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‘Cupar Now’: UK’s First Digital Business Improvement Initiative Heralded by Communities Secretary

Local business in Cupar vote to establish leading digital improvement district

Businesses in Cupar, Fife, have made history by voting to create the UK’s first Digital Improvement District in the town.

The trailblazing scheme will give companies and the community a stronger identity online and will fuel the creation of a “Cupar Now” brand to showcase the town and its events and activities, as well as allowing businesses to better communicate with customers.

The pilot project has been supported by Fife Council, The Scottish Government, Digital Scotland, the Association of Businesses in Cupar and District and Scotland’s Towns Partnership.

Based on the established Business Improvement District model, it brings the local businesses together to co-invest and collaborate on improvements for Cupar.

Furthermore, the partner organisations also hope to see wider business, social and environmental digital investments over the coming years.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:

“I am delighted that businesses in Cupar have formed the first Digital Improvement District in Scotland and the UK. This exciting news reflects the strength of the local economy and will bring benefits to the local community.

“Business Improvement Districts are moving beyond the traditional towns and cities model with a number of innovative projects, like this one in Cupar, up and running across Scotland.  I look forward to learning from this pilot approach and how other towns in Scotland could benefit.”

Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership and National Programme Director for Scotland’s Improvement Districts, said:

“We are extremely pleased that the Cupar Pilot DID has delivered a successful ballot result. Technology is changing everything we do, from retail to banking and from leisure to how we gather and share information. As the project develops, we hope to see how Smart Town concepts can benefit levy payers and the wider community. The internet has transformed society., Llet’s see if by harnessing this power on Cupar that we start to see economic, environmental and community positives.”

Cllr Altany Craik, Convener – Economy, Tourism. Strategic Planning & Transportation Committee, Fife Council, said:

“I am pleased that businesses in Cupar have voted in support of the town becoming the UK’s first Digital Improvement District. This innovative pilot will showcase the value of digital connectivity to businesses, communities and individuals.

“Digital access is essential for Fife–based firms and residents to increase connectivity, boost business growth and drive competitiveness. With the scope now to look at how we support the digital economy through innovation in Cupar, the possibilities are great.

“We will continue to work hard with the business community and other partners to ensure this is a success. Fife’s town centres are a priority, and this follows significant investment and sympathetic regeneration of this beautiful market town.”

Alison Strachan, Chair of the project’s Steering Group, expressed her delight at the result and said:

“We are absolutely thrilled that the vast majority of those voting have voted yes. And we’re delighted on all fronts as the 60% by number equates to more than 75% of the rateable value who voted. That’s an emphatic YES in support of what has been done so far and, more importantly, what we will be delivering over the five-year term.”

Cupar was chosen as the demonstration project as a result of the town’s involvement in the Digital Towns Programme 2017-18.

Alison explains: “ABCD – Cupar’s Business Association – championed the idea of the town becoming the pilot project. As a group of businesses, we’d spent many years looking at ways in which the town could best support businesses and shout about Cupar to a wider audience. The idea of a Digital Improvement District – delivering managed, integrated digital communication across multiple platforms – really appealed.”

ENDS

Notes

  1. For more about Cupar Now, visit:
    https://www.cuparnow.blog/
  2. For media inquiries, contact Gareth Brown, gareth@messagematters.co.uk / 07907 520 571
  3. STP is the national body for Scotland’s towns and all those who work to support the country’s towns and city districts; a hub to help people learn, connect, find practical support and advice, and share good practice and knowledge. The organisation’s deep rooted knowledge of the towns landscape and extensive range of services supports the Scottish Government’s ongoing commitment to secure a positive future for Scotland’s towns.