Hampstead BID's new boss pledges openness and approachability after turbulent three years
PUBLISHED: 09:53 14 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:37 29 August 2019
Hampstead Business Improvement District's new manager says he wants businesses to see the "whites of his eyes," and says it needs to engage them more.
Marcos Gold replaced Caroline Goldsack a month ago, and the 28-year-old has spent his first few weeks meeting businesses and groups around the village.
In his first interview since taking over the role, he said: "I inherited a communications strategy that was non-existent. There has been nothing on the website saying what we're doing. We will be better at communicating.
"People have said the BID can feel separate from them. I'm meeting people, and think it's important they see the whites of my eyes, and feel they can come up to me in Hampstead."
Traders in Flask Walk have already asked him for better signage and bunting to attract customers.
Marcos, who lives in West Hampstead, said he felt the BID name hadn't helped perception of it, as the word "improvement" implied "something needs changing about Hampstead, which is not the case".
The BID was voted in by traders in 2016 in a referendum. Marcos said the BID needed to show businesses why they should back it again, ahead of the next ballot in 2021. He said: "People want to see value for money. Are we going to make everyone happy? That's the goal. That's why these relationships are so important."
Last year the BID spent 94 per cent of the £252,000 it collected. Marcos has encouraged businesses to attend the AGM later this year and ask questions, saying there are "no no-go areas".
A dual American and British citizen, Marcos was born in Miami, and grew up in Puerto Rico. He moved to the UK in 2014. He has previously worked for David Lidington MP.
He said he hasn't spoken to King William IV landlord Jimmy McGrath, who has been in a dispute with Camden Council over not paying the BID levy, but would be happy to meet him.
The BID levy, which is compulsory, has been criticised as a "compulsory tax". But he feels it's important to give businesses a voice.
"The money goes straight back into the local area, not anywhere else around the country," he said. "You have councillors representing residents, but businesses don't have a voice at the table. That's what we offer."