Ripon traders have voted in favour of turning the city centre into a Business Improvement District.
BIDs have been set up across the country, including in Harrogate, as a way of creating safer, cleaner and better promoted city and town centres.
In Ripon, more than 280 businesses within a defined area will contribute to an annual budget of £160,000 for improvement projects.
Of the firms who voted during a ballot held over the last month, 80% were in favour.
The plans for a BID have been in the works since 2019 and will generate £800,000 over five years. This will come through an extra levy on top of business rates.
The BID has already won the support of Harrogate Borough Council which has agreed to lend £20,000 for start-up costs and will contribute around £30,000 over the five year period as a levy payer.
Councillor Graham Swift, deputy leader and cabinet member for resources, enterprise and economic development of the council, said the BID will allow businesses to “take control of their own destiny”.
“I am very supportive of BIDs – they allow small and medium sized businesses in tightly defined geographical areas to raise funds for specific things that impact them the most.
“Ripon is an area which relies on tourism and hospitality, so getting footfall in the city centre and surrounding areas will be crucial.
“BIDs are only successful when they have a clear plan… and Ripon BID have created a fantastic prospectus which clearly demonstrates what they are trying to achieve.”
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Now firms have voted in favour of the BID, a limited company will be set up with 10 directors drawn from the business community to manage the funds.
A number of local businesses have already expressed strong support for the plans include Abacus Smarter Accountants, G Craggs Ltd and Sterne Properties, as well as other organisations including Ripon Community House, Ripon Museums Trust and Ripon City Council.
A business plan, launched earlier this year, identified the BID’s priorities as street cleaning and maintenance, festivals and events, car parking, toilets, landscaping and tourism.
In a statement included in the plan, Richard Compton, BID chairman and owner of Newby Hall, said the city had the potential to become “one of Yorkshire’s great success stories”.
“I believe Ripon can emerge strongly from the huge challenges presented by the covid pandemic.
“We have so much to offer and as we perhaps see the light at the end of the tunnel, all of the city’s businesses need a plan to boost the place, for the benefit of all those who shop, live, work and visit our stunning city.”