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Ilkley businesses report positive impact of BID

A recent survey of Ilkley Business Improvement District members showed 85% feel the BID has been positive for the town.

BID Manager and small business owner Helen Rhodes, who is actively consulting with the town’s 300 levy payers ahead of the next five-year vote in February, reported an encouraging response to the survey with more than 85% saying they valued the BID’s proactive marketing of the town’s businesses, events and facilities to local and regional audiences. The results will now support the ongoing consultation process to determine the primary projects for Ilkley from 2024 – 2029.

Helen said: “We are immensely grateful to those local levy paying businesses that have taken the time to send us their thoughts and feedback on the last five years’ work of the BID, alongside their thoughts for the town’s future business plan. All comments and opinions will help us to create a five-year business plan which will form the basis of independently run ballot in the hopes of securing a further five-year term to safeguard our identity, our offering and our voice.”

She added: “It’s been really heartening to get so many positive comments and to know that so many local businesses appreciate and understand the role and the importance of the BID for Ilkley. On behalf of our small team which continues to work so hard to deliver on individual and collective business needs – thank you for your feedback and we’re looking forward to creating a plan, for your consideration, to benefit our town’s future.”

Ilkley BID is funded by Ilkley businesses and is run by a board of voluntary directors who represent all business sectors. It operates as a not-for-profit company and since launching in 2019, funds have been invested in a range of services including marketing and promotion of the town, maintaining Ilkley as an attractive place, business support and lobbying on behalf of its members. Under legislation, Business Improvement Districts can only operate for a maximum of five years and Ilkley’s vote in February 2024 will determine whether businesses want the BID company to operate for a further five years from June 2024 to May 2029.

BID Chair and local business owner, Ian White, said: “The BID’s primary aim has been to create one voice for businesses to ensure we are seen, heard, visited and that we create a memorable experience to encourage repeat footfall and support employee attraction and retention. There is a popular misconception that Bradford Council should pay for the services the BID is delivering, but the likes of pavement cleaning, Christmas lights, improving the appearance at the rear of the Grove, flower bed development and historic restoration projects are simply not on Bradford council’s agenda – and are not likely to be for years to come.

“All BID projects are about providing over and above the local council remit and right now, there are 330 BIDs across the UK who are forging their own town’s futures, irrespective of the challenges of their local councils. Never has it been more important to have the support, the funds, the autonomy and the drive to keep on improving Ilkley, keep on investing in Ilkley and to be united in our vision to keep Ilkley as the best place to live, work, visit and to do business.”

Richard Town, BID supporter and owner of independent menswear retailer Raymond Town Menswear at Rear of 30, The Grove told us “I have valued the input of the BID team so far and feel the small annual investment for the upcoming term can only build on the great work already done to protect, preserve and promote our town and ensure the town is safeguarded from current and future council budget cuts.”

Survey feedback has already helped to identify potential projects for Ilkley BID’s 2024 – 2029 business plan such as a town-wide anti-crime radio scheme, additional activities to help keep the BID area clean,  promotion and support of major town events including Yorkshire Day 2025 which is being co-hosted by Bradford and Ilkley, maximising Ilkley’s visibility and involvement in Bradford’s City of Culture year and pushing for continual investment in the town.

Consultation with Ilkley businesses continues and any BID member who hasn’t yet completed the survey or provided feedback by other means has until 31 December to contribute. Please email Helen Rhodes on  helen@ilkleybid.co.uk.

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