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Article by Sarah Hamilton-Walker | 15th October 2018

Royal Tunbridge Wells Together Bid Breakfast

Local business owners and leaders, employers and employees, and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Chief Executive William Benson were among the guests at the recent Royal Tunbridge Wells Together (RTWT) BID Breakfast, which took place at One Warwick Park Hotel in the town.

Town centre partnership RTWT has been talking about the feasibility of a BID for some time, but what actually is a BID?

Led and controlled by local businesses, Business Improvement Districts, or BIDs for short, are independent organisations created to deliver targeted improvements to a defined geographical area, such as a town centre.

There are now more than 300 BIDs in existence all over the UK, from small centres like Oxted in Surrey through to larger towns and cities such as Winchester and Guildford. Closer to home Canterbury city and Maidstone town centres now also have BIDs.

Businesses within the BID area pay an additional annual levy (based on the rateable value of their premises) to fund defined projects. The funds are ringfenced for the area and controlled by the BID.

What a BID will do for Royal Tunbridge Wells

Investment of more than £2.3 million in the town over a five-year period will include:

• £303,000 – working together for a better town.
• £635,000 – working together to deliver events.
• £495,000 – working together to promote the town.
• £200,000 – working together to improve accessibility.

Karen Pengelly, Town Centre Manager at Royal Tunbridge Wells Together, said: “The important thing is that businesses engage and understand what a BID would deliver. It’s an opportunity for businesses to be involved in the future of the town centre and we don’t want them to be passive, we want them to speak up, say what they want and take part. It’s important that they understand how their money would be invested to deliver benefits and returns.”

If your business is eligible to vote in the forthcoming Ballot, you will be sent a Ballot Paper prior to 11th October 2018.

• The Ballot will be open for four weeks from 11th October-8th November 2018.
• If a Yes vote is secured at the Ballot, the BID will commence delivery of services from 1st April 2019.
• For more information, and for a comprehensive list of streets that fall within the BID boundary area, visit www.tunbridgewellstogether.co.uk

Images: Tina Chatfield (www.tinachatfieldphotography.co.uk)

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