KEIGHLEY businesses are preparing to say 'yes' to a Business Improvement District, say town centre bosses.

Companies are getting on board because Keighley is ready to gain ‘BID’ status and attract more than a million pounds of extra investment.

Keighley Town Centre Association this week issued a rallying call to businesses in advance of a vote during the autumn.

They said firms large and small, and across all sectors, are already expressing support for the ambitious plans.

The BID would cover an area stretching from Morrisons to Emily Street and from Highfield to the Leeds City College’s Keighley Campus.

Members of the BID would pay a 1.5 per cent levy on their business rates to fund a raft of improvements aimed at attracting more visitors and investment to town.

They would vote on a package of measures, which could include increased marketing, new events throughout the year and better information points for visitors and shoppers.–

Focus group meetings were held during the spring for different categories of trade and commercial firm, to discover what improvements are needed.

The Keighleybid campaign this week said the town is ready to become a Business Improvement District (BID) because there are ambitions to see it progress.

A spokesman said: “It is ready because the town is big and confident enough and there is no standing still – progress comes through activity and positive choices.

“A successful BID vote means more than £1 million, over five years, could be directed towards a better future for the town and its businesses. The prospects for both are tied together.”

Keighleybid said 200 towns and cities in the UK had already become BIDs, and there are positive examples across the country.

The spokesman added: “Businesses will be in the driving seat in managing the new company, Keighleybid, to push the improvements.”

Keighley Town Centre Association, whose members include retailers, Bradford Council and other organisations, is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year by promoting the BID campaign.

The spokesman added: “If the Business Improvement District is approved, possibilities will step up to a new level, which would be a great present for the town and the association.”

The government regards BIDs as powerful tools to allow the business community and councils to work together to improve trade.

If a BID is adopted in Keighley, all business ratepayers will have to foot the levy in addition to their business rates bill.

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