Deep clean of Ripon's alleyways to be first Business Improvement District project

A deep clean of Ripon's alleyways will get underway next week in one of the first projects to be launched by the city's new Business Improvement District (BID).
Ripon city centre.Ripon city centre.
Ripon city centre.

The BID - which levies firms to fund city centre improvements - is launching its first initiatives after receiving the backing of businesses during a vote held in summer when 80% supported setting up the body.

Elizabeth Faulkner has been appointed as interim manager and said a deep cleaning of city centre alleyways will begin on Monday before other plans including networking events are held in the New Year.

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She said: "We know these alleyways are key to the way visitors and residents use the city so we want to make them as attractive as possible.

Ripon BID assistant manager Lilla Bathurst (left) and interim manager Elizabeth Faulkner (right).Ripon BID assistant manager Lilla Bathurst (left) and interim manager Elizabeth Faulkner (right).
Ripon BID assistant manager Lilla Bathurst (left) and interim manager Elizabeth Faulkner (right).

"There has been lots of talk about what they could be used for, but first we will clean them up and then look at lighting.

"These are of course just a small part of Ripon and we have got a big destination to make an impact on so we will then start to move around the city for more deep cleaning."

Of the 87 businesses who voted during the summer, a total of 70 - or 80% - were in favour of the BID.

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The vote outcome means more than 280 firms within a defined area are now contributing to an annual budget of £160,000 for projects to create a safer, cleaner and better promoted city centre.

A Harrogate BID was created in 2019, while plans for a body to promote Knaresborough were rejected in October after the proposals proved to be unpopular.

Ms Faulkner, who previously managed Altrincham BID, said: "We are aware of what has happened with other BIDs in the area.

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"But this is Ripon's BID and an exciting opportunity for businesses to be part of how they would like their city to move forward.

"We want as many of them as possible to get involved and the success of the BID will come from us all getting behind it."

She added: "The pandemic has been an extremely tough time for businesses in Ripon, but the way they have worked to come out of this period has been remarkable.

"We have got incredible restaurants, independent shops and great visitor attractions. It is our job to put this package together and let people know how well worth a visit Ripon is."

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The BID has also appointed Lilla Bathurst, who previously worked for Hull BID, as assistant manager, while 13 directors drawn from the business community have been made board members.

The first networking events for businesses will be held on 17 and 24 January.

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By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter