Comet backs Letchworth BID

Comet editor Darren Isted with Letchworth town centre manager Lee Boswell

Comet editor Darren Isted with Letchworth town centre manager Lee Boswell - Credit: Archant

THE Comet newspaper is set to back the Letchworth GC Business Improvement District (BID).

Businesses in Letchworth GC will vote for or against the creation of a BID after North Herts District Council’s (NHDC) Cabinet approved the plan in July.

The purpose of a BID is for businesses to come together to plan and implement activities that will further develop their trade.

A final business plan based on almost two years of consultations, surveys, workshops and forums with business owners and shoppers, was presented to the NHDC Letchworth Area Committee last night (Wednesday).

The business plan outlines the main areas the BID will tackle. These are events and promotional activities, access and parking, marketing, and developing what the town has to offer.

These are specifically designed to increase footfall, give people reasons to come to Letchworth GC, spend locally and stay longer.

These will be funded by a BID levy paid by every business in the BID area. The amount businesses pay is linked to their rateable value. The money will then be invested collectively.

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Businesses will cast their vote by postal ballot in October. They will be voting on whether they wish the Letchworth GC BID to become operational. If it is voted for by the majority, the business plan will be implemented over the next five years. Each rateable property has one vote.

The Letchworth GC BID will be governed by an independent elected board to oversee the delivery of the business plan and BID projects.

If successful, it will commence in March 2014 and will run for five years. If the BID does not deliver it can simply be terminated at the end of its five-year term by businesses not voting for renewal.

Letchworth town centre manager, Lee Boswell, said: “Thanks to the support of NHDC the Letchworth BID is a step closer. Following ratification by Cabinet back in July we’ve been busy engaging with businesses within the proposed BID area.

“Our final business plan reflects almost two years of consultation with our key stakeholders. We’re now at the point where there is a clear groundswell of support for the BID and the huge opportunities it will bring to the town centre.

“Recent key backers range from Morrisons, Costa Coffee and Gates of Letchworth, right through to some of our smaller independent traders.

“Businesses get to cast their all-important vote next month with the outcome announced at the end of October.”

Comet editor, Darren Isted, said: “Having a BID in Letchworth GC is a great step forward and one that is fully supported by the Comet. I have seen the benefits of the BID in Royston and Hitchin and I hope that it will be just as successful in Letchworth GC.”

The ballot closes on October 28 at 5pm. The result will be announced the following day.

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