interested in how things are actually funded,” she said.

“If we lost the BID, we would lose a lot of very important things that benefit the town. If people took a close look at a list of everything that could be lost if the BID isn’t renewed, I think they would quickly realise just how important it is to vote YES in January.”

The three-day Waterway Festival started in 2001 and attracts more than 10,000 visitors into Skipton.

Although it was originally run in partnership with the Canals and Rivers Trust (then British Waterways), Pennine Cruisers took on full responsibility for the event after five years.

Based around the Canal Basin, the event includes live music, family entertainment, stalls, crafts, rides, and water-based attractions.

Zoe says the non-profit making event relies on the funding the BID is able to provide them to keep going.

“Ten years ago, we were able to find money from other sources, but business is hard now and we just wouldn’t be able to get that same level of sponsorship and grant support,” she said.

“The Town Council helps with staffing and infrastructure, and Craven District Council gives us the space in the car park, but neither is likely to have the budgets any more to do anything else.

“To make the event work, we have all the costs of security, stewarding, setting up the stages and marquees, all the running costs. That’s where the BID money comes in.

“This is a not-for-profit event and it’s free for anyone who wants to come along and enjoy it. I genuinely believe we couldn’t do it without that money.

“Like all the festivals the BID supports, this one benefits the whole town. People might spend two or three hours enjoying our attractions, but then many of them will head to the town centre and walk down the High Street and into the shops, and have a drink or a meal. I’m absolutely certain it must boost footfall for the whole of the town.

“But it also provides something for this end of town as well and brings people down here to have a look what is on offer here.

“It’s a great free event for local residents to come to as well as visitors, and it undoubtedly brings in significant numbers of visitors.”

BID manager Geraldine Thompson said supporting festivals like this was vital and benefitted the whole town.

“Even if your own business doesn’t appear to benefit directly from the tens of thousands who visit each year for these events, it undoubtedly benefits indirectly,” she said.

“Visitors support businesses. Businesses support employees. Employees live in the town – and then spend money on local businesses and services.”

Skipton BID is a business-led partnership that has worked for almost 10 years to improve the safety, vitality, cleanliness and visitor appeal of the town.

Press Release – Town meaning business as ambitious plans launched

The ambitious five-year plan for the third term of Skipton BID will see £800,000 invested to continue to take the town forward.

Guests at the launch of the BID Business Plan were told it was “vital” to the town’s future well-being.

Details of the plan were unveiled by BID manager Geraldine Thompson at the event at the Black Horse.

They include significant work to improve the events and festivals offered by the town, continued improvements to the cleanliness and upkeep of the streets to make Skipton even more attractive, and a new raft of support for businesses as well as the continued funding of very successful crime reduction and safety initiatives.

The three key objectives the plan focuses on are entitled Visit Skipton, Business Support, and Attractive and Clean.

The investment will be split into £300,000 for Visit Skipton, and £250,000 for each of the others.

The plan also contains many testimonials from key players in the town stressing how important it is for a YES vote when the renewal ballot takes place in January.

The town’s biggest employer, Skipton Building Society, along with Skipton Town Council, Skipton Chamber of Trade & Commerce, and businesses and festivals in the town, all give their backing to the BID in the plan document.

SBS chief executive David Cutter states: “A thriving town is of huge benefit to our employees, and to our business in general. The combined investment of all levy payers is vital to Skipton and makes a real difference.”

The plan stresses the many areas to which the BID has made a difference over the last ten years as a result of the £1.5 million it has invested.

These include CCTV, Skipton Crime Reduction Partnership, Visit Skipton, Skipton In Bloom, the Town Ambassadors, the Christmas Lights Switch On and the lights themselves, the many festivals and events the town hosts, including Sheep Day, the Waterway Festival, Skipton International Puppet Festival, and the Christmas Markets, Skipton Cycle Races, and the support given to businesses.

And it stresses that failure to support the BID would mean the loss of many of these and a reduction in the scope of all of them.

It also points out that many surrounding towns, including Colne, Keighley, Lancaster and Otley already have BIDs up and running, and others, including Bradford, Harrogate, Burnley, Ilkley, Ripon and Knaresborough are in development.

“It’s very clear that BIDs are here to stay. It’s not the time for Skipton to be left behind,” the plan states.

The three key objectives as laid out in the plan are:

  • Visit Skipton: We will continue to develop the Visit Skipton brand by investing in promotional and marketing initiatives aimed at maintaining and enhancing Skipton’s position as a high quality tourist destination. We will continue to support a programme of quality events and festivals aimed at attracting visitors and residents into the BID area.
  • Business Support: We will continue to support initiatives aimed at making our town a safer and more secure place to visit and to run a business. We will provide a ‘toolbox’ of services, training, data and information aimed at helping businesses improve the quality of their offer and make better informed choices.
  • Attractive and Clean: We will continue to invest in, and improve further, the attractiveness and cleanliness of our town. We will invest in appropriate infrastructure improvements in our town centre area.

