SKIPTON BID’s ambitious plans for the next five years are already receiving enthusiastic support.

The proposed Business Plan for the BID’s third term was unveiled to around 75 people at a reception with guests praising the “professionalism” of the launch and the quality of the plans being put forward to boost Skipton.

BID chairman Andrew Mear, who introduced the launch, said he believed people had gone away enthused by what they had heard.

And BID manager Geraldine Thompson, who presented the plan to BID levy payers and other invited guests, said she was delighted by the way the event had gone.

The plan outlines how the BID will invest £800,000 into supporting Skipton during its third term, which will begin in April next year if levy payers vote yes in the renewal ballot in January.

It focusses on three key areas: Visit Skipton, Business Support, and Attractive and Clean.

The investment will be split into £300,000 for Visit Skipton, and £250,000 each for the other two.

Geraldine explained that for Visit Skipton the BID would be looking at revamping the very successful Visit Skipton website, continuing to promote the town as a destination, and continuing to support and fund festivals and events.

She highlighted plans to build a week long festival out of the very popular Sheep Day and a new Flock Back to Skipton event to mark the tenth anniversary of the original.

She also spoke of the great success of the Skipton Crime Reduction Partnership and the recent reintroduction of CCTV in the town under the Business Support heading, and said they would not exist without BID funding.

The BID plans to develop a new Toolbox of services for businesses in its third term.

Under Attractive and Clean, Geraldine said they would be continuing to support Skipton In Bloom and would also be funding new initiatives to keep the town looking great, with a new street cleaning scheme, improved signage, and a five-year Christmas lighting plan.

It would also look at working with partners to improve the long-standing eyesores of the railway bridges on the way into Skipton and to enhance seating and other street furniture offered in the town centre.

Andrew said after the launch: “It was a very positive event. Geraldine did a great job of getting the plan across to people.

“I think the audience were very receptive to the plan and received the message positively. I really think they were enthused by the ideas for the third term.

“And it was great to see such a good turn-out. We were all very pleased about that.”

Businesses who were in attendance agreed.

Neil Roe, owner of Herriots Hotel on Broughton Road with his wife Michelle, said: “The launch demonstrated the professionalism of those involved in the work that is being done by the BID.

“I was pleased to see a key focus on value for money on the funds that are raised.

“The number of other towns that have or are setting up BIDs demonstrates the value of the process.

“Businesses need as much support as we can get and I believe the BID delivers that support uniformly across retail and leisure for Skipton.

“I would encourage those who have their doubts to look at and understand the range of activities the BID is involved in and the support services it offers.”

Venue Sports and Music Bar events manager Leah Pompey was very impressed by the launch and by the substance of the Business Plan.

“The ideas presented were great," she said. "The BID will always have our support.

“People need to realise how much the BID does for the town. We just need to get that message across to them.”

Tina Botterill of Cool! Cards and Gifts on Coach Street said: "Skipton Bid has massively improved the footfall in the town through the support they give to many events through the year.

"As a small independent retailer I rely on tourists to boost the local trade and I fully support and believe in the BID for the next five years."

* Photos by Stephen Garnett