THE final deadline for votes in the ballot on whether to renew Skipton Business Improvement District (BID) for another five-year term is 5pm on Thursday.

The postal ballot papers have to be with the Electoral Reform Society in London by that deadline to be counted.

If the vote is for renewal, a further £800,000 of funding will be unlocked to spend on ensuring Skipton continues to be a thriving town.

The decision will be announced some time on Friday, once the ballot is complete and all the votes counted.

BID manager Geraldine Thompson said: “We want to thank everyone who voted 'Yes' and the many, many people who have supported our campaign over the last few months.

“We have a lot still to do in Skipton, but we can only do that if the levy payers have voted in our favour.”

Skipton was one of the first towns in the North to set up a BID in 2009, and it has invested £1.5m in the town since then.

A Yes vote would see the £800,000 unlocked to invest in three key areas - Visit Skipton, Business Support, and Attractive and Clean.

Since it started ten years ago, the BID has set up and runs the Visit Skipton website, operates the Skipton Crime Reduction Partnership, restored CCTV cameras to the town, provides the majority of funding for Skipton In Bloom, helps businesses seeking grants, helps fund the Town Ambassadors, and operates the Best Bar None scheme for licensed premises.

It also provides funding for Skipton Christmas Lights and the switch-on ceremony, as well as many of the festivals and events that bring thousands of people into Skipton every year, including the Christmas Markets, the Waterway Festival, the Skipton International Puppet Festival, Sheep Day, and the Skipton Cycle Races.

“We feel we have done all we can to get our message across, and be clear about what could be lost to the town if the BID isn’t renewed,” Geraldine said.

“Now, we are just keeping our fingers crossed for the right result so we can get on with helping Skipton to continue thriving and going forward.”