Saffron Walden businesses voted YES to a Business Improvement District

Businesses in Saffron Walden have come together to form a Business Improvement District to help maintain and boost the vitality and viability of our historic town centre.

We delighted that businesses in Saffron Walden Town Centre voted strongly in favour of the proposals for a Business Improvement District (BID) for our town. Saffron Walden will now join over 300 other places in UK already seeing their own BIDs transform their town centres.

The result announced on Monday 2 July 2018 followed a month-long postal ballot, during the owners of the 279 business premises in the BID area voted a 68.2% majority in favour (with a total business rateable value of 75% which was greater than those voting no). The turnout was 47.3% – a higher than national average for BIDs. Businesses have voted for a 1.5% levy on their rateable values, which will raise around £90,000 per year for five years to be used to support business growth initiatives in the town centre.

Jim Brewin, Steering Group Chair said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for town centre businesses in Saffron Walden. I have been privileged to work with local businesses and others over the past 18 months to get to this point. We are excited to have been given the democratic mandate to work together to better realise the potential for Saffron Walden’s businesses with this major investment over the next five years. I have no doubt the BID will make a real difference in our town and help businesses to thrive. Working together is the way forward. We have a lot to do!”

The BID will be dedicated to delivering projects, programmes and services to businesses in the town centre in these main areas: Attract relevant footfall into the town’s businesses; Engage residence and visitors by holding additional activities bringing in new customer potential; Create a thriving business community, working together to address our business needs and challenges.

“We are delighted that the businesses in Saffron Walden are coming together to form a Business Improvement District to help maintain the vitality and viability of our historic town centre. With excellent leadership in place from Jim Brewin of Waitrose we didn’t hesitate to back the BID Steering Team with resources, and as a levy payer into the BID we considered it important to back the BID team and vote “yes.” We fully understand that a minority of businesses voted against the BID so now the decision has been made it’s important for all of us to now work together to ensure the future success of our town centre wherever that may take us.” Howard Ryles, Cabinet Member, Uttlesford District Council.

The Saffron Walden Town Centre BID will be inclusive and have a voluntary membership scheme for businesses outside the actual BID area. A business-led, not-for-profit company will be set up to run the BID aiming to start work from December 2018. The BID company will link up with other establishments to ensure a coordinated approach.

Thanks goes to all members of the Steering Group who have given so much of their time and effort, the local business we have worked with to deliver the elements of the process to date and to representatives from UDC and others from the Council who have supported the process throughout.