The loss of Skipton Business Improvement District would have a major impact on the appearance of the town, says the Skipton In Bloom (SIB) group.
SIB has transformed Skipton since it was formed 14 years ago, making sure the streets are attractive and welcoming in all weathers.
But the group has warned that its work will be severely restricted if the BID is not renewed in the ongoing ballot.
The group says that the majority of the floral displays would disappear without the funding it receives from the BID.
Skipton in Bloom’s treasurer David Bradbury and vice-chairman Sue Warburton say that the BID support is vital for the group and the work it does.
Skipton in Bloom was formed in 2005 as a community group, becoming a registered charity in 2016. The group’s members represent Craven College, the Stepping Stones II Project, the Rotary Club of Skipton, Skipton Gardeners Club, Skipton Town Council and the BID, together with a dedicated team of local residents and volunteers.
Dave and Sue said: “The original group was formed to make Skipton more attractive for all who visit, live and work in the town, but it also aims to stimulate horticultural interest with local schools, groups and individuals and to encourage local pride.
“When we started in 2005, much of the work was done by a small group of volunteers who took care of the planting and hanging of baskets themselves.”
They say the work has expanded dramatically over the years.
“It has become necessary to appoint and work alongside local contractors in order to keep all the containers, baskets and barrels planted up twice a year and watered during the summer months.
“On-going maintenance of the Diamond Jubilee Community Garden on Newmarket Garden and the Cenotaph Garden at the top of the High Street is carried out on volunteer work days, and a rolling programme of bulb planting, in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Skipton, continues to enhance the spring displays. SIB also look after the barrels in front of the Town Hall on behalf of Craven District Council.”
The group has a huge impact to the way the town looks, say Dave and Sue.
“As a town which thrives on its appeal to tourists and visitors, it is important that Skipton appears bright and welcoming. Working closely with our planting contractors, we aim for plant combinations which will provide as much of a ‘wow’ factor as possible.
“In a year celebrating an anniversary or event, appropriate colour schemes are chosen wherever possible to endorse the theme.
“The town’s heritage is also considered in all our projects. Hanging basket trees complement existing street furniture, local stone used to construct new seating and our narrowboat planters were designed specifically to reflect the town’s industrial past.
“Our floral displays are concentrated at the town entrances and in high footfall areas for maximum impact. In the Bus Station, Canal Basin, and Coach Street car park in particular, a large number of barrier planters, barrels and hanging baskets welcome everyone who visits, lives and works in the town.”
They say the funding from the BID has been provided since the BID started in 2009 and has made a huge difference to the work Skipton In Bloom can do.
“Skipton BID has supported SIB since 2009 and the continued funding has led to a phenomenal increase in the number of floral displays around the town in both the summer and winter months,” said Dave and Sue.
“Skipton BID has funded purchases of new planters, seasonal planting and watering schedules – all of which have had a major impact on how the town looks.
“In just the last twelve months, BID funding has enabled SIB to purchase and install barrier and lamppost planters in the Canal Basin/Coach Street car park area, increase the number of hanging basket displays in Victoria Square and place newtiered hexagonal planters at either side of Town Hall main entrance.
“The 2018 summer heatwave provided a challenge to our floral displays, but thanks to Skipton BID funding, we were able to increase the frequency of watering schedules.
“If the BID was not renewed, then quite simply the majority of the floral displays would disappear and the town would lose its bright and welcoming appearance,” they said.
“Skipton BID are SIB’s main source of funding and, if that was no longer available to us, it would significantly limit the work we were able to do.”
Both agree the BID is vital for the whole town, and urged businesses to vote YES.
“We need to build on all the hard work that has taken place over the last ten years, not see it go to waste,” they said.