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Shannon from Ilkley Cinema_edited.jpg

Shannon from Ilkley Cinema

Ilkley BID gets the independent vote

Over 300 proposed businesses will be affected by the Ilkley BID, voting for which is open now.  Ilkley is well known for its wide range of retailers, venues and businesses, both high street names and unique independents. 

The challenges faced by independents on the high street are well documented.  Although the troubles of the big brand names often hit the headlines, it is independent businesses that are hardest hit: according to data from the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) and the Local Data Company (LDC), there was a net decline of 1554 independent retailers in the first half of 2018, compared to a net increase of 762 shops in the same period in 2017.

Gavin Smith, manager of Commute Café on Leeds Road said “I see a huge number of benefits for my business by bringing a BID to Ilkley.  As an independent every penny counts and I need to ensure it is spent wisely.  Ilkley has a good number of independent retailers and businesses who will thrive and flourish under the BID.  By paying a small percentage of my rates my business will reap the benefits from increased events to Ilkley and the promotion of the town.”

Emma Lishman, Vice-Chair of the Ilkley BID Development Board comments, “We need to work hard with our town centre by leading and innovating, setting out a long-term strategy, offering the amazing town centre and all its benefits, whilst finding new ways of using what we have and encouraging new business.  Our strategy sets out to market Ilkley as an attractive place to do business, visit, shop and stay for residents and tourists alike.  Towns like ours need independents and specialists as well as more commercial businesses and quite often the heart of the town is down to the independents.”

Jeremy Kastner, owner of Kastner Kitchens on The Crescent said “An organisation such as the Ilkley BID speaking on our behalf is needed.  Ilkley is lacking in the promotion of its identity, which is something other places such as Hebden Bridge and Haworth have done very well. Government at local level has been hamstrung by national agendas that are restricting or even depressing local development to provide sustainable local communities. This means that a localised approach will foster a more focused development programme.  As a local independent supplier my time at Kastner Kitchens is committed to running my business and doing the best for my customers – I don’t have the time to attend meetings with the council or tourist boards but equally I want a say on decisions which affect the town. The Ilkley BID will provide a perfect platform from which to address matters that directly affect my business and the community in which we operate.”      

John Tate from the award winning Ilkley Cinema added “We really like and support the BID proposal because it will be an Ilkley based forum for discussing and implementing new ideas that will help local businesses at a grass roots level.”

Ballot papers were issued on 26 February to businesses in Ilkley asking them to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on an Ilkley BID. All commercial businesses within a defined area in Ilkley and a rateable value of £7000 or more have the right to vote on whether the BID goes ahead and voting runs until 28 March 2019.  If successful, Ilkley BID begins operating in June 2019.

Any businesses unsure of whether they are eligible, who think they should have received a ballot paper but haven’t got one or require more information should contact or visit

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