Keighley considers improvement bid

Keighley News: Steve Seymour Steve Seymour

Keighley could launch a Business Improvement District (BID).

The idea, which would see businesses in a defined BID area vote on a package of improvements, is being investigated.

The agreed measures, which could range from additional services to better street furniture, would be funded through a supplement of about two per cent on business rates.

Development of the BID will be led by Keighley Town Centre Association (KTCA), with a steering group which will gather information and put together a business plan.

KTCA chairman Steve Seymour said it was felt there was a strong argument for a Keighley BID, and it could bring massive benefits to the area. But he stressed the initiative was at a very early stage.

“We are satisfied that it is the right thing to do,” he said.

“We need growth and we need to find funding to improve the infrastructure.

“We’ve looked at other BID towns and what improvements have been made and they have become quite innovative.

“However there is still a very long way to go before we are ready. There’s probably about 12 to 18 months’ more work until it’s voted on.

“We’re a long way off knowing what the schemes would be and designating the BID area.”

BIDs were introduced to the UK just over a decade ago and there are now over 200. Each covers a defined geographical area, where businesses are invited to come together to make decisions about improving their trading environment.

A range of projects and services is agreed through consultation and the package is then voted on by all businesses in the BID area.

If a majority is in favour, the schemes are implemented with funding from the additional business rate levy, which is collected by the local authority and handed over to an independent body representing the BID businesses.

The initial term for a BID is five years, after which a renewal vote takes place.

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