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Businesses Urged To Vote ‘Yes’ In Watford BID

Town centre businesses in Watford were last night (Wednesday 16th September) encouraged to vote YES in next month’s Business Improvement District (BID) ballot, after hearing that a BID would unlock nearly £3 million of additional investment for the town centre.

The event, held at Woo-Woo bar on The Parade, was the official launch of the Watford BID Business Plan, which outlines the vision for the town centre, the background to the BID and the projects and initiatives that a BID company would undertake if a YES vote is achieved. It was attended by representatives from businesses and organisations in the BID area, who will next month vote on whether they think a BID is right for Watford town centre.

Jonathan Field, Managing Director of John Lewis Watford and chair of the Town Centre Partnership (TCP), the collection of businesses proposing the BID, explains, “I’ve worked in other towns where BIDs were in place and have seen first hand the positive difference they can make. The investment will enable Watford town centre to build on its recent achievements and deliver what we, the local businesses have recommended, as well as sustaining the future growth and development of Watford town centre.”

The Business Plan

The Business Plan reveals how nearly £3 million of investment, raised via a small proportionate levy charged to every business in the BID area, would be spent across the five year term of the BID. It focuses on activities and initiatives that will enhance the look and feel of the town, secure the future of the town and maintain and improve the footfall, through increased marketing, promotion and events – especially while the Charter Place redevelopment works are underway.

The BID will encourage town centre businesses to offer discounts or special promotions during Watford Weekenders, dedicated weekends at traditionally quieter periods of the year, aimed at showcasing Watford’s wide offer and encouraging return visits to the town centre. Service Excellence Awards will be held annually to celebrate the best customer service providers in the town centre across all sectors. The Wow Watford project will bring the High Street to life with attractive, colourful and eye-capturing displays all year round, while the Green Business initiative will explore opportunities for businesses to save money through a town wide scheme, such as cardboard recycling collections or energy saving schemes.

As well as showing a detailed breakdown of the BID budget and voting procedures, the business plan also explains the measures a BID company would take to ensure its work is visible and meeting the needs of levy payers. Jonathan continues: “The BID will only succeed if the businesses paying for it recognise a return on their investment. The BID company will be accountable to each and every levy payer and must operate in a transparent nature, that’s why we have pledged to conduct annual business surveys, meetings and to use independent assessors to review its performance.”

You can download a copy of the Business Plan here.

The BID video

Attendees at the event were the first to see the new ‘Vote YES’ BID campaign video, which featured town centre businesses owners or managers, including John Lewis, JD Wetherspoon, Pepe Rosso, Fresh Shop, The Intu Centre and Situls Gift shop, stating why they would vote YES. The video can be viewed here.

Kwame Tefe, Manager of The Moon Under Water and vice chair of the TCP said, “The short video captures the diversity and variety of Watford’s town centre businesses. All of us involved will be levy payers and we all see the value a BID will bring to our business – we want to share that and encourage others to mark the ‘YES’ box on their ballot paper.”

Tuesday BID Question Time

Town Centre businesses unable to attend the launch event, or those that attended with follow-up questions are invited to come along to a Tuesday BID Question Time session. The first takes place on 29 September, between 11am-1pm at the Intu Centre, then 5-7pm on 6 October at Palace Theatre. A further session will be held between 2-4pm at the Town Hall on 13 October, with the final slot taking place on 20 October, 8-10am at Jury’s Inn. Pre-registration is required.

Over 200 BIDs are already operating successfully around the country, including one in every major city. Their success is ascribed to the fact they are focused, cost efficient and entrepreneurial. They do not replace local authority and police services, but provide additional, supplementary resources and activities.

To find out more, businesses can visit watfordbid.co.uk, or call the Town Centre Manager on 01923 278260.

 

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