ILKLEY Business Forum (IBF) held a successful meeting last week seeking support for establishing an Ilkley Business Improvement District (BID).

About 45 businesses were represented on Wednesday, March 29 and saw a presentation from Stuart Hyde and Dave Robinson showing how useful a BID would be for Ilkley.

Whilst some of its role will be to make Ilkley a more pleasing place for trade, it will also promote the value of operating in Ilkley as a base for industry and commerce.

Many in the audience at the meeting volunteered to help with the organisation of the application which will involve preparing a business plan and all the paperwork needed to bring about a successful ballot result. It is hoped that the ballot - when the final decision will be made by Ilkley’s business rate payers - will take place before the end of 2017.

The meeting was paid for by Ilkley Parish Council which is eager to encourage the process. The Chairman of Ilkley Business Forum, Steve Butler, opened the meeting introducing Stuart Hyde and Dave Robinson. Mr Hyde, an internationally renowned security consultant, has been involved in BIDs in Birmingham and Penrith. He has carried out extensive research into the benefits which a BID brings to its area.

Dave Robinson, a business rate payer from ClipnClimb in Ilkley, is keen to encourage anything which helps Ilkley, where he was born and bred.

Mr Butler said: "They joined together to make a full and instructive presentation about the process of applying for a BID and the pros and cons of establishing a BID. The audience was almost exclusively supportive, asking numerous questions which the presenters answered honestly and enthusiastically.

"There were some questions they could not answer, for example, would charity shops which pay reduced rates also pay a reduce BID levy? Any unknown issues will be considered in detail with staff from Bradford Council which has to be involved in all the arrangements. The team in Bradford is already experienced in this process because of the recent successful establishment of a BID in Keighley. They are also working on a BID for Bradford city centre."

Stuart Hyde added: "There is still much to do but now we have a high level of support and many volunteers prepared to help us make this happen."

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