Town champions wanted as BID discussions progress

PUBLISHED: 11:17 09 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:20 09 March 2017

George Street, Saffron Walden

George Street, Saffron Walden

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Saffron Walden Town Team is encouraging town centre business owners and staff to join forces in a project to improve the area for everyone.

Saffron Walden High StreetSaffron Walden High Street

A recent survey, conducted on behalf of the Town Team and Uttlesford District Council, found that 87% of the business owners spoken to were supportive of the creation of a business improvement district (BID) for the High Street, George Street, Common Hill and Church Street.

That’s not to say that a BID will be created, just that we will be talking to more people in the coming weeks to see what they think.

A BID is a legal entity – established for five years – that invests in delivering improvements based on an agreed business plan. All businesses inside the BID area get a say in what improvements should be included, and then vote on the final proposals. An extensive consultation is planned between now and November. A new BID Steering Group made up of local business owners and managers will drive the process.

Neil Gregory, Town Team chairman, said: “This is a great opportunity for a serious discussion about what’s best for Saffron Walden town centre businesses. More than 200 towns and cities around the UK have elected to set up a BID, including Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket. They’re popular because they work – but what you get out of them depends entirely on what you put in.”

Anyone who owns or works for a business within the proposed BID area can help translate opinion into action by becoming a street representative or member of the BID steering group.

Street reps will be fully briefed and allocated a defined patch. They will then be asked to invest just an hour or two each week in maintaining contact with neighbouring owners, managers and senior staff.

The Town Team is holding an event on March 21 at 5.45pm in the Kings Arms where local business owners and staff can ask questions and volunteer for either of these roles. Details will also be shared via email and social media. To receive regular Town Team updates email SaffronWaldenBID@gmail.com.

More information about the BID process, and improvements achieved by other BID areas, may be found at www.saffronwaldentownteam.co.uk/overview.

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