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Skipton shops policy praised at conference
6:10pm Thursday 9th February 2012 in News
Skipton has been held up as a example to other towns struggling to cope with the harsh economic times.
The partnership between the town council and Skipton Business Improvement District (BID) was highlighted during a conference of the National Association of British Market Authorities.
The conference – The Changing High Street – was held in Birmingham and looked at how towns across the country were dealing with the economic situation.
And Skipton was held up as an example where methods highlighted in a government report by ‘Queen of Shops’ Mary Portas were already being used.
Martin Blackwell, chief executive of the Association of Town Centre Management, pointed out how Skipton had maintained its town centre management, while others had cut it as a way of saving money.
“In the current climate, it is vital that local agencies work together for the benefit of the local economy,” he told the more than 200 delegates.
“In Skipton, the town council’s town centre management team and the local business improvement district have developed a strong relationship and this has had a clear, positive impact on the town. It’s an approach that other towns and cities across the country could easily adopt.”
The town council and Skipton BID currently work together to support events, festivals and other initiatives aimed at retaining the vitality of the town.
The BID has recently announced it will continue to work with the town council and others as part of a two-year partnership with Welcome to Yorkshire.
David Wathen, chairman of Skipton BID, said the economic prosperity of the town could only benefit from a strong working relationship between the BID and the town council.
“Over the past three years we have worked closely with the council and will continue to do so to ensure that Skipton continues to prosper in these difficult economic times,” he said.
The town council took over responsibility of the town centre manager role in 2007 and the Skipton BID is in the third year of its five-year scheme.
Dave Parker, chief officer of the town council, said: “The town council has believed strongly in the need to maintain traditional festivals and parades and to develop new events and initiatives to attract visitors and residents into the town centre.
“Working with the BID has really made a difference to our ability to support these initiatives and we are pleased that our approach has been recognised nationally as a blueprint for others to follow.”