Newmarket’s town centre could soon benefit from £1.2m BID boost
PUBLISHED: 06:00 22 February 2016
More than £1m of investment in Newmarket’s town centre could be set to raise its regional and national profile even higher.
Following the examples of Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich, Newmarket’s town centre looks likely to be nearing the creation of a new Business Improvement District (BID).
“It is expected that this additional expenditure of at least £1.2m over the next five years... will have a significant impact on the BID area and greatly contribute towards uplifting the activity in Newmarket, raising its profile and image both regionally and nationally,” said a report by Forest Heath District Council ahead of a full council meeting on Wednesday.
Council leader and portfolio holder for planning and growth James Waters has backed the scheme and Wednesday’s item asks for the council’s votes in an upcoming BID ballot to be delegated for him to vote on behalf of the council.
Councillors will also decide on Wednesday whether to support the campaign to establish a BID in the town and also whether it wants to give it initial financial support.
Talks over a proposed BID in Newmarket began at the end of 2014, with Wednesday’s vote likely to bring it very close to reality.
The plan grew out of initial plans with the Newmarket Retailers Association, with initial work undertaken by the town centre manager and a task group made up primarily of town centre businesses, with representatives from the district council, Newmarket Town Council and the chamber of commerce.
So far around £15,000 has been spent by the district council on specialist advice, marketing and creating www.newmarketbid.com.
If Wednesday’s vote goes through, around 340 Newmarket town centre businesses will take part in a ballot from March 3-31 on whether the task group should make up an interim BID board. They would then set up a BID company as “an independent legal entity”.
If voted in, the new Newmarket BID proposes spending £500,000 in the next five years on marketing and creating an annual events programme for the town.
Town centre firms would pay a compulsory levy to raise £240,000 each year for the BID. Although not in the town centre, Newmarket Racecourse and the Bedford Lodge Hotel said they would be interested in becoming volunteer members.