If you shop in St Albans or do business in St Albans, there is a high probability that you have come in contact with St Albans Improvement District (BID). From promoting things to do in St Albans on Valentine’s Day to supporting St Albans community projects, St Albans BID work with local businesses and residents to create a vibrant, thriving, sustainable and resilient St Albans city centre.
St Albans Business Improvement District (BID) will now operate for a second five-year term, following the announcement of the ballot result today with almost 70% of voting levy payers confirming a resounding YES for the BID’s ongoing work.
The BID required the backing of a majority of the levy-payers taking part in the vote to achieve its second term. 66% of votes cast voted in favour of the BID Renewal Ballot by total number of businesses, and 73% of votes cast voted in favour of the BID by Rateable Value.
The ballot process was managed by Civica Electoral Services and results were announced by the Returning Officer today. The BID’s second term will focus on delivering the commitments made in the 22/27 Business Plan with its vision to support a commercial, vibrant, thriving, sustainable and resilient St Albans through a business-led programme.
Executive Manager of St Albans BID, Alison Berneye, says:
“We are thrilled to have secured a second term so we can continue to work together, as a business community to ensure St Albans thrives as a premium destination to live, work and enjoy. The BID makes a measurable difference to our city centre, and we will work tirelessly to build a prosperous future for levy payers, working alongside our partners and communities to maximise opportunities and successes.”
Both a straight majority and a majority based on rateable values were required for the BID to succeed.
BID board member, Richard Latham said:
“We are delighted that St Albans BID has the support of the levy payers and will run for a second term. We will continue to work together to strengthen our local economy and build a resilient and thriving city centre. On behalf of the board, we’d like to thank all those that voted and for the unwavering passion and dedication of the BID team.”
The BID’s area includes St Peter’s St, the High Street, Chequer St and Holywell Hill.
BID board member Keith Newlan, owner of Kings Hill jewellers said:
“St Albans BID has supported our business community during unprecedented times. Post pandemic, St Albans has emerged a most attractive place to live, visit, invest and work, with big brand names and new independents choosing it as a business destination. Footfall that is above the national average will only continue to build on the economic success of the city.”
Businesses will continue to pay a BID levy of 1.8% of their rateable value. Those with rateable values of £12,000 or less will be exempt.
Lead Councillor for Business, Mandy McNeil said;
“A resounding yes from the levy payers proves that we really are stronger together. Thanks to the YES vote over 2.5m will be invested into city centre vibrancy and promoting St Albans.”
Sarah Hassan of local restaurant Bar Meze said:
“When the BID first came in, no one knew what it was or how it was going to benefit St Albans. But 5 years on, it has delivered so much for our city centre and having seen its successes, St Albans would be a different place without it. We voted ‘Yes’ and we are delighted that St Albans BID succeeded in winning a second term.”
Putteridge Bury unveiled as 2022 wedding award winner
The University of Bedfordshire’s stunning Putteridge Bury site has been awarded a national Hitched Wedding Award for 2022, cementing it as one of the finest event venues in the country.
Hitched, a nationally renowned wedding planning website, awards UK businesses such as venues, photographers, organisers and dress shops that have been highly rated and recommended by couples. Professionalism, quality of work, flexibility and customer service are all taken into account when deciding award-winners.
Putteridge Bury and its picturesque parkland is used for a wide variety of events, functions, and conferences, but it is for exceptional weddings that it has received this latest accolade. The only Bedfordshire-based venue to be granted a 2022 Hitched Award, it is evident that couples in the area have a place in their heart for this establishment.
The Grade II listed Elizabethan style manor house stands at the centre of the Estate and the perfect backdrop for every occasion. The breath-taking grounds were designed by foremost architect of the era Edwin L Lutyens and planted by Gertrude Jekyll. The west gardens include a beautiful oak tree that was planted by King George V in 1926 and an intimate walled garden – perfect for picture perfect moments.
