Business leaders rally round under-fire Make It York

David Kerfoot, chair of the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership
15 Dec 2020 @ 12.12 pm
| Business

Members of York’s business community have rallied round Make It York after a petition was launched calling for the organisation to be wound up.

Leading city retailer Phil Pinder is behind the petition. He started it ahead of a meeting today (Tuesday) which will consider whether to give the destination marketing organisation a massive bailout – which could total almost £2 million in loans and payment deferrals..

Phil, who chairs York Retail Forum, says the taxpayer shouldn’t be exposed to such risks, saying: “A request of nearly £2 million to save an organisation no one thinks is working is an astonishing ask.”

Martin Bradnam, of Hospitality Association York, also said questions should be asked about MIY’s future, saying “their responses to the pandemic have been exceptionally slow”.

At the time of publication, 115 people had signed the petition.

Now others in the city have come forward to support Make It York.

Jon Flatman, chairman of York City Knights said: “We have worked in partnership with Make It York on a number of projects and initiatives over the recent months, including the Rugby League World Cup, and have been impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment that the team have shown, by their new methods of working and the reality of connecting with businesses and people to make a difference, particularly through this difficult time. 

“We know that Make It York have been working incredibly hard to develop a robust plan for recovery in the city – taking an agile approach to incorporate changing government guidance and feedback from local businesses. 

The Visit York HQ. Photograph: VisitYork.com

“Their focus has very much been on helping the city to bounce back and supporting businesses to recover from the impact of the pandemic.”  

Andrew Lowson, executive director of York BID said: “The BID was made aware of the petition this morning and it has not been discussed at Board level. 

“The BID has its own renewal process to go through in January/ February 2021 and during this time, we believe we need all those who can make a positive contribution to York’s future pulling in the same direction.”

York Businessman said Richard Wood said: “I have worked with Make It York on a number of issues, including our really exciting, current Roman Quarter development. In my experience, they do a great job and have a vital role to play in raising York’s profile and attracting the sort of investment we need to help grow and diversify our economy.”

And David Kerfoot, chair of the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership said: “With devolution, and all the economic opportunities it presents, Make It York’s expertise and networks will be vital in ensuring we maximise the potential by pulling together all the different interests across the city.”