Major Ripon tourist attractions back plans for city's BID

Major tourist attractions in and around Ripon have thrown their weight behind plans to create a Business Improvement District (BID) for the city, urging businesses to back the project ahead of it going to ballot later this year.

Friday, 31st January 2020, 2:38 pm
Updated Friday, 31st January 2020, 2:39 pm
Visitor heavyweights including Newby Hall and Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal have all voiced their support for a Ripon BID as a pivotal consultation phase with businesses looms.

Visitor heavyweights including Newby Hall and Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal have all voiced their support for a Ripon BID as a pivotal consultation phase with businesses looms.

The BID is expected to go to ballot in the autumn, and ahead of this milestone where businesses vote and decide if it is a worthwhile project for the city, key players in its development have told the Ripon Gazette that a lot of work has been ploughed into it behind the scenes, and that progress has been rapid over the last few months.

The owner of Newby Hall, Richard Compton, who also chairs the Ripon BID task group, said: “The BID, developed right, could offer a great opportunity for businesses and the city. In heading up this business-led group, I hope to ensure we come up with a robust business plan that provides a tangible return for all.

“I would strongly urge Ripon businesses to get involved in this consultation phase to make sure we have their ideas and aspirations brought to the table.”

More than 300 BIDs have now been launched in towns and cities across the UK, where business rate payers are charged a levy in addition to their business rates bill in a defined area.

The revenue is then used to drive forward ambitious projects to benefit businesses, decided by businesses, which must be additional improvements that Harrogate Borough Council and other local authorities do not already provide on a statutory basis.

It has been confirmed by the task group that Ripon’s is a ‘destination’ BID, taking in the major tourist attractions surrounding the city.

John Alder, who sits on the task group, said: “Ripon, like other places, is feeling the force of decline on the high street, and we have to, as other places have, do something different to ensure that Ripon businesses and the centre of Ripon thrives, and that it doesn’t lose out to other competition online or from other destinations in the region.

“Northallerton, Harrogate and York are all moving forward with their BIDs, which as a consequence should be seeing visitor numbers increase.

“We can’t just sit back and do nothing. It is important for Ripon businesses to see this as their best opportunity to make a difference for Ripon.

“It is vital that businesses in Ripon engage with the BID Task Group to help formulate the business plan over the next quarter. Without full engagement from the business community we cannot formulate the plan for improving Ripon. It is their plan.”