Letchworth town centre manager Tom Hardy on his sentimental connection with the garden city and drive to improve what’s on offer

Letchworth BID manager Tom Hardy talks all things garden city in his weekly Comet column.

Letchworth BID manager Tom Hardy talks all things garden city in his weekly Comet column. - Credit: Archant

I am passionate about Letchworth Garden City and all that it has to offer as a fantastic place to live and as a great base for business.

Being a born and bred Letchworthian, I left my events role in Hertford and started as manager of the Letchworth Garden City Business Improvement District – the BID, or Love Letchworth – back in January 2016.

This long-term sentimental connection with the town has given me the drive and passion to work toward the town centre’s future success.

Since starting, I have run four major events, including the Letchworth Food and Drink festival – which saw more than 35,000 people visit the town over two days – and the Town Centre Takeover event with System Restore UK, which included gaming areas, VR booths, an inflatable assault course and a 70m giant waterslide down the main high street, Leys Avenue.

I also introduced the first two-day town centre Beer and World Food Festival, with more than 22,000 people on the Saturday alone, as well as a Christmas light switch-on and various family events in the run-up to Christmas.

Last year saw the introduction of a weekly car boot sale and a weekly general market, and we introduced various buskers and street performers to come into the town on weekends.

I launched the loveletchworth.com website and worked with a marketing company to rebrand the BID and its promotions.

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Other projects included the introduction of free training for businesses, a mystery shopping programme, the Loving Letchworth Awards scheme, regular traders’ meetings and monthly newsletters.

The BID successfully lobbied for the implementation of a £250,000 signage scheme, which was completed last year, and sourced a company to take on our social media, which has seen substantial increases on all platforms.

We have seen a dramatic change to the offer of the town centre. More shops, restaurant, eateries and a brand new theatre have all brought the town back to life.

It’s important to remember that the BID is only made possible by the financial contributions from our local town centre businesses.

Every penny you spend in a Letchworth town centre business supports the shop owners who make the events you love possible.

To find out more, have a look at loveletchworth.com or email Tom at bid@loveletchworth.com.