A CHEF who owns a city centre restaurant and heads York’s long running food festival has been appointed to serve as chairman of the York BID.

The York Business Improvement District (BID) has appointed Michael Hjort to serve as chairman of the board of directors as it works to address problems faced by businesses in the city centre.

A native of York, Mr Hjort, who owns Walmgate Ale House and has been involved with city-wide projects including the York Food and Drink Festival, contributed to the efforts behind the BID’s successful 2015 campaign.

Andrew Lowson, York BID executive director said: “Michael brings a breadth of experience and knowledge to this role.

“As a long-time local independent business owner, he understands York’s evolving business environment and how to positively grow with it.

“His leadership will inform our work as we develop programmes that are in line with our business-led initiatives.”

The BID began operating April 2016 and has since launched and supported several programmes, including enhanced street cleansing, BID street rangers, the Indie York pilot project, and winter lights.

Heading into 2017, the BID board says it will work with City of York to address concerns about city car parking, review the centre’s signage, and secure money-saving utility packages.

Mr Hjort said: “As a city-centre business owner, I am aware of the opportunities and challenges York’s businesses face and will work with the BID to help address these current concerns as well as future aspirations.

“The BID’s work has delivered notable results. Moving forward, the BID will build upon its programmes and develop new ones that lend to the upkeep and growth of York’s businesses and economy.”

Greatest achievement?

“My two wonderful daughters.”

What makes you most angry?

“Any fool who declares they want to make their country “great” again.”

Biggest mistake?

“I’m sure that when I am old, I will not regret not spending longer at work!”

What do you need to make life complete?

“A long term major sponsor for the Food and Drink Festival.”

Why do you make a difference?

“I provide 35 people with jobs. In terms of the BID I hope I’ve seen enough on the ground issues, and understand enough of the structures and conflicts that I can steer us to some solutions.”


“It would be lovely to be missed but I would hate anyone to be heartbroken.”