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.”