Seven local business leaders will drive forward Otley’s new Business Improvement District.

The town’s businesses voted overwhelmingly last November to back a levy-paying scheme that will see £360,000 invested in Otley over the next five years.

The board members for Otley BID Limited were elected into their voluntary roles following an Otley Chamber of Trade meeting in January, and will be responsible for delivering a range of projects to boost Otley’s profile and economy.

Otley BID is funded by all of the businesses within its area, donating one per cent of their rateable value each year.

The directors are: Steph Lee, Otley Town Partnership; Peter Heald, Lunds of Otley; Rory McQuaid, The Ethical Jeweller; Vanessa James, Weston Lane Sports Club; Andy Bolton, Fraudscreen Ltd; Stewart Gilray, Just Add Water Ltd; Sally Hinchliffe, Bondgate Bakery.

BID spokesman and director of The Dandelion Consultancy, Rachelle Atkin, said: “The first board meeting was a chance for all directors to get together and understand each other’s strengths and what their responsibilities are to the town and its shareholders.

Being levy payers themselves, it is vital that they deliver the business plan throughout the five- year period and give all the businesses within the town a return on their investment.”

Some of the projects being explored by the board, all of which will involve input from the BID members, include bringing boats back onto the River Wharfe and producing promotional banners.

BID director and director of Fraudscreen Limited, Andy Bolton, said: “The whole board are committed to delivering these projects.

“We are meeting again next week to agree the logistics and financial implications of delivering our five- year plan. We will also be looking to create a team of BID Champions who will be the people on the ground helping us implement each project.”

Otley’s MP Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West), meanwhile, is excited at what the scheme might achieve. He said: “This is fantastic news for Otley and I can’t wait to see the improvements that arise from the BID. This is a very positive initiative and I would like to congratulate everyone for their hard work in securing this.”

Anyone interested in becoming a BID Champion should send an e-mail to