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.”