Statement re Political Parties in the town centre

LETCHWORTH BID STATEMENT

6 JUNE 2018

The Letchworth BID enables businesses, community groups and other organisations to book space in the town centre under its premises license, which is granted by North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC). The BID’s primary goal for town centre pitch space bookings is to help increase footfall into the town centre either through the appeal of a stall or to provide financial support for BID projects and activities.

Requests by political parties for space bookings in the town centre fall under the category of ‘North Herts organisation’. Historically, the BID has endeavoured to ensure equal representation from political parties when it comes to promoting their respective parties in the town centre. However, it was noted during a BID Board Meeting held in May 2017 that securing political balance was proving to be a challenge and, as a result, a unanimous decision was taken by the BID Board not to grant promotional space in the town centre to any political party, with a view to revisiting booking opportunities in the future.

This decision meant that booking requests had to be declined and, with the exception of one booking made this year which was the result of human error by a member of the BID, no other bookings have been secured for any political party since the decision was taken last year.

On 29 May 2018, the Letchworth BID Board received a letter from representatives of three local political parties; The Letchworth and Baldock Liberal Democratic Party, The Green Party and The Labour Party. The content of the letter was discussed at the BID Board meeting on 31 May which focused on the three parties’ unanimous call to reintroduce bookings. As a result, and in line with the BID’s interest to support a wider and more balanced representation of political parties in town centre spaces, it was agreed by the BID Board that all legitimate political parties would have the opportunity to, once again, book space to promote their party in the town centre.

The decision has already produced a positive outcome with discussions taking place between the BID and the party looking to re-book space, and the BID would like to encourage all other parties to get in contact to discuss booking opportunities to help ensure equal representation for all.

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