Welcome to the Otley BID September 2017 Update, which keeps you abreast of BID projects that are currently underway and information that affects our BID levy paying businesses.
The Next 5 Years of Otley BID!
Next year businesses in the town will be required to vote on whether a 2nd term of the Otley Business Improvement District (BID) is approved.
To help you, as business owners, get the most out of the next BID vote, it is vital any new proposals highlight what you want.
Some of the current priorities may no longer be needed while others – such as marketing and promoting welfare for Otley businesses – are likely to remain as important as ever. Similarly new requirements are emerging such as the need for more sites for light industry and ever stronger promotion of Otley’s excellent offices.
The key question is what do you, the BID members, want as priorities? We have therefore developed a Questionnaire which will be sent to all BID members at the beginning of October. We urge you to complete and return the questionnaire as quickly as possible letting us know what projects you would like us to focus on, the projects that you do not see as a priority, and also any other ideas you may have to help our town and businesses within it to thrive.
The feedback from these questionnaires can be publicly discussed at the Otley Summit which will be held on Thursday 9th November from 6pm-9pm at All Saints Church on Kirkgate.
The purpose of the Otley Summit is to agree a preferred way forward for Otley’s trading areas and discuss the future of the retail, light industrial and commercial economy in small towns.
We are delighted to announce that joining us on the evening will be:
- Councillor Judith Blake – Leader of Leeds City Council, Executive Member for Economy & Culture and Chair of the UK Core Cities
- Gerald Jennings – President of Leeds Chamber of Commerce and Former Regional Directory of Land Securities (White Rose Shopping Centre and Trinity in Leeds)
- Julia Chance – Northallerton BID Manager and formerly with Birmingham BID
- Steph Lee – Chair of Otley BID
- Katie Burnett – Chair of Otley Chamber of Trade
We hope that this Summit will give business owners the chance to have their say in the following ways:
- Hear from experts on the threat and opportunities for the economy of small market towns like Otley
- Hear Innovative ideas from another innovative BID town
- Ask the Panel questions of importance to the Otley Economy
Invites will be sent to all BID members at the beginning of October, we look forward to seeing you there.
Amendment to Our Articles of Association
Our board of directors were recently made aware of the need for some minor clarifications to the original wording of the Otley BID Articles of Association. To that end and, as stipulated in the rules, a Special Meeting was held on Tuesday 19th September 2017 to discuss the proposed changes to this formal document. These proposed changes had previously been sent by mail to all the BID businesses.
We can confirm that there were no objections raised at the meeting. The proposed changes were unanimously approved by a show of hands of all the BID levy payers present. There were also 4 proxy votes registered in favour of the changes.
Mercury Row – Sensory Wall Art
Conservation planning permission has now been granted for the Cats and Mice sensory wall art to be placed on Mercury Row to attract pedestrians along the street and Newmarket. The artwork has been designed to be removed in years to come without damaging the building. The artwork will be funded by the BID and placed on the premises owned by The Woolpack Music and Arts Studios.
First Group and Northern Railways are coming to a BID organised event to agree what will be done to improve the connectivity between the town and nearby Menston station.
Suggestions will include clearer directional signage, announcements in the train, and ensuring whenever possible buses pick up when the train arrives.
Wharfebank Mills is hosting the event and Otley’s transport leader John Eveleigh will help lead the discussion and progress any public transport matters the team are able to agree on.
Otley Bus Station Tidy-Up
For the last couple of years Otley BID has worked with the Leeds Community Payback Team who have assisted us with re-painting street furniture and generally tidying up the town, for which the costs are covered by Leeds City Council. With the car parks, Westgate and Burras Lane to Waitrose nearly finished, we are pleased to announce that the next project is Otley Bus Station – a key area where visitors are welcomed to the town.
The Leeds Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has asked Otley BID to promote three aspects of digital help being made available to businesses from September:
- A business support programme has been launched to help small and medium sized business (based in the Leeds city region) to develop their digital capacity and help increase their overall performance (competitiveness, productivity and profitability). This voucher scheme is scheduled to open on 28th September and new guidance will be issued on the Digital Enterprise website digitalenterprise.co.uk. As a rule ONLY businesses that trade with other businesses will be eligible for this grant support.
- Also generally only available to business to business companies, the Connectivity Voucher offers grants of £1000 for eligible SME’s that wish to upgrade to faster, business grade digital connectivity (including ISDN, full fibre, fast wireless).
Open to all businesses is the Digital Knowledge Exchange (DKE) which offers businesses access to information, expertise and advice on enhancing different digital strategies, plus workshops, mentoring, digital audits, technology/digital business conferences. For more information and to check if your business is eligible, visit www.digitalenterprise.co.uk/digital-knowledge-exchange-service/
A Huge ‘Thank You’ from Otley Boats
Last month Otley’s boats and pedalos were swept downstream after heavy rainfall and a submerged tree dragged them down the weir.
Chris Thornton, Owner of Otley Boats, explains
We have had lots and lots of offers of help to get the boats back on the river. We have had both the general public offering to help and private companies offering themselves and their staff. Several people have offered to do searches with drones. Others have offered machinery, winches, tractors etc. We have had buckets full of moral support from everyone. We have been offered crowd funding to get us restarted. The Fire Service have been brilliant – they have located and recovered a large portion of the boats for us. The Otley Town Council have contacted the councils of the towns downstream which has meant we have had contact from Collingham and Wetherby about the location of pedalos. Individuals and organisations have been absolutely fantastic.
This unfortunate incident has shown what a fantastic place Otley is. The response from the local community has been nothing short of unbelievable.”
“So far we have recovered 10 rowing boats, safety boat and 4 pedalos. We have located 2 more pedalos.”
“Otley Boats wants to thank the whole town for their support.”