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UK first for Cupar with Digital Improvement District

Hopes: Phil Prentice

Britain’s first Digital Improvement District is to be established in Cupar following a historic vote by businesses in the Fife 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 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 funded through an additional levy on top of business rates.

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, let’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, added: “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.”

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

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