New Reading BID manager hits the ground runningBy David Millward
November 22, 2012
Reading's new Business Improvement District (BID) manager Luke Crane has been forced to hit the ground running.
Just a few days into his new job and he was attending the town’s biggest Saturday of the year with the switching on of the Christmas lights.
Now he will start filling his diary with meetings as he catches up with businesses and prepares for the third renewal of Reading’s BID.
Mr Crane, 27, said: “I’m delighted to be working here in Reading. I think it’s a fantastic place and is clearly very dynamic.
“I’ve heard about Reading many times in the industry and it’s got a fantastic reputation and has many achievements.
“I’m quite experienced in BID development and I think one of the main factors will be the renewal coming up in just over a year, so my focus will be to speak to as many businesses as possible and see what’s worked for them with the BID and what hasn’t worked.”
Mr Crane comes to Reading from Cambridge, where he persuaded businesses to pay into a new BID at a time when many are looking for ways to cut costs.
Before his success in Cambridge, Mr Crane worked at the Association of Town Centre Management as a researcher.
One of his projects was looking at what BIDs were doing, how much they were costing and monitoring the effects of their work.
The most visible aspect of the Reading BID’s work at the moment is the Christmas lights currently decorating the town.
But the BID has also helped cover the cost of extra policing, additional cleaning of the town centre and events including Inside:Outside and Eat Reading Live.
Ipswich-born Mr Crane works as part of Reading UK Community Interest Company (CIC), in Davidson House, Forbury Square, in his new role as BID manager which was previously performed by Guy Douglas.
He will be working alongside David Cook who is the interim director for Reading UK CIC until a permanent replacement is found for Tim Smith who left the post in October to become business director at Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Mr Crane started as Reading BID manager last Monday and is facing up to the task ahead in a difficult climate in the high street.
He said: “It’s going to be an exciting year. I’ve got a jam-packed week of meetings starting with meeting BID committee members and the BID membership.
“It’s all about what the businesses have to say and what they want and I have to be really sure we’ve got their best interests at heart.”