Bedford BID chief meets with Minister for High Streets

Rae Levene of Bedford BID.
Rae Levene of Bedford BID.

Bedford BID, the UK’s first market town Business Improvement District, joined the Government Minister for High Streets for a meeting.

Rae Levene, Chair of Bedford BID, who has been a BID volunteer for ten years said: “It’s about the challenges facing all town centres today. It is critical that BIDs are recognised as a key solution where big and small businesses want a voice about how their town centres are run.

“It is vital a town centre like Bedford with nearly 800 organisations of all sizes needs a business-minded approach.”

The British BIDs event on Monday, April 28, was attended by Brandon Lewis MP, Minister for the High Street.

Mr Lewis MP said: “The needs of the modern shopper are changing and our High Streets must keep pace in order to remain relevant and prosper.”

Bedford was the first market and county town in the UK to become a Business Improvement District in 2005.

Mr Levene added: “When we started we had no blueprint to follow – but now others follow our example in fact.

“We have evolved to meet the changing face of retail and we believe that businesses who are paying rent and rates in the town centre are a vital voice.

“In Bedford, national chains, the Harpur Centre, major organisations like Bedford College and others all back the BID trading environment which helps independents to succeed and which encourages investment.

“The Business Improvement District of Bedford brings them all together and allows them to act at the speed of business – not bureaucracy.”

The town of Bedford has previously been awarded a £51,000 Mary Portas pot fund, helped by the Bedford BID, which has been used to highlight Bedford High Street.