Report find St Albans BID has been important in developing the local economy

Crinkle Crankle Garden on the Wheathampstead Heritage Trail. Picture: St Albans BID

Crinkle Crankle Garden on the Wheathampstead Heritage Trail. Picture: St Albans BID - Credit: Archant

A report has found that St Albans Business Improvement District (BID) has taken on an important role in developing the local economy since its formation.

St Albans BID came into force in April 2017 to provide additional services to people who live and work in the city centre.

During the pandemic, St Abans BID has “been crucial in enhancing the essential work” undertaken by St Albans district council, the report says. This has included employing BID Rangers who have been patrolling the city centre, advising shoppers and businesses on COVID safety regulations.

BID promoted the Inside Out St Albans campaign, allowing businesses to operate on the street, and was involved in the decision to temporarily pedestrianise some city centre streets.

The report about the work of St Albans BID was given to a meeting of the council’s community, environment and sport scrutiny committee. The committee also heard about the work of St Albans visitor partnership, with which BID is involved. The partnership is currently working on a strategy, funded by the BID, to make the district a first-class destination for visitors.

Cllr Annie Brewster, the committee’s chair, said after the meeting: “We felt it important to invite representatives from St Albans BID to our scrutiny meeting as they have such a close association with the council.

“The overwhelming view of the committee was that it is doing an excellent job in promoting our local businesses and providing a range of additional services, many of which residents assume the council provides exclusively.

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“It has been particularly active during the COVID pandemic, balancing the need to keep people safe with the need to ensure our local economy can come through this crisis in reasonable shape.

“Looking further into the future, the work the BID is doing as a key member of St Albans visitor partnership has the potential to turn the city with its unique heritage and host of great attractions into a major visitor destination.

“The committee felt that this ambition, though, has to have a district-wide scope and we are already seeing many BID initiatives that flow both ways. Surrounding parishes are encouraged to share information about their visitor attractions and events so we can support one another.

“For example, both day and overnight visitors are likely to seek out the city centre, have lunch or stay in one of our central hotels having explored wonderful tourist destinations such as the Wheathampstead heritage trail or the Redbourn Museum.”