Meeting set for Letchworth businesses to discuss BID investment

Retailers and businesses will meet next Thursday to discuss plans for a business improvement distric

Retailers and businesses will meet next Thursday to discuss plans for a business improvement district (BID) in Letchworth GC - Credit: Archant

RETAILERS and businesses are being consulted on proposals that could boost the fortunes of a town centre.

As previously reported by the Comet, studies, business forums and surveys have been undertaken in Letchworth GC to establish whether retailers and businesses would like to support plans to introduce a business improvement district (BID) in the town.

Next Thursday, the team behind the BID will be unveiling their initial plans and the results of the consultations and surveys at a business forum.

The forum, which was previously scheduled for October last year, will start at 6pm at the Broadway Hotel, Letchworth GC.

Mr Boswell said: “We would urge all local businesses and retailers who want to see a significant change in Letchworth to attend.”

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“Early indications are positive. We can’t afford to be complacent and carry on with business as usual. 2012 was a tough year for retail and early 2013 has seen some big names fall. We’ve looked at the success stories from around the UK where BIDs have been introduced including our close neighbours in Hitchin.

“Their recent free parking after 3pm trial was funded by the Hitchin BID and is something we could replicate in Letchworth should retailers and businesses vote yes,” he added.

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Mr Boswell said that many retailers are already backing the Letchworth BID on the basis that the levy collected from businesses and retailers will improve the town with services such as subsidised or even free parking, improved marketing and promotion, more events, research to improve the retail mix, and help for new start up businesses being funded by the kitty.

All funds collected from the BID levy, payable by businesses within a geographical area, would be ring-fenced and can only be used to fund the activities as agreed and voted on by the businesses within the BID.

Chair of the steering group, Chris Gerard said: “We’re facing troubled times of deep economic uncertainty. The BID is not necessarily a silver bullet to all our problems but by listening to, consulting with and taking onboard everyone’s comments and concerns we believe that it is the best way forward.”

Mr Gerard added: “The BID process is open and democratic, with the first step being this month’s business forum followed by the release of the business plan. Every step of the way we’ll be consulting and talking to businesses and retailers.

“We’re also delighted to have both David Scholes and John Lewis, chief executives of NHDC and the Heritage Foundation respectively, confirmed as speakers on February 28.

“For any business who wants to have a say in the economic future of the town this is a must attend event,” he added.

For the latest news on the progress of the Letchworth BID visit

To book your space at the business forum on February 28 call 01462 486999.

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