Town Team – Successful summer as Christmas lurks around the corner

PUBLISHED: 11:09 16 September 2017

Passengers on their way back to Audley End having enjoyed a horse and carriage ride from Saffron Walden town centre. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Passengers on their way back to Audley End having enjoyed a horse and carriage ride from Saffron Walden town centre. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Copyright © 2017 Celia Bartlett Photography

Since the Horse And Carriage trial and Music in the Square at the end of July we’ve been talking to lots of local business owners about how they think the town works for them.

But while we’re still on the subject of the Horse And Carriage trial, thank you everybody who came on board quite literally and helped us work out if this is a sensible idea for the town. We got lots of really useful feedback.

We were especially pleased to find out that about 20% of the people we spoke to over the weekend wouldn’t normally have come into the town centre. So, if we can just work out a few of the finer details we think this would really be a boost for the town next summer.

As I am sure people know, the Town Team is also investigating whether creating a Business Improvement District (BID) would help the local economy. We’ve been finding out what local business owners think needs to be done that a BID may be able to support and promote. If successful, a BID would also take over responsibility for funding and managing some of the Town Team activities.

A BID creates a legally accountable structure in which local businesses drive and fund activities they feel will help them thrive. This is in addition to any services councils are obliged to provide. More than 270 centres in around the country have voted to set these up, including in Cambridge, Newmarket, Royston and Bury St Edmunds – which means there is increasing town centre competition on our doorstep. Like us, Bishops Stortford is going through the process right now.

We also want to find out the views of residents on some of the specific issues. If you are interested in taking part, please email us saffronwaldenbid@gmail.com

We think this is really important as 70% of all money spent locally stays in the local economy so businesses need to know how they can make themselves more attractive to all of us.

And meanwhile now that autumn is here, we’re gearing up for Christmas and thinking about the December Independent Retail Challenge. We know there’s lots being planned locally, including Late Night Shopping and the Christmas Lights Switch-on on December 1, and events at both Audley End House & Gardens and the Miniature Railway. Surely it can’t be that time already...

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