YESTERDAY saw York BID's new executive director take up post in a role which will oversee how £800,000 a year is spent on improving the city centre's economy.

Andrew Lowson has been appointed to lead York's first Business Improvement District, which was voted in by city centre businesses in November last year.

Mr Lowson brings with him to the role experience as the former managing director of York-based teepee-style marquee company PapaKata, as well as previous roles with Halcrow, Yorkshire Forward and Newcastle Airport.

The idea of adopting a BID in York was first put forward in autumn 2015 with proposals to charge businesses within the city centre a levy on their business rates, the equivalent of one per cent of their rateable value, to be spent on improving the area over and above work carried out by the council.

Following a year-long consultation, 76 per cent of voting businesses agreed to adopt the BID, in a move that which will see £800,00 a year raised for the next five years.

Mr Lowson is now working out of the offices of Make It York in Museum Street and will be heading up the BID as a separate company.

What job would you like to have other than your own and why?

"I am a big tennis fan and I have played since I was young (mostly at Fulford Tennis Club). I am a qualified tennis coach and a few years ago I really enjoyed doing some part-time junior coaching – seeing the kids gain confidence and develop their skills was very gratifying. So maybe one day a coaching job on the Australian Gold Coast?"

Greatest Achievement?

"I have just spent five fantastic years as managing director of the events/ marquee company PapaKata. The headquarters is near York, but I established a second base near London from scratch, which involved locating and setting up a warehouse; recruiting a new team; and ultimately ensuring sufficient sales to make the project profitable.

"We delivered near on 60 events in 2015 and it grew the company’s capacity by 20 per cent, giving it a foothold in the all-important south east of England market."

What makes you most angry?

"Negativity! I understand that life is not always plain sailing, but a lot can be achieved through being positive, working together and trying to move things forward."

Biggest mistake?

"Going for a long walk in the west coast of Scotland during midge season and wearing only shorts and a t shirt – I was bitten to death, looked like I had some medieval disease and was using antihistamine for weeks!"

What do you need to make life complete?

"Health and happiness for my two daughters AND I have an ambition to run a 10km road race in under 40 minutes before I am 40 years old. I am two minutes off with one year to go (and counting)"

Why do you make a difference?

"My original degree was in social research, so I like to think I am a good/ objective listener to people’s opinion; but then I like to get on and make things happen.

"For me communication is key. If you are transparent and can demonstrate the big picture (and how people fit into it) then people in general will be supportive and play their part in making it happen. That is how I plan to operate at the BID."


"That is a bit too deep for me to answer on my first days work, although I would like it to have some humour like one I once saw; ‘ Here lies Johnny Yeast, Pardon me for not rising’ "