A significant step has been taken in the journey to establish a Business Improvement District in Ripon - a project that the task group behind the plans said has enjoyed a very supportive response from the city’s business community.
The Ripon Gazette can confirm today that a feasibility study for a BID is now under way, and is due to be finished by July 31.
More than 300 BIDs have now been launched in towns and cities across the UK, where business rate payers are charged a levy in addition to their business rates bill in a defined area.
The revenue is then used to drive forward ambitious projects to benefit businesses, decided by businesses, which must be additional improvements that Harrogate Borough Council and other local authorities do not already provide on a statutory basis.
Ripon BID task group member Stuart Baldwin said the feasibility study represents an important step for a number of reasons.
He said: “It’s very significant because the aim is to identify and confirm the actual area for the BID, and to then say with some confidence whether Ripon is in a position to make a success of a BID after obtaining the views of businesses.
“BIDs have made big differences in other towns and cities, and we are confident it can do so in Ripon. Ripon businesses will be responsible for developing a plan to make Ripon even better, and given the talent we have in Ripon, I am sure we can not only develop a great plan but more importantly implement it to make businesses more successful for the benefit of everyone in Ripon.”
Mr Baldwin and the rest of the Ripon BID team hope that support from businesses will continue to grow as the plans emerge.
He said: “We will need people to step up to contribute, and I am hoping that once people see what the benefits are then more people will come forward. Businesses have been very supportive - we had a great turnout at the meeting to decide to progress with this, and have had positive feedback since then.
"Businesses have been very supportive, we had a great turnout at the meeting to decide to progress with this and have had positive feedback since then. During the feasibility study, the consultants we are using will be sending out surveys to a proportion of businesses to get their views on what is important to them, what they think will benefit Ripon most, and to understand any concerns.
"In addition, there will be a couple of workshops where people will have an opportunity to give their views on what is important to them. At the feasibility study stage not everyone will be contacted, however if you want to be involved please make contact with the BID team."
Ripon BID's contact email address is: email@example.com.