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New board bidding to bring further success to Darlington town centre

Distinct DarlingtonDarlington’s Business Improvement District (BID) has announced its new-look board as it prepares to step up its efforts to boost the town’s visitor economy.

Shopping centres, department stores, national and independent retailers are among those represented on Distinct Darlington Ltd’s new 17-strong board, alongside offices, commercial companies, cafes, restaurants and the evening economy.

The BID re-elects its board annually in line with regulations, with individuals from a broad range of sectors being voted on to the board by company members, to help drive success for Darlington town centre through a variety of projects and initiatives.

As it enters its second year of operation, the business is planning a number of exciting and innovative measures to enhance Darlington’s town centre offering for businesses, visitors and the general public.

Boosting recycling projects and services for businesses will be high on the agenda, as will growing the town’s night time economy and improving the aesthetics of Darlington centre.

Other plans consist of building on its existing projects including the quarterly Little Book of Offers and the hugely successful TV advert, which ran in April as part of a regional multi-media campaign.

After its successful launch in 2012, the company’s outdoor ice rink will be returning to the town centre this winter, occupying the market square for over four weeks.

Due to its overwhelming success, Distinct Darlington are also planning to expand its hanging basket scheme, originally piloted in Skinnergate, to other areas of the town centre to provide an attractive seasonal addition to the town.

Alex Hirst, manager of Distinct Darlington Ltd, said: “Darlington town centre is made up of a variety of local, national and independent businesses. By having a diverse mix of spokespersons from these businesses on our board we are able to learn from their experiences and gain a collective insight into what projects will prove most successful over the next 12 months.

“I am confident the company will continue to develop and we can use the previous 12 months as a firm platform from which to grow.

“We’re delighted to have these individuals taking an interest in the BID and pro-actively supporting a business whose objectives are to improve Darlington town centre. We value their input and welcome the ideas of other town centre businesses too.”

Ian Taylor, director of Your Move Scott-Collier Taylor and a board member of the BID, said: “Being born and bred in Darlington and a Darlington Football Club supporter for 43 years, the town means a great deal to me and I have a deep desire to see it prosper in the future.

“Whatever I can do personally and as part of the BID team to help the town I will and to have this opportunity in just the second year of a new concept is fantastic.”

Nicola Reading, chair of Distinct Darlington Ltd and owner of retail business Bliss Gifts, said: “This is the first full year that the board has been voted in formally by way of an election and we now have an interesting and diverse selection of board members.

“I am looking forward to working with them all on how we implement our 2013/14 objectives. We have set quite a challenging agenda and with hard work on all our parts I think we can deliver what we have promised.

“We plan to implement some new and exciting processes which ultimately will make Darlington town centre a better, vibrant and exciting place to spend our valuable leisure time.”

Distinct Darlington Ltd’s new board comprises of:

Robin Blair, owner, JJ Blair & Sons Ltd (Covered Market)

Peter Bulmer, owner, Coopers Tea Rooms & Coffee Shop & The Waterhouse Kitchen

Peter Kirsop, store manager, Binns House of Fraser

Rick McCordall, director, Clervaux Artisan Bakery & Café

Michele Mitchell, store manager, Marks & Spencer

Nicola Reading, owner, Bliss Gifts

Ian Taylor, director, Your Move Scott-Collier Taylor

Les Fry, owner, Voodoo Café

Matthew Robertson, director, Truffle Restaurant

John Howard, director, Hinc Properties Ltd & John Howard UK

Charlotte Nichols, director, Harvey & Hugo

Peter Robinson, owner, Thomas Watson Auctioneers

Louise Hardy, manager, Queen Street Shopping Centre

Susan Young, centre manager, Cornmill Shopping Centre

Cllr Chris McEwan, councillor, Darlington Borough Council/Economy & Local Environment

Insp. Mick Button, inspector, Darlington Neighbourhood Policing Team

For more information visit www.distinctdarlington.co.uk.

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