St Albans Business Summit lays out future plans for city centre

The St Albans Business Summit was held in the Georgian courtrooms at St Albans Museum + Gallery. Pic

The St Albans Business Summit was held in the Georgian courtrooms at St Albans Museum + Gallery. Picture: St Albans district council - Credit: Archant

A summit to shape the future of St Albans businesses was hailed as a “roaring success”.

Around 70 local business owners and managers attended the St Albans Business Summit, which was held in the Georgian courtrooms at St Albans Museum + Gallery on Monday, October 21.

At the event, a major initiative was announced which will "map the way forward" for St Albans city centre businesses within the Business Improvement District (BID).

Organisations which pay the BID levy will be invited to a meeting early next year, along with other interested groups, and will be asked to contribute suggestions for how the BID can further enhance the city centre.

The purpose of the summit was to bring together businesses in the district with organisations that can help them grow. Among the information given out was guidance on business rate relief, help available to new firms and how to join forces to lobby central government.

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Businesses were asked to name the most pressing local issues that affect them, which included pressure on car parking spaces, rent increases, the current street scene and a lack of signage directing people to shopping areas and other locations.

The business summit was initiated by Cllr Mandy McNeil, who is the district council's portfolio holder for business, culture and tourism.

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Cllr McNeil, who recently became one of nine St Albans BID directors, said: "As a council, we want our district businesses to know that this is a business-friendly council and we are there to help them.

"This is the first of a regular series of summits that I am planning and I thought this opening one was a roaring success.

"As a council, we are implementing initiatives to support business such as an online business portal that we are launching in January on our website.

"We want to work together with our businesses to create conditions in the district that will allow our many brilliant businesses to thrive and attract new ones."

The event was opened and closed by district council leader Cllr Chris White, and was co-sponsored by St Albans City of Expertise, the chamber of commerce, BID, Herts Growth Hub and Herts County Council.

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