After two and a half years of dedication and determination to see Hatton Garden become a Business Improvement District (BID), and subsequently a world-renowned business and visitor destination, it’s time for Gary Williams to celebrate.
Local eligible businesses voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposals, and the area will assume its new BID status in October.
“The Hatton Garden BID will generate about £2.5m from local businesses over the next four and a half years, through a small 1% levy on business rates, which will fund projects to promote and improve many aspects of the area,” Gary explains.
These projects will centre around four main themes: better business connections and representation for the business community; a high-quality public realm, including new seating areas, lighting and planters; area promotion and profile raising; and enhancing the environment.
“The trade is under immense pressure from rising rents and building developments due to the planned opening of Crossrail at Farringdon in 2018, and so we are also trying to give support to the workshops that are under threat of being displaced,” Gary adds.
Meanwhile, networking opportunities, mentoring and training programmes and projects to showcase the creativity and skills within Hatton Garden will support businesses, protect the jewellery sector and position the area as a creative hub.
Gary is proud that his company, Presman Mastermelt, which is based in Hatton Garden, was the first business to back the initiative.
“We have always been huge supporters of the jewellery trade here,” he says. “My co-directors take their corporate social responsibility seriously and are completely behind the whole project and the time that I put in, because the BID will work to support the best interests of those in the local jewellery community, many of whom are our customers.”
Gary readily admits that securing BID status is only the beginning of a long journey of planning, strategy and networking meetings ahead, but he also knows it will be time well spent to make sure every possible BID benefit is reaped.