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BID board speaks out as voting deadline approaches

Ilkley BID board discussing future plans for the town at the BID’s Ilkley Town Hall HQ

Board members of Ilkley Improvement District have spoken out about their dual roles of running Ilkley businesses and leading the town’s first ever BID, as the deadline approaches for voting in a second term.

Representing nine local businesses, the board covers all sectors and sizes of businesses that are eligible levy-payers, ensuring their strategic delivery is reflective of the needs and concerns of operating businesses in the town.

BID Chair and Director of Ilkley-based Bluehoop Digital, Ian White, said the board is made up of nine voluntary members and one Bradford Council representative, bringing a diverse and rich skill set to manage and represent the priorities of the levy-paying business community.

He said: “Every voluntary member of our board either runs, has founded or is involved in a local business. They give their time freely both weekly and monthly, to ensure that the BID remains true to its purpose of delivering by businesses for businesses.

“As we fast approach the deadline for voting for Ilkley’s second five-year BID term, we felt it was important to re-introduce the people who, behind the scenes, work tirelessly to make the BID happen for the good of our town and the businesses in it.”

Ilkley BID employs one full time and one part time member of staff who are supported by two part-time, freelance contractors who help deliver specific BID projects. Ilkley Town Council’s Cllr David Cowell also attends board meetings as an observer and facilitates communication between the groups.

The BID’s current board is Tim Tennant, owner of The Art Shops, Mark Smith, Royal Mail postman, Paul Craggs, owner of The Ilkley Shoe Company, Cassie Bowley owner of Fresh Skincare and Beauty Salon, Sarita Prasar, Tesco General Manager and newest members Chris Stapleton, General Manager of The Box Tree Restaurant, Garry Wilkinson, Store Manager of Go Outdoors and Colin Butler, Manager of Friends of Ham.


Postman Mark Smith said: “I have been asked in the past why I’m on the BID board when I don’t own a local business, but having delivered in Ilkley for 10 years, I meet local businesses every single day. I not only wanted to give something back to the town but also felt my involvement would give me the opportunity to speak to businesses and find out what’s important to them, ensuring I am a critical friend in the feedback and delivery process.”


Colin Butler from Friends of Ham added: “My role in hospitality compliments my board role as it means I can draw on my experiences of living and breathing the challenges of this sector here in our town. I also love Ilkley and it’s important to me to have a voice in its future and be a part of

the team that’s making change happen, for the good of all businesses – whatever sector they represent.”

Ilkley BID operates as a not-for-profit company and since launching in 2019, funds have been invested in a range of services including marketing and promotion of the town, maintaining Ilkley as an attractive place, business support and lobbying on behalf of its members. Its first five-year term ends on 31 May and the organisation is now asking levy-paying businesses and organisations to support its continuation from 1 June 2024 until May 2029 by voting ‘Yes’ in the independent ballot which closes at 5pm on Thursday 21 March.

Longest serving BID board member, Tim Tennant, a life-long resident and business owner in the town, joined at the start of the first five-year term in June 2019 after seeing the benefits of an active BID in Northallerton, home to his additional art shop.

Tim said: “Ilkley is a wonderful town with people from all corners giving their time to make this a community in every sense of the word. As an Ilkley business owner with an additional premises in Northallerton, I am aware that my business is only as successful as the town it is in and it’s with this in mind that I want to be a part of improving Ilkley’s future for everyone’s benefit.

“Times are challenging for everyone right now but by working on the inside of the BID, I feel I’m doing my bit to create a strong, secure and enduring town which can weather whatever storms come our way.”

He added: “I hope our levy-paying businesses understand the BIDs role, its importance and the long-term results that a ‘Yes’ vote will help us to achieve.”

The Ilkley BID Business Plan can be seen on the BID website. Members are also free to email or call the BID office on 07437 504614 for more information.


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