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A group of Old Town business leaders have appointed Jocelyne Fleming to drive forward the case for a Business Improvement District (BID).

The idea is to set up an organisation similar to Essential Edinburgh in the city centre.

The steering group has worked with a wide range of businesses on the case for a number of months, but it is hoped the appointment will take the project to the next level, expanding the range of engagement with other businesses and building a strong campaign based on improving the local economy of the Old Town.

Ms Fleming, who is originally from Canada, has extensive experience in similar business improvement projects in a range of contexts and will be responsible for the project management of the initiative.

James McGregor, owner of the Royal McGregor and Chair of the steering group, said: “We’re delighted to announce Jocelyne’s appointment. She will play a pivotal role in taking the case for a Business Improvement District in the Old Town to the next level. Key to this will be getting out and listening to the concerns of local business owners to develop a joint vision for the local Old Town economy, building on the work that has already been undertaken.”

“The BID model has proved to be a highly effective way of delivering important investment and improvements over and above that provided by local and national government. Essential Edinburgh has shown that the initiative can deliver real impact in the New Town, and it’s time that the Old Town delivered on its ambition for similar results based on our unique historical and cultural offering.”

Jocelyne Fleming

Jocelyne said: “The Old Town has significant strengths which mean it is well positioned to benefit from business improvement programmes. The most important part of this is developing a process whereby local businesses, in partnership with communities, jointly develop a vision for their local economy – after all, they are best placed to do so.”

“I look forward to meeting the many businesses across the Old Town and hearing their views on the future of this area. In a time where key issues are coming to the fore on local, regional and national scales, it is more imperative now than ever that a singular voice representing the Old Town business community is working hard to maintain and improve all aspects of living and working across the area.”

Business Improvement Districts were launched in 2006 in Scotland with the support of the Scottish Government. With approximately forty in existence across Scotland, they have a strong track record of delivery over the decade. The strength of the BID concept is in its simplicity. By pooling and sharing resources, local businesses, working with other private, public and third sector partners, take a leading role in improving local economic conditions by delivering an agreed package of activity.