The Kirkwall Business Improvement District was formed in 2013, and is now approaching the end of its initial five-year term.  Following a member survey gathering opinions in 2017, and several member meetings, the Board have presented a new Business Plan. They hope that local businesses will vote Yes to take Kirkwall BID into another five-year term, 2018 – 2023.

Serena Sutherland, Chair of the BID board, said, ‘Kirkwall is a town steeped in history and rich in culture, which benefits from the wide range of businesses operating in the town centre.  However, the commercial environment they face is challenging, and we need to do all we can to make sure Kirkwall continues to be a great place to live, work and visit.’

By working together, town centre businesses have been able to lobby for changes such as free parking during the winter months and the reopening of the St Magnus Lane toilets, which have helped to make the town centre more attractive and accessible to all.  With town improvement projects such as the Winter Lighting introduced in 2016 and 2017, benches, planters and summer bunting, 59% of businesses surveyed felt that Kirkwall town centre is a better place to be than it was 5 years ago.  There is strong support for a continuation of BID activities as well as support for new activity, such as more digital engagement and further winter lighting.

 Through events and marketing campaigns over the last five years, Kirkwall BID has helped to bring more people into the town centre, encouraged them to stay longer and spend more, and has invested in making the area more attractive for all who visit, work and live in Kirkwall.  Small businesses with limited marketing budgets recognise the value of BID promotional activity: it helps them ‘punch above their weight’ against large out-of-town competitors, and with online stores.  By doing so, BID helps preserve the town’s unique and historic centre: ‘Keeping the Heart in Kirkwall,’ as BID’s slogan has it. 

Building on the success of the Kirkwall BID 2013-2018, the Board hope to continue with town improvement projects throughout the BID area, as well as developing the well-loved annual programme of events such as the Girls’ Day Out and the Halloween Parade.

Ms Sutherland added, ‘A momentum has been built up over the last five years through the efforts of the BID team, board and levy payers, with many positive results and visible investment in the town centre.  We have a clear vision for what is needed to build on the successes to date, and it’s all laid out in our new business plan.  I encourage everyone to have a look at that: we think you’ll be amazed at what BID has achieved so far, and excited about our plans for the next five years.’


You can view the Kirkwall BID Business Plan for 2018-2023 by clicking here.