Welwyn Garden City businesses have given their backing and voted ‘YES’ in favour of setting up a Business Improvement District (BID) for the town centre.
The BID will see businesses investing £1.5 million in the area over the next five years and will come into operation on the 1st April 2017.
Results announced on Friday 28th October showed that 66.7% of votes cast voted in favour of the BID by total number of businesses, and 77% of votes cast voted in favour of the BID by Rateable Value. The vote gives the go-ahead for the BID business plan to drive investment in the town centre, whilst giving local businesses a stronger influence on how the town centre is marketed, maintained and managed.
The business plan the vision is to: ‘‘To create a town centre which is innovative and modern, which builds on the unique Garden City principles and characteristics to make it a great place to visit, work and live.’ The BID will focus on encouraging people to visit the town centre more often, staying longer and investing more in the local economy. There are four key objectives set out in the business plan – creating a town centre which is animated and attractive, promoted and celebrated, welcoming and accessible with a great business and leisure offer.
Paul Haynes, Interim Chairman of the BID Board and Manager of the Howard Centre said: “We are overjoyed that town centre businesses have demonstrated their confidence and enthusiasm in the BID Business Plan. This is the beginning of a very exciting time for Welwyn Garden City. Over the next few months the Board will be busy working behind the scenes to set up the new BID company, with its new structure and working groups so that we can be ready to start delivering the plan on 1st April 2017.”
Paul continued “This is superb news for Welwyn Garden City town centre and a huge congratulations to all the businesses which rallied and joined forces to ensure we secured today’s yes vote. Our new BID will be led and driven by the businesses themselves and this funding and commitment of collaboration will enable us to build on the town centre’s unique strengths and assets. I must also thank Chris Hooper, for his leadership throughout this process and who until last month chaired the Town Centre Partnership and was head of branch at John Lewis. He has moved on to a new post in John Lewis at Bristol.”
Over 250 BIDs are already operating successfully in the country. Their success is due to the fact that they are focused, cost effective and entrepreneurial.
The BID business plan is available to download at www.wgcbid.co.uk
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