A FORMER newspaper editor and managing director has been appointed as manager of Bournemouth Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID).

After experience in the communications industry, Steve Hughes went on to be project manager of a BID in York, which was voted in by businesses last November with a 76 per cent majority.

He said: “I am delighted to come to Bournemouth at such an exciting time. Investors have clearly seen Bournemouth’s potential as can be seen from the recently opened Hilton Hotel and other developments now taking shape.

“We have a beautiful and vibrant town centre but we need to work even harder to stay ahead of the game and attract more investment, more customers and more visitors.

“The BID is committed to working with partner organisations to fully develop the town centre’s potential and improve its economic vitality for years to come.”

Before leading the York BID, Mr Hughes was editor and MD of the city’s daily newspaper The Press, owned by the Daily Echo’s publisher Newsquest.

He was also a prominent member of the city’s business community, serving on various boards and steering groups.

Mr Hughes, who grew up in the West Country, said: “It was always my intention to move back to the south and I was impressed with Bournemouth’s potential for growth.

"I am looking forward to meeting business owners and managers and working with them to make Bournemouth Town Centre as good as it possibly can be.”

Lisa Tucker, chairwoman of the Town Centre BID, said: “We are delighted to be able to appoint someone with Steve’s experience.

"He is used to working with large and small businesses and is determined to help us realise our ambitions in making the town centre a great place to live, work, shop and enjoy leisure time.”

BIDs are business-led partnerships to improve the environment for traders. They are approved by a ballot of business rate-payers and funded by a levy on businesses.

Mr Hughes said he was busy making himself known in the business community and invited town centre businesses contact him on 01202 296343 or steve@towncentrebid.co.uk.