676 pieces of graffiti removed, £31K of stolen goods recovered… now York BID looks to the future

Executive director of the York BID Andrew Lowson. Photograph: YorkMix

Last year was a busy one for the York BID.

Now the executive director of York’s Business Improvement District Andrew Lowson is looking ahead to 2019, with a priority to attract more local people into the city.

Looking back at what 2018 has been like for the York’s companies, Andrew said the BID’s aim was to “make life as easy as possible for businesses” and help them thrive.

He highlighted many positives from the last year – including tourism – but added that many businesses wanted to see more local people visiting York city centre.

Saving money

Bloom! brought a feel-good factor to York. Photograph: Richard McDougall
He said the BID had helped save thousands of pounds for companies during 2018 – whether it is from street rangers recovering £31,000 of stolen goods, or working with specialists to help businesses cut their bills.

So far this scheme has helped make about £55,000 of savings.

He added that events that brought people into the city, such as the Micklegate Soap Box Challenge, Fossgate Festival and the Christmas lights and market, were among the highlights of the year.

“Bloom! brought a real feel-good factor, it showed how you can do things differently in the city,” he said.

The York BID was the main sponsor for flora and fauna festival Bloom! and for the Micklegate Soap Box Challenge, as well as working in partnership with Make It York to create the city’s finest ever Christmas illuminations.

But keeping the streets clean, making the city look good and addressing the issue of empty shops have all been part of the team’s workload this year.

The BID has two street cleaners working seven days a week to clear up outside businesses. They removed 676 pieces of graffiti this year and cleaned away 3,500 areas of mess.

The wow factor

The Fossgate banner. Photograph: Richard McDougall
The BID also created floral displays, installed cigarette bins outside bars and helped install the new Fossgate banner, as well as wrapping the windows of 13 empty shops in the city.

But Mr Lowson says there are still challenges:

  • The issue of rates is still there and that’s not an easy one to solve.

    There were some small changes this year and we will continue to lobby Government.

    Businesses also want Christmas lights. Rather than doing a ‘wow-factor’ display just in the city centre, we wanted to include as much of the city as possible. We would like to include more next year.

    But I would like to try to get the ‘wow-factor’ from Christmas lights in the future.

You can find out more about the York BID on its website.