Luton BID appoints new project manager to lead three-year business plan

Luton Business Improvement District (BID) has appointed a new manager to take charge of the group's remaining three-year plan for the town centre.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 9:22 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 10:16 am
Former Debenhams manager Julia Horsman has been appointed as Luton BID's project manager
Former Debenhams manager Julia Horsman has been appointed as Luton BID's project manager

Former Debenhams manager, Julia Horsman, has been appointed by BID’s management consultants to deliver projects, events and activities as part of the BID’s 2019-2024 business plan.

Ms Horsman says she believes there is "growing potential, resilience and optimism" among businesses in Luton

She said: “The BID has built a very solid reputation in the town centre and there is a wonderful sense of variety and community, with all the different businesses clearly wanting the same thing.

"This brings us masses of opportunity – it’s a truly exciting time to take up this role."

Ms Horsman has worked in retail management for many years, most recently overseeing the Bedford and Luton Debenhams stores before they closed.

“I feel like I have been building up to this role my entire working career. I have also worked in towns where there has been no BID presence, so I know how challenging it is for businesses that don’t have this additional support.

"We are lucky this is not the case in Luton.”

Luton town centre has already been ranked in the top 10 UK retail recoveries, and Julia says she believes this can be sustained across all local sectors – including professional services, leisure and hospitality too.

“We just need to make sure we stay ahead of the game as buying habits shift,” she added. “I will be listening and working with key partners like the council, police, cultural organisations and of course BID businesses to make sure we continue to invest our pot of money in projects that are important to them so that we further promote and improve our town centre.

"My first exciting project will be to maximise the BID’s sponsorship of the upcoming family art display – The Big Trunk Trail.”

Gavin O’Brien, Luton BID Chair and co-director of town centre-based business Clearhead said: “Our BID board share excitement in welcoming Julia to the team – we’re confident she will bring lots of passion and enthusiasm to the role.

"We would also like to thank our former BID project manager, Fergus McLardy, for his support and contribution over the last five years and wish him all the best in his new position at Luton Borough Council.”

In 2019 businesses voted in favour of renewing Luton BID for a second term until 2024, which means they pay an annual levy towards the delivery of BID events, initiatives and projects.

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