New BID joint managers ‘will continue to make Stortford vibrant destination’

Karen Burton, the new joint manager of the Bishop’s Stortford Business Improvement District (BID), writes for the Indie

Over the last few months, I’ve been writing this regular column on behalf of the Bishop’s Stortford Business Improvement District (BID) in my capacity as chair. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m the retired owner of Karen’s Cakes, which traded from Northgate End for almost 20 years. I’m a passionate believer in all things business in our eclectic, busy town centre.

I am delighted to announce I am stepping sideways into a new role as BID joint manager with Madeleine Lees, previously the BID’s marketing and communications manager, allowing me to continue in my endeavours to deliver our 2023-28 business plan.

New joint BID managers Karen Burton, left, and Madeleine Lees

I retired last June and closed my business that traded for 37 years, with over two decades of that time spent in Bishop’s Stortford. This experience uniquely positions me to understand the intricacies and challenges faced by businesses operating from bricks-and-mortar premises.

My first-hand knowledge of the local business landscape, established relationships with key stakeholders across local government and the business community, and passion for the transformative potential of BIDs are all drivers in my mission to achieve our goals here at the Bishop’s Stortford BID.


Meanwhile, Madeleine brings her exceptional communication skills to the forefront, continuing her front-line role of working closely with our BID businesses. Her focus remains on promoting the diverse offerings here while also taking on a broader role in the development and execution of events, initiatives and strategies spearheaded by the BID. With her expertise, Madeleine is poised to enhance the vibrancy of Bishop’s Stortford and foster the connections within our community.

Both Madeleine and I have established ourselves as trusted individuals with an ever-growing understanding of the business community’s needs. With our combined experience and dedication, we are well positioned to build upon the groundwork laid by our former BID manager Gina Thomas, who tirelessly worked to propel our initiatives forward.

The BID, which includes a board of 15 business owners and senior managers from across the town, plays a vital role in fostering a thriving town centre.

There are more than 300 BIDs in towns and cities across the UK, each with different challenges and objectives, but with the common aim of bringing together local businesses to invest in and improve their collective environment, driving economic growth and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.

With Madeleine and me at the helm, we look forward to building upon our successes, fostering innovation and continuing to make Bishop’s Stortford a vibrant destination for all.

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