Andrew Keen, General Manager at Putteridge Bury, is proud of his team’s efforts in earning the award. He said:
“It’s always an absolute pleasure to host weddings here at Putteridge Bury and we work hard to make couples’ days as unforgettable as possible, so it’s great to receive an award which is bested on the reviews and testimonials we have been given from those who have celebrated their special day here.
“The fact that we are the only venue in Bedfordshire to receive a Hitched Wedding Award for 2022 is incredibly exciting and feels like a deserved reward for our wonderful team that has made us stand out from the crowd.
“The recognition helps spur us on to another busy wedding season. After a challenging couple of years, we’re looking forward to hosting a full wedding season this year – it’s full steam ahead to some fantastic weddings and maybe even some more awards.”
Putteridge Bury Address
The Swan and The Black Horse both receive award for sustainability
Two local pubs, The Swan in Salford and The Black Horse in Woburn have been officially recognised for their actions to reduce their impact on climate change and help people to make more sustainable choices when eating out by being awarded a Three Star Food Made Good rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
The pubs and their owners Peach Pubs were given the accolade for the steps they have taken to be better businesses and make a difference to people and the planet. To achieve it, they worked with the Sustainable Restaurant Association to complete a detailed assessment of the sustainability of the businesses looking at 10 key areas. These ranged from celebrating local and seasonal and sourcing fish responsibly to treating its people fairly and eliminating food waste.
When combined to provide an overall performance across three key pillars – Sourcing, Society and Environment – Peach and the pubs were given a total Food Made Good Rating of 73%, earning them a Three Star status.
This means that the pubs have been able to show that they are good restaurants with a score of 72% on Sourcing, 74% on Society and 72% on Environment, adding up to a consistently good performance on all three key pillars.
The pubs’ focus on putting local and seasonal produce on their menus was highlighted by a score of 80%, while the way they look after the people who cook in their kitchens and run their bars and restaurant achieved 76%. Their efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle were recognised with a 76% score and the chefs’ hard work in eliminating food waste was rewarded with 72%.
Finally, everything the pubs do to support the community, especially during lockdown when they kept their teams busy doing voluntary work, cooking takeaways for local residents as well as preparing and delivering free meals to frontline NHS workers, was singled out with an impressive 84%.
“It’s fantastic news to be given a Three Star Food Made Good rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, and doubly significant after what has been a year like no other for the hospitality industry,” says Frazer Sutherland, Peach Partner who looks after the pubs.
“We are hugely proud that what we have been doing to be better businesses and put the planet first have been recognised in this way. It is tremendous encouragement from the Sustainable Restaurant Association and we shall be working with them over the year ahead to be even better and improve our scores in areas we need to. In the meantime, we shall be celebrating this excellent news with our team and with our guests” he says.
Juliane Caillouette-Noble, Managing Director of the SRA, said, “By being the first pub business to complete the Food Made Good sustainability rating after the pandemic and additionally achieving Three Stars, Peach truly is demonstrating to its customers, staff and industry colleagues that it is 100% committed to serving up a better food future.”
The Swan Salford Address
2 Wavendon Road
Tel: 01908 281008.
The Black Horse Address
The Black Horse,
1 Bedford Street
Tel: 01525 290210
A definitive guide to what’s on in St Albans this Christmas
Enjoy a magical day out in St Albans this Christmas where you’ll find lots of fun festive events for all ages to cherish. Why not ‘crack two nuts with one nutcracker’ and pick up some wonderful Christmas gifts from an array of eclectic independent shops and top high-street retailers – and take a well-earned rest in one of the many outstanding eateries offering superb festive fare. So, wrap up warm and enjoy the buzz of St Albans this festive season…
Here’s what’s on in St Albans this Christmas:
The Nutcracker Christmas Trail
The whole family will love getting involved in this trail and will discover some interesting facts about St Albans along the way, whilst enjoying the beautiful sights of the city.
