Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WONEWS to 80360, or email
Voting starts on Otley's bid to inject £360,000
It’s make-or-break time for a scheme that would see Otley town centre reinvigorated with an investment of £360,000.
The town is primed to establish the first Business Improvement District in Leeds if enough of the 500-plus firms and shops in the proposed area vote to join it.
Ballot papers for a confidential postal vote were sent out this week to all business owners and the vote will end at 5pm on Monday, November 11.
After that, should the Yes camp hold sway, the £360,000 – raised by Bid members donating one per cent of their rateable value each year – would be spent on various town-centre projects over the coming years.
Bid committee member Rachelle Atkin, of Otley-based company The Dandelion Consultancy, said: “By becoming a Bid town we will be able to inject more than £360,000 over a five-year period into the area, which will have an enormous and positive impact.
“It will generate more income for businesses and make Otley a better place to live, work and visit.
“There are currently more than 200 successful Bids throughout the UK, 29 of which are market towns. For Otley to become the first Bid market town in West Yorkshire would be a fantastic achievement and would significantly raise our profile in the region.” Otley’s 2012 bid, led by Otley Town Partnership, to become a Portas Pilot town and so win £100,000, was unsuccessful but it did receive £10,000 as a runner-up.
It is that money that has been used for the Bid campaign, which has involved extensive research being carried out with local businesses, questionnaires circulated and, in April this year, a launch meeting.
Ilkley Business Network is monitoring Otley’s progress with interest and local MP Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) believes the Bid would give the town and its people an economic and morale-boosting lift.
He said: “Both as an MP and a resident I know Otley is a vibrant and unique town, full of energetic people, fizzing with ideas.
“The Otley Bid would be a catalyst to harness and co-ordinate those energies, stimulating even more innovation and participation, bringing benefits not just to the local businesses but the whole community.”
Rachelle is hopeful that, following a successful vote, the first investment in the town centre could begin early next year.
She said: “Over the past two weeks we have circulated the business plan to all companies, outlining how the £360,000 would be spent over five years.
“The three main initiatives are the Promotion of Otley, Pride in Otley, and Professional Otley, all of which are ideas that have been generated through feedback from local businesses.”
“We hope that all organisations, large and small, can see the benefits that the Bid will bring to our town.
“By voting Yes we are aiming for some of the projects outlined in the plan to be in place by as early as April 1, 2014.”
The Bid business plan can be viewed at otleybid.co.uk, while any queries about the project should be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments are closed on this article.