Delivering for Ilkley (2019-2024)

First Term Business Plan

First Term

The key projects for Ilkley BID’s first term were grouped into four key areas as detailed below.  The provision of additional funding from Bradford Metropolitan District Council as part of the Government’s Additional Restrictions Grant scheme in 2021 enabled the BID to deliver projects that would normally have been significantly outside the original budget, many of which will continue to deliver benefits for years to come.    The grant was allocated specifically to the BID to help drive the local economy and bring new, business-boosting initiatives to the town; grant monies were only available to areas in the district operating a Business Improvement District.

Marketing & Promotion of the town

One Voice for businesses

Maintaining Ilkley as an attractive place

Business Support

Marketing the town

Here are some of the highlights of what the BID delivered in it's first term 2019 - 2024.

  • Developed and implemented the Discover Ilkley brand to showcase and promote
    everything that the town has to offer, with a dedicated website, extensive social media
    activity and a twice-monthly newsletter
  • Local radio advertising
  • Sponsored the Ilkley’s Got Heart ‘Save a Life’ campaign
  • Took part in the collaborative Sparkling Bradford promotional campaign
  • Worked with well-respected local event organisers to promote Discover Ilkley and the
    Ilkley Gift Card, including the Ilkley Carnival, Ilkley Literature Festival and Ilkley Pride
    Provided free town centre Wi-Fi throughout key areas of the town (grant-funded)
  • Managed and promoted a national Town Crier competition; a colourful and eye-
    catching spectacle that brought the crowds into town
  • Promoted the town outside Ilkley with:
    • An eye-catching mural at Leeds/Bradford Airport Arrivals promoting Discover Ilkley
      Extensive regional magazine coverage
    • Two town centre printed maps and visitor guides, which were distributed across the
      whole of the north of England
  • Collaborations with tourist and days out guides and strategic third parties to promote
    Ilkley to a wider targeted audience

Marketing the businesses

In addition to the previous activities, Ilkley BID worked directly with businesses to help them
with specific marketing activities, including:

  • Promotional videos aired online and on local TV
  • Local press ‘Business Spotlights’
  • Business podcasts on local radio stations, featuring interviews with business owners
  • Annual Christmas campaigns including the production and distribution of 7,500 printed
    gift guides, extensive social media promotion, elf videos featuring independent businesses
    and reintroduction of Late Night Shopping
  • Behind-the-scenes business articles
  • A ‘Be Our Guest’ campaign encouraging consumers to visit shops and restaurants they
    may have overlooked and promotion of the selected businesses
  • PR business support, including writing press releases on behalf of businesses and
    distributing the articles to the media
  • Two Health & Wellness events at the Winter Garden to showcase to visitors the health
    and beauty businesses in town
  • Regular, seasonal interactive trails bringing people to shop windows they might
    otherwise walk past

One voice for businesses

Ilkley BID represents business interests on a regular basis with a wide variety of organisations,
including Bradford Council, Ilkley Town Council, the local MP, the West Yorkshire Combined
Authority and many community groups.

Ilkley BID was very vocal and proactive in supporting, accessing and responding to business
needs with regard to the parking changes in Ilkley in 2019.

  • Hundreds of hours were spent liaising with Bradford Council, the Town Council, the District
    Councillors, residents and businesses about the impacts of the parking scheme in order to
    find some workable solutions
  • A professionally-advised survey was set up to gather data from town centre businesses,
    residents and visitors to assess the impact of the new parking scheme
  • The BID was the first organisation to put in a formal request for a series of amendments
    to the scheme, which were echoed by some of the District and Town Councillors
  • Amendments included: an increase of free parking from 30 minutes to 1 hour, an
    increase of the maximum 2 hours parking limit in many areas to 4 hours, more signage
    highlighting long-stay parking areas, provision of long-stay coach parking, multiple
    day parking and the ability to purchase parking tickets to cover multiple days, as well as
    the installation of new software in the meters of all long-stay car parking areas
  • Responded to over 600 emails related to parking

In addition, Ilkley BID joined forces with its Bradford and Keighley counterparts to call on the
Government to stop plans to cut key rail services in the district.

