Local businesses turnout to hear more about Taunton BID at launch event
Last night, over 65 of Taunton’s business community attended the launch event for Taunton Business Improvement District (BID) at Somerset County Cricket Club, to learn more about how the BID scheme works and the benefits it will bring in its bid to promote Taunton to become a leader in the South West for the arts, business and inward investment.
Led by Colin Barrell, former President of Taunton Chamber of Commerce, owner of Taunton’s Mr Miles Tea Rooms and Chair of the Taunton BID Steering Group, the event played host to a number of speakers including Exeter’s BID Manager and place marketing specialist, Ann Hunter, on the successes and results from Exeter’s BID and Lucy Ball from Destination Management & Marketing, on what a BID is and what opportunities there may be for Taunton, using a business-led and business-funded initiative.
Though the BID levy may be a concern for some businesses, Ann Hunter, showcased some of the significant returns and benefits this has brought to Exeter businesses, greatly alleviating most businesses’ concerns and gathering significant support overall.
For example, a small business on Gandy Street in Exeter paying a 1% levy of £160 per year had received £1,221.50 worth of benefits and services including first aid training for staff, participation in the gift card scheme and a stall at Exeter’s Cathedral Christmas market. Other benefits for all businesses include street cleaning, monthly footfall and car parking statistics, Christmas lights and support with social media marketing and PR campaigns.
Local businesses, large and small, were also amongst the speakers including Clare Filer, Store Manager at Debenhams, Lee Tomkins, Managing Director at Blackdown Financial, John Air, Manager of Company Spaces and Tony Derdack, the Owner of Merchant Menswear.
Voicing his thoughts on the BID, Lee Tomkins, Managing Director at Blackdown Financial commented:
“I grew up in this town and I want future generations to grow up here, including my own children, and for us to make this town great”.
John Air, Manager of Company Spaces added:
“There are so many positive things going on and there is so much drive for change now. The BID will bring a unity and there is so much opportunity. Let’s make Taunton an unbelievably amazing place”.
After the event, Clare Filer, Store Manager at Debenhams commented on the overwhelming support for Taunton BID:
“Really enjoyed the launch event, it was great to see the drive and passion people in the town have to make Taunton a great place to be for all. Looking forward to all working together to achieve this!”
It wasn’t just the speakers feeling enthusiastic about the prospect of Taunton BID and the opportunities it will bring to the town with positive comments coming from many of the attendees:
“This time of year; so many tourists pass our doorstep to head to Devon and Cornwall, we need things to encourage them to visit and hopefully spend money to help boost our local economy” – Gaines Supplies.
“We love the creative initiatives that take place in Taunton…. They add interest, energy, fun and culture to the town! We’d love to see more!” – Rocket and Bird.
Last night’s event was just the start of the consultation process, to continue to drive the process, the BID steering group would like to encourage as many businesses and individuals in and around Taunton to complete the online survey and have their say – https://www.tauntonbid.co.uk/contact.
The BID team would also encourage as many people as possible to attend future events and meetings to help shape the future of the town. These will be promoted via Twitter, the website, newsletters and volunteer representatives visiting the businesses.
Speaking of the success of the launch event, Colin Barrell, Chair of the BID Steering Group and President of Taunton Chamber of Commerce commented:
“We were extremely pleased with the turnout for our initial launch event and overwhelmed by the resounding support for the BID. The town is really coming together as a community to back the initiative.
However, we’d love to see more businesses and individuals get involved to ensure everyone has the opportunity to put their thoughts forward and help shape the future of Taunton”.