THE loss of Rackhams, the House of Fraser department store in Skipton High Street, would be a terrific blow to the town, so this week’s news it has been given a reprieve is very welcome.

What it will be in the future is not clear; that we will have to wait. But what we do know is that its new owner believes it has a future, which has to be good news for Skipton.

With all the pressures facing High Streets, towns need all the help they can get. The support of local councils is very welcome, but for the foreseeable future will only be limited, because of their own financial pressures. Which is why Skipton Business Improvement District (BID) is so important, and why it must be allowed to continue for another five-year term when bid levy payers vote in January. Yes, it does have to be paid for by the businesses themselves, but what they get out of it is a town where people want to come, to shop, to socialise and to be entertained. Without the BID, who would pay to put on all those crowd pulling events and the Christmas lights? The recently reinstalled CCTV cameras? Certainly not the town, district or county councils. Since 2009 when Skipton became one of the first towns to get a BID, some £1.5 million has been invested in the town. Business owners large and small need to ask themselves, just where would that investment have come from if not from the BID?