Maintaining Ilkley as an attractive place

Ilkley residents and workers take pride in their town's beauty, and Ilkley BID responded by delivering the following initiatives;

  • A programme of deep cleaning and hot washing the paved areas around the town centre
  • Additional Christmas lights to benefit businesses, which complement the Christmas lights funded by the Town Council
  • Contributions to the Station Plaza flower bed development
  • Vibrant lamp post banners promoting Discover Ilkley and the Ilkley Gift Card
  • Vibrant and eye-catching bunting for the key occasions of the King’s Coronation
    and Pride month
  • Ongoing research into improving the appearance of the Rear of The Grove
  • Ongoing contribution to the Brook Street fountain restoration project

With the district council facing financial difficulties, alternative funding models are needed for these services to continue.

Throughout the first term, Ilkley BID delivered a huge amount of business support as follows;

Ilkley Gift Card
The town-wide Ilkley Gift Card was established to encourage local spending, encourage town centre footfall and reinforce the ‘shop local’ message. At the highest up to 90 businesses have participated in the scheme with over £40,000 of gift card sales registered. (As of January 2024)

Meeting room
The BID meeting room is conveniently located and available for BID businesses to use free of charge for meetings and video conferencing and can be configured for training and other purposes.

Ilkley Watch Scheme radio/app
Ilkley BID paid for 10 new high tech radios, which were loaned to the larger retailers and others in key positions in the town which was replaced by an app-based scheme enabling all BID businesses to help combat ‘shrinkage’ and concerns about anti-social behaviour.

Free HR support
The service was available to BID members who required advice with HR issues such as restructures, recruitment, contracts and training. The campaign was backed up with an HR advice podcast.

1-2-1 digital training
Free, bespoke digital training was provided to help improve social media, search engine visibility and graphics creation.

Free professional photography
A free professional photography service for BID members by a local photographer.

Reducing business costs
Ilkley BID worked with specialists on two separate occasions to identify savings in overhead costs for BID members. To date, £108,000 (January 2024) of savings have been identified and communicated to businesses.

Ilkley BID partnered with multi award-winning place promotion app, LoyalFree, featuring interactive trails, event listings and a digital loyalty programme.

Business networking events
Joint networking sessions were held with the Ilkley Business Forum to bring businesses together, using BID member local catering services.

Regular support of the Ilkley Business Awards
Since 2020, Ilkley BID have been the headline sponsor of the Ilkley Business Awards to promote and celebrate the businesses operating in the LS29 area.

Real Food Market
Ilkley BID have paid for eligible levy members to have a stall at the Real Food Ilkley Market to enable them to bring their products to a new audience.

COVID Support

  • Ilkley BID was instrumental in sharing the latest COVID-19 news, advice and government instructions with its members, often being asked to provide clarity
  • Added a COVID-19 support page on the Ilkley BID website for business information, financial support and safety guides, resulting in an increase in website traffic of over 500%
  • Provided daily updates via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with COVID-19 guidance, links and advice
  • The BID Manager participated in weekly Bronze Partner Council Meetings, resulting in the identification of numerous businesses who had not realised they were eligible for grants, and aided businesses with grant applications
  • Launched campaigns to promote open businesses during lockdown, including the Ilkley To You website featuring 108 businesses Increased campaign awareness through regional radio adverts, a huge billboard display and social media promotion Initiated Lockdown Trails, an Al Fresco Trail and a LoyalFree Trail to support various business services and participate in the Eat Out To Help Out scheme
  • Supplied hot food delivery bags to businesses and refunded some delivery costs to encourage free customer deliveries
  • Distributed floor stickers, sector-specific posters and safety guidance to businesses for post-lockdown reopening
  • Funded an online learning portal through Virtual College for businesses and their staff to gain skills and qualifications during the pandemic


Marketing and Promoting Ilkley