Royston First BID up for reballot

PUBLISHED: 07:02 30 January 2019

Royston town manager Geraint Burnell, town crier Graham Pfaff and town mayor Vera Swallow. Picture: Clive Porter

Royston town manager Geraint Burnell, town crier Graham Pfaff and town mayor Vera Swallow. Picture: Clive Porter

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Royston businesses are to be given the choice on whether they would like the work of the town's Business Improvement District to continue.

Royston First delivers local initiatives – funded by a levy to companies based on rateable value – with the broad aim of benefitting the business community in the town.

Work carried out by the BID in the last 10 years has included the funding for a resurfacing project in the town, launching and running Royston Picture Palace, the creation of the visitor information centre at the library, funding the ‘free after 3pm’ parking in town centre car parks and events such as the Easter trail and Christmas lights display.

With a decision to be made by March about whether the BID will be renewed for a further five years, town manager Geraint Burnell has been speaking to the Crow.

Geraint, who is responsible for creating and delivering BID initiatives, said: “We’ve got some really interesting ideas for the next five years, ranging from our own version of ‘Boris bikes’ to getting a multi-storey car park built adjacent to York Way industrial estate.

“However, it will all come down to how the businesses vote.

“If they consider what we’ve delivered over the past 10 years, and are proposing for the next five years, as being beneficial to the business environment, then they will vote in favour and we’ll commence work at the beginning of April.”

In its latest newsletter, the BID has listed a number of potential projects that may come with a ‘yes’ vote from businesses.

These include new media communications and town-wide initiatives – such as a beer, wine and cheese or food festival, and reinstating the shuttle bus between the Royston Gateway, the industrial estate, Tesco and the town centre.

Other prospective projects include making the town centre more appealing with night-time illumination of landmarks, and staging events in the town’s parks.

The BID team would also look to encourage commuters to explore the town, and will produce a contingency plan against the closure of large stores.

Those taking part in the ballot will have been notified last week, and are invited to attend an open day for questions tomorrow at 11.30am until 2.30pm at Royston Town Hall, or 6pm to 7pm at Sartorius in York Way.

On February 5, ballot papers will be issued. The last day for businesses to cast their vote will be March 5.

For more information, go to roystonfirst.com.

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