In terms of Visit Skipton, the plan states: “Over the last five years, Skipton BID has developed the Visit Skipton brand into a regionally and nationally recognised destination management organisation, helping to promote the town and ensure Skipton holds on to its position as a tourist attraction in its own right. Skipton BID has also continued to support, enhance, seed fund and develop Skipton’s range of events and festivals.”

Over its next term the BID will continue to develop the Visit Skipton branding, redeveloping the website as the key source of information for visitors, promoting the town regionally and nationally, continuing to build relationships with coach and group travel operators, looking to promote Skipton to international markets, developing and enhancing social media promotion, and working with partner organisations to maintain and enhance the profile of the town.

The BID will be looking to support the development of Sheep Day into a week-long festival and look at celebrating the tenth anniversary of the very popular Flock to Skipton event in 2010, which the BID funded, with a new Flock Back to Skipton project.

It will also continue to develop and enhance the range of events and festivals in Skipton by helping to seed-fund and support new events and projects in the town, support the redevelopment and enhancement of the Waterway Festival and Christmas Markets, and support the development of the internationally renowned Puppet Festival as a high-quality event.

It will also look to bring in new initiatives to enhance the benefits of events and festival for the whole of the business community and for local residents.

For Business Support, the BID will look to improve substantially on the range of support services provided to businesses within the BID area.

This will include further development of safety and security measures aimed at making the town safer to live, work and visit – and much less attractive to opportunist criminals.

The BID will also develop a new ‘Toolbox’ of services and initiatives available to levy payers at either no cost or at very favourable rates.

The safety and security aspect will include continuing to fund and maintain the newly installed CCTV system in the town centre, to keep funding and developing the Skipton Crime Reduction Partnership, and to keep funding and promoting the ‘ShopWatch’ radio scheme.

The BID will also continue to fund and promote the S.T.A.N.D (Stopping Trouble and Night-time Disorder) for licensed premises, and will continue to fund and develop the Town Centre Ambassador Scheme.

It will also continue to fund and promote the ‘Best Bar None’ scheme for licensed premises and fund and promote additional security advice and assistance to levy payers.

As part of the BID Toolbox, it will continue to contribute to the funding of footfall counters and other data capture services, develop a ‘mystery shopper’ scheme to assist retail and other businesses, and continue to support and develop schemes aimed at encouraging the use of local providers, and look at promotional trails and sector-related printed and online materials.

It also plans to develop a portfolio of free and heavily discounted business training opportunities, a range of subsidised business support tools – including the provision of grant-finding software, and access to HR advice and staffing and business support schemes.

For Attractive and Clean, the BID will be focusing on keeping the town “looking great.”

“Over the last ten years, Skipton BID has invested substantial amounts of money in improving the ‘look’ of the town centre area – but there is more to be done,” the plan states.

“In the third term we will look to develop this further, aiming to ensure Skipton gains a reputation for its cleanliness and attention to detail.”

The work planned as part of that includes continuing to fund and support Skipton in Bloom community group in maintaining, enhancing and adding to the floral displays across the town.

The BID will also fund a new initiative to provide additional cleaning in the town centre every working day, to achieve a higher standard and specification of cleanliness.

It will also continue a scheme to improve the condition, cleanliness and attractiveness of ginnels and alleyways, continue with the provision of themed bunting, lamp post banners and other similar materials to brighten the town centre area, and keep working with landlords and business owners to enhance the look of empty properties and properties in general through seasonal window painting schemes.

With the help of partners, it will look at developing and funding a new five-year Christmas lighting scheme covering the whole of the town centre area, and developing a scheme to improve signage, signposting and other initiatives to ensure visitors can enjoy all parts of our town centre area.

It will also work with partners to improve and enhance the quality of seating and other street furniture within the town centre, and look at resolving the long-standing issue of unsightly railway bridges on the entrances to our town.

Geraldine said: “Skipton BID adds a huge amount to the vitality of the town but the benefits are not always obvious. By helping to make it an attractive place to visit, we’re not just bringing in tourists to spend money on gifts, food and accommodation, we’re encouraging people to move here to live, to work, to invest and create jobs – all of which helps to protect our future economy.

“The BID is embedded in the infrastructure of Skipton now and its work underpins the future prosperity of everyone who believes in our town.”