OVER 300 businesses will be affected by the Ilkley Business Improvement District for which voting is now open.

The town is well known for its wide range of retailers, venues and businesses, both high street names and independents. Now those independent business are voicing their support for the establishment of an Ilkley BID.

Gavin Smith, manager of Commute Café on Leeds Road said: “I see a huge number of benefits for my business by bringing a BID to Ilkley. As an independent every penny counts and I need to ensure it is spent wisely. Ilkley has a good number of independent retailers and businesses who will thrive and flourish under the BID. By paying a small percentage of my rates my business will reap the benefits from increased events to Ilkley and the promotion of the town.”

Jeremy Kastner, owner of Kastner Kitchens on The Crescent said: “An organisation such as the Ilkley BID speaking on our behalf is needed. Ilkley is lacking in the promotion of its identity, which is something other places such as Hebden Bridge and Haworth have done very well. Government at local level has been hamstrung by national agendas that are restricting or even depressing local development to provide sustainable local communities. This means that a localised approach will foster a more focused development programme. As a local independent supplier my time at Kastner Kitchens is committed to running my business and doing the best for my customers – I don’t have the time to attend meetings with the council or tourist boards but equally I want a say on decisions which affect the town. The Ilkley BID will provide a perfect platform from which to address matters that directly affect my business and the community in which we operate.”

John Tate from Ilkley Cinema added: “We really like and support the BID proposal because it will be an Ilkley based forum for discussing and implementing new ideas that will help local businesses at a grass roots level.”

Ballot papers were issued to businesses in Ilkley on February 26 asking them to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on an Ilkley BID. All commercial businesses within a defined area and a rateable value of £7000 or more have the right to vote and voting runs until March 28. If successful, Ilkley BID begins operating in June 2019. Contact info@ilkleybid.co.uk or visit www.ilkleybid.co.uk for more information.