Draft plan for business improvement district in Saffron Walden unveiled by town group

PUBLISHED: 11:17 13 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:17 13 March 2018

High Street, Saffron Walden.

High Street, Saffron Walden.

Archant

A draft plan for 280 businesses in Saffron Walden to become part of a Business Improvement District (BID) and receive £450,000 of investment over five years has been unveiled.

The proposed BID area includes businesses within the boundary of the High Street, Church Street, Common Hill, Elm Grove and Gold Street.

The Saffron Walden BID steering group, made up of business owners and managers in the town, carried out consultations between April and November 2017 to understand and highlight key issues for businesses and stakeholders and to explore potential future projects for the BID.

Jim Brewin, chairman of the steering group and branch manager of Waitrose, said: “Saffron Walden is a unique place with an extensive heritage, amazing shops and businesses, cultural and family attractions. These all combine to offer great potential for the future. But we do need to do something special to support it now. I believe a BID offers us the best way for businesses to control what needs to be done to help us.”

Any business within the BID area with a rateable value of greater than £5,000 will pay an annual levy of 1.5 percent.

Businesses in Saffron Walden town centre that qualify to pay the levy will be asked to vote on whether or not they want the BID to implement the business plan over the next five years, from 2019 to 2024. Each qualified rateable property has one vote and a proxy vote will be available.

Proposed projects include supporting the initiation of a town-wide Wi-Fi network, holding a Sunday artisan food or craft market and lobbying for one and three-month season tickets for Swan Meadow car park to be available for people who work in the town.

Greg Smith, vice chairman of the steering group and co-founder of Hill St. chocolatier, said: “With technology changing the way people spend their time and money and the increased investment by towns around us, we in Saffron Walden, need to make changes too.”

Following a successful ballot the payment of the annual levy by each business in the BID area is compulsory and set in legislation.

Businesses and stakeholders are encouraged to read the plan and send feedback and questions to saffronwaldenbid@gmail.com by March 10.

The final business plan will be distributed in April.

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