Ourburystedmunds launches five-year business plan ahead of ballot

Mark Cordell

Mark Cordell - Credit: Archant

A town centre group has pledged to make “Bury St Edmunds even better for business” if it is voted in for another five-year term.

Tonight, Bury’s Business Improvement District (BID) Ourburystedmunds launched its business plan for the next five years at Cafe Del Mar in St John’s Street.

The proposals include building on the success of established events, such as the Food and Drink Festival and Whitsun Fayre, launching tourism ambassadors to assist visitors, working with others to improve the infrastructure of the town and finding more ways of reducing members’ business costs.

The BID is proposing to spend £2,150,000 over the five years on the projects as well as costs such as staffing and leaving some cash in reserves.

Speaking last night, Mark Cordell, chief executive of Ourburystedmunds, said: “We honestly believe we can make this town better for you and, as it says here [in the business plan], ‘making Bury St Edmunds even better for business’.”

He added: “In a nutshell if we are not here none of this will be delivered. We honestly believe we represent extremely good value for money.”

Mentioning some of the BID’s achievements, Mr Cordell spoke of how they had lobbied the council over increases to car parking charges, and added they were working to further enhance the top of St John’s Street and Cornhill for businesses.

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Andrew Speed, chairman of Ourburystedmunds, said: “I think the next five years are about what the membership want us to do to enhance their business and hopefully enhance the environment for people to live and work in Bury.”

Since it came into effect in 2010, the BID has provided additional services and support to businesses beyond those supplied by public authorities.

The business plan said more than 80% of members surveyed recently thought the work of the BID has had a positive impact on the town.

Ballot papers for the renewal will be sent to members next week and votes must be in by December 3.

Membership costs businesses 1.75% of their rateable value - which for the smallest businesses is equivalent to the cost of a bag of crisps a day.