First St Albans Business Summit was “a roaring success”
A major effort will take place next year to shape an exciting new future for St Albans City Centre businesses within the Business Improvement District (BID).
Organisations which pay the BID levy are to be invited to a meeting early next year along with other interested groups.
The intention is to map the way forward for St Albans BID, a not-for-profit company owned by its members.
Businesses will be asked to contribute ideas and suggestions about how St Albans BID, which started in 2017, can further enhance the City Centre to their benefit.
The initiative was announced at the first St Albans Business Summit, an engagement event run by St Albans City and District Council with a number of partners.
Around 70 local business owners and managers attended the meeting held in the Georgian courtroom of the St Albans Museum + Gallery.
The aim was to bring together businesses of all types in the District with organisations that are able to help them grow.
Among the information given out to businesses was guidance on business rate relief, help available to new firms and how to join forces to lobby central government.
The businesses were asked to raise the most pressing local issues that affected them.
These 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.
St Albans BID, which is a privately-owned body, was established to be a voice for shops, pubs, restaurants and other City Centre businesses.
Businesses and some organisations within its territory pay a levy that BID uses to promote and enhance the area.
Councillor Mandy McNeil, Portfolio Holder for Business, Culture and Tourism, initiated the St Albans Business Summit and spoke at the event.
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 - the lifeblood of our economy - to thrive and attract new ones.
We’re committed to ensuring that the District has a strong local economy, one that creates wealth and exciting career opportunities for local people and that can pull in businesses looking to relocate to the District.
The feedback we received on issues such as rent levels and lack of commercial office space will influence our policies in the years ahead as we work with various partners to make the District a great place for business.
Cllr Chris White, the Council Leader and Portfolio Holder for Climate and Environment, opened and closed the summit.
The event’s co-sponsors were St Albans City of Expertise, St Albans Chamber of Commerce, STANTA (an independent enterprise agency), St Albans BID, Hertfordshire Growth Hub and Hertfordshire County Council.
Mandy McNeil, Portfolio Holder for Business,
Culture and Tourism
Principal Communications Officer
Tel: 01727 819533