Exciting plans to campaign for a Business Improvement District (BID) in the heart of Haverhill town centre have been announced.
Under the auspices of the ‘Heart of Haverhill’, a task group of businesses in the town have been working closely with council officials from West Suffolk Council and Haverhill Town Council for the past 18 months.
Initial successes have included greater business involvement in the Haverhill Family Christmas Night and enhanced communication around other events in the town as well as ongoing improvements to the market.
Heart of Haverhill, whose aim is to energise the town centre and help increase footfall and prosperity, were also involved in bringing The Women’s Cycle Race to the town in June.
Their objective is to help energise the town centre, increasing footfall and helping to make businesses more prosperous.
Now the working group has secured funding from West Suffolk Council to launch a fully-fledged BID campaign which, if successful, would see town centre businesses raising and controlling their own budget through a levy linked with their business rates.
John Mayhew, acting chair of Heart of Haverhill, said: “We believe all Haverhill town centre businesses would benefit from uniting with a single voice under a BID.
“A strong advantage of a BID is that town centre businesses get to choose their priorities and how their budget is spent.
“If successful, a BID puts town centre businesses at the heart of everything while also providing a platform to engage the right people at the right time and promote everything that is great about Haverhill.
“We are delighted to have secured this funding from West Suffolk Council and we thank them for their support, commitment and backing.”
Heart of Haverhill was launched in 2018, as a task group of ONE Haverhill Partnership, and initially prioritised marketing, procurement, Haverhill’s Market and events in the town. High on the wish list would also be the appointment of a town centre manager working specifically for local businesses.
During the campaign, the group will continue to support business involvement in this year’s VE Day celebrations, the Women’s Cycle Tour and the Haverhill Family Christmas Night.
Under the plans, businesses will be asked to vote in favour of a BID with an election due to take place by October 2020.
Cllr Susan Glossop, Cabinet member for Growth, said: “I am delighted that West Suffolk Council is funding the development of a possible business improvement district (BID) for Haverhill.
“Healthy town centres are a council priority and a BID would provide a mechanism for marketing all that Haverhill’s lively high street has to offer.
“As well as our wider support, through things like street cleaning, regeneration, markets and events, the council would become a substantial levy payer through the business rates it pays on its car parks.
“I recommend the initiative to local businesses and hope they will feel able to lend their support.”
David Roach, Haverhill town, district and county councillor, said: “I endorse anything that is designed to support businesses in our town.
“This could open up a lot of possibilities for businesses. It will mean a lot of hard work but it’s really important for businesses to have a voice. I look forward to working with Heart of Haverhill to back the BID.”