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York hotelier named as city business champion

A York hotelier has been elected to “champion” the city’s ongoing development as part of York’s new Business Improvement District (BID).

Graham Usher, the general manager of the BEST WESTERN Monkbar Hotel – which is currently undergoing a £3 million transformation – has been named as one of a small number of champions who will lead the new York BID project.

The new BID – a designated area where businesses work together to invest in services, special projects and events – will be funded by a one per cent levy on the rateable value of businesses falling within its boundaries.

This money will then be used to drive business growth and boost the local economy – and, because this revenue is raised and reinvested into the area by local businesses, it is spent on items these businesses want, and need, free from the restrictions of party politics.

Only six months ago, Graham was elected to serve as chairman of the York Hoteliers Association, which sees him working closely with more than 20 York hotels to champion travel and tourism in and around the city.

Steve Hughes, York BID project manager, said: “We are delighted to have Graham as one of our BID champions. Graham’s experience in the hotel and hospitality sector will be invaluable as the BID progresses.”

Mr Usher said: “I was delighted to be asked to take on this new role as a BID champion, and am looking forward to working with colleagues from across the city to deliver significant improvements for York’s businesses.

“Over the last few years we have come through a tough recession which had a big impact on trade.

“However, we have seen a real boost thanks to the Olympics, the Tour de France and major investments in a number of businesses, including my own.”

Mr Usher added: “The proposed BID, which during our early consultations has seen overwhelming support, is expected to generate more than £800,000 to reinvest in the city, drive growth and boost the local economy.

“This money – to be spent by local businesses, for local businesses – will help put in place the conditions that will allow us to develop and thrive and make the most out of York’s burgeoning business community.”

Businesses will have an opportunity to vote on the plans in late October and November.

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Graham Usher

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