Nutcracker’s may actually look a little scary but according to German folklore, they represent power and strength, bare their teeth to evil spirits and serve as the traditional messenger of good luck and goodwill.
Find your free Nutcracker Trail map in town or view it online and then wander around the city and district to find 15 Nutcracker Soldiers. The map tells you the location of the soldiers and as you find each one, write his name down on the Trail Sheet. Once you’ve found all of the names, fill in your details and post it into Santa’s postbox, which is also marked on the map. First prize is a £250 St Albans Gift Card, plus two runners-up will each receive a £50 St Albans Gift Card.
Go nuts for this fun family Christmas trail from 21st November 2021 until 4th January 2022.
Wonder at the vibrant and beautiful artworks created by local St Albans artists at this outside pop-up public art exhibition. The community arts initiative with Collective Gallery aims to enhance the city centre and make art inclusive for all, giving people joy in the most unexpected of places.
Throughout December, City Centre, Parklets, Museum Railings
Covent Garden Street Performers
Bringing the magic and theatre of Covent Garden to St Albans. You might just bump into these outrageously funny and brilliant street acts as you wander around town, who knows where they’ll pop up- watch out for the toy soldiers and trees on stilts.
Incredible Christmas lights and animation installations dotted across St Albans town centre will bring fun and joy to all folk across the festive period- and provide the perfect opportunity for a fabulous Instagram picture too.
Christmas Carol Concerts
A number of special festive events will be taking place at St Albans Cathedral this winter. Including The Hospice of St Francis concert, a magical afternoon of popular carols, guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit. With special performances from talented local choirs, the hour and 15-minute concert will feature a mix of solo recitals, thoughtful festive readings and plenty of opportunity for merry audience participation. Standard tickets cost £12.
Live Street Entertainment
Wrap up warm and enjoy festive family fun when a variety of fantastic theatre productions come to town. Innovative and interactive live theatre performances from Trestle Theatre and Booster Cushion Street Theatre. 7th, 10th, 12 December (Trestle) & 23rd December (Booster Cushion), Outside The Museum + Gallery.
Santa’s Post Office
Make memories when Santa’s ‘official’ and busy Post Office comes to town. The space is beautifully decorated to get everyone in the Christmas spirit, children can write a letter to Santa, enjoy Christmassy arts and crafts and interactive family games and fun. Every day from 21st November to 24th December 11am-4pm, old Cath Kidson shop, Christopher Place.
Santa’s Post Boxes – Fun and wonder for little ones when they write a letter to Santa and post it in one of the special post boxes located around town – watch the delight on their faces when they receive a reply from the Big Man himself. There’s also the chance to win a £100 St Albans Gift Card. 21st November – 4th January, Fleetville Larder, Cositas, Eyes on St Albans, Alban Arena
St Albans Postbox Toppers Charity Trail – Discover 82 postbox toppers that have been handcrafted by a team of dedicated volunteer yarn-bombers with designs including everything from Nativity scenes to Snowmen wearing colour-blind glasses. The trail is one of the biggest fundraising initiatives in St Albans that has raised over £64,000 for local charities. Search for ‘EYES on St Albans’ in your App store to download the App, enjoy the trail, donate and scan to win prizes and follow the page for more.
Manager of St Albans BID, Denise Parsons says:
“St Albans is the perfect winter destination for family fun, entertainment and Christmas shopping. We have an eclectic mix of independent shops, big-name retail outlets and of course, our famous Charter and Pop-Up Markets all alongside our fantastic pubs and eateries.
“It’s incredibly important for people to shop local this festive season and our TV ad and detailed Christmas Gift Guide will help locals and visitors to the make the most of their time shopping in our wonderful city. Our St Albans Gift Card also helps to support local businesses and is perfect for Christmas- as a stocking filler, a handy last-minute gift and it’s perfect for the person who is hard to buy for… and we all know one or two of those!”