ONE of Craven’s largest employers has given its backing to a fourth term for the Skipton Businesses Improvement District (BID).

Skipton Building Society, which is based in the town, says it is ‘fully behind’ the business funded BID, and has voted ‘yes’ in the postal ballot that closes in two week’s time on November 16.

Stacey Dickens, head of sustainability at Skipton Building Society, said: “Skipton Building Society is fully behind a fourth term for the Skipton BID.

“We know since it launched back in 2008 Skipton BID has invested £2 million into improving our local area and helping the business community to thrive.

“As one of the area’s largest employers and one that has been in the town since 1853, we are happy to continue supporting our local community.”

Morrisons and Tesco supermarkets have however both declined to say how they have - or will - be voting, or whether they will be using their ballot at all.

North Yorkshire Council, another large employer in the town, has already said it is not taking part in the ballot, unlike its predecessor, Craven District Council.

North Yorkshire Council, which replaced Craven Council in April, said in September it would be ‘abstaining’ from all BID ballots in the county because it wanted ‘to hear the business voice and for the vote to be business-led.’

It did however go on to say that the Skipton BID had a ‘great track record’ and had delivered ‘many positive projects in the town’ More than 400 businesses in Skipton - with rateable values of more than £6,000 - have received ballot papers enabling them to take part in the vote.

If more than half vote ‘yes’ the BID will go ahead for another five years - joining Hull BID as the only places in Yorkshire to continue for a fourth term.

If not enough businesses vote in favour, agreeing to pay a levy representing 1.5 per cent of their rateable value, the BID will come to an end in March.

Since 2009, Skipton BID has invested more than £2million in the town on a range of projects designed to make the town more attractive and safe for residents, visitors and businesses.

It includes the installation of CCTV, street marshals in the run-up to Christmas, the support of some events, and improvements to the Welcome to Skipton brand.

A yes result will secure a further £1million of investment over the next five years.

Supporters include Skipton Town Council, From the Source, Craven Stationery, and Kooky.

Fred Maier, manager of Kooky, and a director of the BID, said since becoming a director he had pushed for greater support for the town’s nighttime economy.

“Over another BID term, I believe we can further expand key businesses support and push events within the town to new heights.”