Hitchin BID urges businesses to vote ‘yes’ in ballot

PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 October 2018

Hitchin BID manager Tom Hardy explains why businesses should vote 'yes'. Picture; Hitchin BID

Hitchin BID manager Tom Hardy explains why businesses should vote 'yes'. Picture; Hitchin BID

Archant

Hitchin town centre business owners will soon be issued ballot papers to vote on whether they would like the work of the Hitchin Business Improvement District to continue for another five-year term.

The Hitchin BID organises popular events in the town centre, and has also paid for “substantial improvements” in the town which include the cardboard and paper recycling service, enhanced CCTV and seasonal floral displays.

Hitchin BID manager Tom Hardy said: “For the last 10 years Hitchin has enjoyed the benefits of a BID through which almost two-and-a-half million pounds of additional investment has been spent in our town.

“This has paid for substantial improvements that have made a tangible positive difference to the cleanliness, vibrancy and safety of the town.

“If we do nothing, the BID will stop on March 31, 2019, and everything – and I mean everything – will grind to a halt and then disappear.

“No Rangers, a reduced security presence, no Christmas lights, no Independents’ Day or similar events, the list is substantial.

“You can, if you want to, renew the BID’s term for a further five years, continue the great activities we have all come so used to, and do more on top too.”

A prospectus has been produced and distributed to business owners which highlights plans for the next five years, should the BID be renewed.

It states that keys aims are to tackle changes in consumer behaviour and “create an immersive experience for new and existing visitors to town”.

The business plan aims based on what businesses have suggested needs to be done and the investments they are willing to make.

Its priorities include creating vibrancy in the town, to invest more in promotion and marketing of Hitchin, maintain it as a clean and safe place for visitors and to help businesses with cost saving initiatives and ensure they are represented.

If voted through, town centre businesses will continue to pay a levy for a further five years to help fund these initiatives.

In preparation for the upcoming ballot, Hitchin BID carried out a consultation with its members in the form of a survey, a series of workshops, created a renewal group and consulted with North Herts District Council and other public bodies.

Ballot papers will be issued on November 7 to businesses in the BID area, and voting closes on December 5. Visit hitchinherts.com/hitchin-bid to find out more.

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