Business people and community leaders have gathered at the first annual general meeting of the company formed to put into practice the plans of the new Business Improvement District (BID) in Hoddesdon.
Aims for the first year of Love Hoddesdon BID, a new not-for-profit, private company made up of local businesses that now pay a small levy into a pot to spend on town improvements, were set out and agreed in principle.
Ambitions include developing a free wi-fi network for the town, working with the police to develop a radio link system to tackle shoplifting, increasing festive lighting, boosting promotion of the town and the Love Hoddesdon brand and investing significantly in town centre events.
Representatives from a range of business types, and one senior officer from Broxbourne Council, were appointed to the board. The company appointed a part-time manager, Tony Cox, to start work on Thursday 1 March.
Broxbourne Council’s Leader, Councillor Mark Mills-Bishop, met with the company’s Acting Chairman of Directors, Kevin Brooks, owner of Cannon Travel, to demonstrate and affirm the local authority’s commitment to the new and innovative approach to the future management of the town centre.
Councillor Mills-Bishop said: “This is an exciting time for the people of Hoddesdon. Its flourishing community of local business owners is working hard towards an even more thriving town.
“I would like to congratulate those who put together the BID proposal and those now engaged in making the best of this opportunity for local growth.”
Mr Brooks said: “This is an exciting time for Hoddesdon.
“Over the past few years the Love Hoddesdon team have worked very hard to help the town become more vibrant and having now received clear support from the local businesses to establish the BID concept I know we can achieve much, much more.
“The structure of the new company and our plans for 2018 are now in place and I would like to thank Broxbourne Council for their help in making this come about.”
All businesses in Hoddesdon were balloted from September to October last year to decide whether to establish a BID area. Over 100 voted, resulting in a three-to-one majority in favour of the scheme being put in place.
For more information, visit www.lovehoddesdonbid.com.
What is a Business Improvement District (BID)?
BIDs are areas, most often in town centres, in which a small levy is charged on all business rates payers in proportion to their rateable values. Funds are used to deliver improvements to the town in order to benefit local businesses.
Businesses decide and direct what they want for the area, have a bigger voice on issues and the money is ring-fenced for use only in that area. Such schemes have been operating successfully across the UK for over a decade.
There are six in Hertfordshire, including Hitchin, Watford and Welwyn Garden City, with two to three more on the way.
Image: Leader of Broxbourne Council, Cllr Mark Mills-Bishop, and the Acting Chair of Love Hoddesdon BID Kevin Brooks meet to affirm their commitment to the new approach to improving Hoddesdon town centre.