Businesses give backing to new BID initiative for Saffron Walden

PUBLISHED: 07:56 06 July 2018

Saffron Walden BID steering group. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Saffron Walden BID steering group. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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Businesses in Saffron Walden town centre have voted in favour of introducing a Business Improvement District (BID) in the town.

Saffron Walden will now join more than 300 other places in UK already seeing their own BIDs transform their town centres.

The result, announced on Monday, followed a month-long postal ballot, during which the owners of the 279 business premises in the BID area voted, with a 68.2 per cent majority in favour of the BID and a turnout of 47.3 per cent.

Businesses have voted for a 1.5 per cent levy on their rateable values, which will raise around £90,000 each year for five years to be used to support business growth initiatives in the town centre.

Jim Brewin, steering group chairman, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for town centre businesses in Saffron Walden. I have been privileged to work with local businesses and others over the past 18 months to get to this point.

“We are excited to have been given the democratic mandate to work together to better realise the potential for Saffron Walden’s businesses with this major investment over the next five years. I have no doubt the BID will make a real difference in our town and help businesses to thrive.”

The BID will be dedicated to delivering projects, programmes and services to businesses in the town centre.

Howard Ryles, cabinet member at Uttlesford District Council, said: “With excellent leadership in place from Jim Brewin of Waitrose we didn’t hesitate to back the BID steering team with resources, and as a levy payer into the BID we considered it important to back the BID team and vote ‘yes’.

“We fully understand that a minority of businesses voted against the BID so now the decision has been made it’s important for all of us to now work together to ensure the future success of our town centre wherever that may take us.”

The Saffron Walden Town Centre BID will be inclusive and have a voluntary membership scheme for businesses outside the actual BID area. A business-led, not-for-profit company will be set up to run the BID aiming to start work from December.

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