Newmarket's business improvement district appoints new manager in run up to crucial revote
A new manager has been appointed by the Newmarket Business Improvement District (BID) to lead the organisation forward to its crucial revote in 12 months’ time.
Bury St Edmunds businessman Paul Brown, who is a director of the Our Bury St Edmunds BID is set to take up his new role at the beginning of next month. He succeeds Graham Philpot, Newmarket’s first BID manager, who left last month to take up a similar post in London.
Mr Brown, who owns the Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing shop in St John’s Street, Bury, met Newmarket BID members at a special event at the Rowley Mile racecourse on Wednesday.
Office levy payers in Newmarket were invited to see a presentation about the BID, its background, its performance to date and how it engages with its ‘office members’ plus the chance for members to have their say about what they expect from the BID.
Mr Brown's appointment comes at a time when, in common with other towns and cities across the UK, Newmarket’s High Street is facing challenging times.
However, a shop occupancy survey produced by West Suffolk Council for the BID showed the town’s shop vacancy rate was continuing to buck the national trendand bring in investors.
According to the report, Newmarket offers 278 retail units and at the end of the summer, just 13 were vacant a rate of 4.7 per cent.
The Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) which helps collate and manage town-based information considers a vacancy rate of between five and 10 per cent to be an indicator of a healthy and vibrant town. Newmarket not only sits below the ATCM lowest percentage, but it also falls well below the national average of shop vacancy rates which is 10.3 per cent.
Newmarket BID has been working with local commercial agents to promote the existing vacant units and four out of the seven empty shops available at the time of the survey will be filled by Christmas, with heads of terms currently being agreed.