Keswick first to set up partnership scheme

Scheme will help improve trading in town centre

A rural town in the Northwest has become the first in Britain to successfully set up a partnership between its business community and local council.

The Lake District town of Keswick has followed big cities’ leads and established a Business Improvement District (BID) in an effort to improve its trading environment.

BIDs are business-led with firms working alongside local councils to determine how the BID will deliver its business development initiatives.

“This is a unique and powerful opportunity for the business community to acquire a new influence and take a very public and leading role in shaping the future of Keswick,” said John Walker, a local businessman leading the project.

“A lot of hard work and consultation has gone in to developing the plans that the BID will take forward and deliver over the next five years.

“There is a great deal to do and we are impatient to get on with it and to deliver the initiatives, changes, improvements and benefits that the business community seek.”

Now that it has set up a BID, Keswick will appoint a 12-member board of directors from the private sector and host a series of events and activities to help boost visits and trade to the town.

Its overall objective is to create a safer, more-welcoming and customer-friendly town centre.

Keswick was one of eight towns in the Northwest backed by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) for the BID pilot scheme.

“Both the borough and county councils, Lake District National Park and police are fully supportive of the BID, and we can look forward to making great progress in providing a unique voice for business for the future and the ability and opportunity to deliver what the business community see as important for the town,” said Tony Cunningham MP, chair of the Keswick BID Reference Group.

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