Business improvement district ‘invests thousands’ in town centre

Saffron Walden

Saffron Walden - Credit: Archant

Almost £50,000 has been invested into Saffron Walden during the first year since a business improvement district (BID) was formed.

According to BID officials, some £49,442 - levied from BID members - has been spent on initiatives designed to improve and promote the town centre.

The projects include operating a free 'meet and greet' service for organised coach trips to the town, running prize draws based on a £5 spend in a participating shop, running a vintage bus service in the run up to Christmas 2018 to attract visitors from Audley End House and Audley End Miniature Railway into town, and setting up a WhatsApp group for businesses to report crime and anti-social behaviour.

A business improvement district is a defined area within which businesses are required to pay an additional tax in order to fund projects within the district's boundaries.

Jim Brewin, chairman of Saffron Walden BID, said: "Saffron Walden's BID is led by businesses, for businesses, and we exist to improve and promote our town centre and make it even better for shoppers, visitors and residents.

"It's been a busy first year testing and delivering initiatives on which we can build on in year two. I'm proud that we have worked with many of our local businesses and partners and carefully invested in the community - be it on initiatives around parking, safety or talking up our excellent local businesses.

"I'm looking forward to year two - if we get this right, we can together meet the challenges of the internet and Brexit uncertainty - and our shops, offices and traders will thrive for many years to come."

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Among its activities in its first year, the BID also promoted the MiPermit App, making it easier to park without cash and remotely extend stay in the town centre, and also organised an Easter Egg hunt with characters hidden in the windows of 22 participating independent shops.

The BID's first full accounts are set to be published later this year, together with a plan for future projects and activities.