Hitchin businesses vote 'yes' in BID reballot
PUBLISHED: 08:32 12 December 2018 | UPDATED: 08:32 12 December 2018
Christmas has come early for those who run the Hitchin Business Improvement District, which will now continue for another five years following a ballot by the town's businesses.
A large majority voted in favour of continuing to pay a levy to fund the work of the BID – which is responsible for events in the town and other projects – with 83.5 per cent voting ‘yes’.
Town centre manager Tom Hardy said: “There has never been a more important time for businesses to work together to keep our town a vibrant, clean, safe and well-promoted place.
“I am confident that the plan we have in place for Hitchin is robust and exciting enough to withstand many of the challenges facing the high street over the coming years.
“I want to thank my team, who have worked alongside me to ensure all voices and opinions were heard in the town and supported the renewal every step of the way.
“It’s really reassuring that so many businesses appreciate the work we undertake and want us to continue.
“Thanks also to Keith Hoskins, whose 22 years as town centre manager laid solid foundations for me to work on.
“Hitchin is a beautiful unique historic town with so much to offer.
“As always, please consider our independent shops and businesses when Christmas shopping this year, they work so hard all year round to make the town a great place to visits.
“Lastly, on behalf of the Hitchin BID and the town centre businesses, I want to wish you all a merry Christmas and prosperous new year.”
The Hitchin BID is a business-funded initiative allowing firms to raise their own precept and choose what additional projects they would like to fund.
Tom Hardy, who took over from Keith Hoskins in March this year, has worked with more than 600 business owners and managers in the town to form a five-year investment plan for the Hitchin.
The plan was then put out to vote giving allowing 28 days to vote. Key aims in the plan include tackling changes in consumer behaviour and to “create an immersive experience for new and existing visitors to town”.
Other priorities are creating vibrancy in the town and to invest more in promotion and marketing of Hitchin.
The result means the BID has secured a further five years and £1.6 million of investment.