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Newmarket’s town centre could soon benefit from £1.2m BID boost

PUBLISHED: 06:00 22 February 2016

The Gallops at Newmarket with the town centre in the background

The Gallops at Newmarket with the town centre in the background

Archant

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.

A new road, which ran almost £5m over budget, faces fresh controversy after it emerged a council employee involved in the project also completed work for the road’s developers through his private company.

A damning dossier compiled by a senior whistleblower from the region’s ambulance trust has claimed at least 40 patients died or were harmed due to delays over Christmas and New Year - including one person who froze to death.

Firefighters were called to a house fire which began in the living room of a house in Colchester in the early hours of this morning.

“And now on the line we have MEP Alex Mayer and John Rogers ... good morning, gentlemen,” – this happens quite frequently when I do radio interviews, writes East of England MEP Alex Mayer.

Women from Suffolk have described how their lives were rocked by “unfair” changes to pension laws.

Essex County Council are set to discuss the reopening of the iconic Jacks building later this month.

Kesgrave Community Centre is hosting a 30-minute static cycle challenge at its next monthly networking meeting to raise cash for St Elizabeth Hospice.

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