Haslemere Chamber and colleagues in Cranleigh, Farnham and Godalming are sowing the seeds of business development across Waverley by inviting local businesses to think about a Business Improvement District (BID).

The four chambers – informally Waverley Joint Chambers (WJC) – plan to launch discussions soon with businesses in each of the towns to gauge support for the idea.

By working together – and with support from Waverley Borough Council – we believe it will be possible to achieve far more for each of the towns than if they tried to run individual BIDs.

A BID is a business-led initiative supported by government legislation. It gives local businesses the power to raise funds with the aim of improving their business environments. Local businesses agree how their money should be invested to benefit themselves, their employees, customers, clients and the area.

There are already over 290 BIDs successfully operating across the country.

The WJC news release says: “We have watched the success of the many BIDs in the UK that have improved their business environments, our closest being in Guildford which has just entered its second five-year term.

“For us it is early days and the process of setting up the BID could take 18 months to two years. But we feel that there are opportunities for our High Streets and business communities to benefit from a BID which addresses local needs on a town-by-town basis.

“We would like to hear from large and small businesses that would like to be part of the early discussions and feasibility study. Businesses do not need to be members of the chambers to take part.”

Jim Edwards, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Community Development at Waverley Borough Council, says: “A BID is a fantastic opportunity that could really help the local economy. If successful, a BID has the potential to transform our town and village centres, change the game for local businesses and bring significant benefits to Waverley.

“We have committed to fund a feasibility study to review potential BID areas, find out the level of interest, assess the viability of a BID and consider various options that could be adopted.

“Local businesses can take this opportunity to make their voices heard, be part of the development of the BID proposal and help shape the future of Waverley’s business sector.”

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