Car park marshals and schools part of BID strategy to ease parking misery for Bishop's Stortford shoppers
Parking is the priority for the chair of Bishop's Stortford's new BID (Business Improvement District).
Karen Burton outlined her proposals at the first open meeting for retailers and service providers contributing to a £900,000 investment pot over the next five years.
Around 40 representatives attended the forum at the Twisted Cellar in South Street. Karen, the owner of Karen’s Cakes at Northgate End, hopes more will go to a breakfast meeting at Host in Market Square next Wednesday (Nov 21) from 7.30am to 9am to discuss the next steps.
Thursday’s meeting was the first chance for traders to meet the BID’s new manager, Martin Quantock. He has worked on similar projects in Cheltenham, Banbury and Bradford.
Karen said his appointment would kickstart progress as the first levy bills begin to arrive.
In July, retailers, restaurants and service providers backed the launch of a five-year BID, with 86% of outlets which took part in the ballot in favour.
Only businesses with a rateable value over £10,000 could vote and will pay the annual levy of 1.5% of their rateable value up to a maximum of £15,000.
They voted ‘yes’ after considering the BID steering committee’s plan to deliver three main priorities identified by businesses in the town:
▀ marketing and events
▀ parking and accessibility, and
▀ backing commercial interests.
Each year the BID will have around £205,000 to turn ideas into innovations which the board hopes will breathe new life into the high street.
Karen has already opened talks with East Herts Council to tackle pressure of parking in the run-up to Christmas.
The BID backs the idea of marshals to prevent a repeat of the gridlock faced by shoppers using the Jackson Square multi-storey.
The town council has brokered an agreement with Windhill21 and St Michael’s primary schools to provide extra parking for the Christmas Fayre on Saturday, December 1 and she was hopeful this could be extended.
In the longer term, the BID will be backing a scheme to let workers rent residents’ drives during the day and possibly extend permit schemes.
Karen said: “I really want to get on with our plans now and create something positive for the town.”