What is a BID?
A BID is a Business Improvement District
BIDs are part of the Government’s long-term strategy, along with ‘Town Teams’ and the Mary Portas Review to encourage partnership working between a Local Authority and the business community. A BID is a defined area within which rate-paying businesses decide on new improvements to help transform their area – and then vote to agree the investment. This money is then ring-fenced to provide the improvements agreed through the BID strategy. There are over 300 BIDs in the UK now with many now in their second term, some in their third. The majority of these had a greater turnout and an even greater vote in favour than the first time of voting. They see improvements to business profitability and turnover which would not have happened without a BID.
BIDs can be developed in towns, cities and industrial estates.
Essentially a BID is designed to be for the businesses, controlled by the businesses.
What is the duration of a BID?
A BID normally lasts for five years. Some BIDs choose to run for three years. A BID can be renewed for future periods, but needs to go through a renewal process.
In recent years our town has seen a revival, thanks to a regular calendar of successful events and a good mix of retail and other businesses. But lifestyles are changing rapidly and as the town competes for its catchment’s disposable income, businesses in Brighouse need sustainable support to take advantage of its important strategic location, and lively town centre atmosphere.
Through the BID, businesses could implement changes that they choose, to help improve the profile of businesses in the town, improve links between the different commercial sectors, and encourage people to visit more often and stay longer thus sustaining a more vibrant economy across the whole town and its surrounding area.
Who will promote and manage the BID?
A new BID private limited company, which is limited by guarantee and has its own management board, would be established to administer the project. This is a not-for profit company, board members would be made up of volunteer individuals who represent the cross section of businesses and organisations across the area. BID Boards normally appoint a project manager and support staff to implement the projects identified in the plan. These can be employed directly by the BID or via a specialist project management company who will also then offer strategic support.
How will the BID be developed?
A Building on the excellent work undertaken by the Brighouse Business Initiative, a steering group of people representing local businesses has been created. The work through the development stage will be led by Calderdale Council who will fund the project to the point of ballot, with key decisions made by this steering group. Membership is not finalised and if you wish to get involved please email email@example.com
It is essential that the businesses in the area determine the activities and objectives of the BID Business Plan. A series of business interviews, workshops, surveys and other research will be carried out to determine
- what improvements businesses in Brighouse would like to make,
- why people visit Brighouse and what would encourage them to visit more and stay longer.
Based on this consultation the steering group will develop a business plan reflecting business needs and requirements. This document is what potential levy payers should base their ballot decision upon.
The BID will be approved if the majority of ratepayers in a designated area vote in favour of additional investment. This enables businesses to have a direct role in deciding what improvements should be made in their town. After five years, the businesses will re-vote on whether they want the BID to continue and what they want to improve over the next five years.
What area will the BID cover?
The BID boundary will be determined by you, the businesses, as part of the consultation process. The final decision will take into account key land marks, synergies between the different aspects of the town centre, and the potential levy to be raised. The current proposal is for a town centre BID area, but if businesses further outside the core area are interested in the project, this can be adapted.
What will the BID deliver?
The vision and objectives of the BID will be determined by you, the businesses as part of the consultation process. They will be outlined in the Business Plan that you vote upon. The action plans drawn up during the BID’s lifetime will all relate back to these objectives.
The BID will deliver the changes and improvements that you and the other businesses in Brighouse identify – these might include targeted street clean-ups, improved signage, promotions and continuation of the excellent events programme that Brighouse already has. All of which will help to drive customer visits and encourage longer stays. It might be group buying initiatives which reduce costs and increased support with skill development and training, or specific targeted campaigns to support retailers and the leisure sector or professional services, commercial and industrial sectors.
However it is important to remember that the BID will not replace the existing services provided by the local authority– these will be benchmarked and monitored by the BID Company to ensure that the money generated through the BID is used for the improvements voted for by the businesses in the BID district.
How will my business benefit?
You and the other businesses will identify the issues that will be tackled by the BID in the town. However you can be certain that the BID will:
- Deliver a pragmatic and business driven agenda.
- Be business led.
- Benefit from effective partnership with the public sector.
- Deliver sustained investment to improve the town over a five year period.
- Focus on achieving positive and measurable outcomes of benefit to all businesses.
How is the BID funded?
The development of the BID has been funded by Calderdale Council. If the vote is successful, the BID itself is funded by the businesses in the BID district and aims to be both fair and transparent. If the majority of businesses vote for the BID, all businesses in the area will be subject to an additional levy based on their rateable value, not more than 2%. This overcomes the problem of a few businesses paying for improvements that benefit many. We also hope that the BID will serve as a catalyst for change and bring in more investment to the area.
How much will it cost me as a business?
You will vote on how much money you want to pay towards the BID. A levy is charged to all business. This levy is based on the rateable value of your premises. On average this levy is usually set at between 1 and 2% of the rateable value. Initial work suggests that a 1% levy in our town centre could possibly generate around £100,000 per annum which will be ring-fenced to make and manage the improvements that you have voted for.
A BID can decide on the structure and criteria of its levies and may wish to consider a flat rate, a tiered charging system or capped rates. This will be outlined in the Business plan.
Who will decide on whether our area becomes a BID?
You will – once the BID strategy has been drawn-up, you will be asked to vote on whether you would like it to go ahead. For the BID to proceed, those who vote in favour must represent a majority of the vote by number of votes and aggregate rateable value.
How can I stay informed and get involved?
Contact us to register your details to receive regular e-bulletins and updates about the BID’s progress and activities, and participate in the consultations and working groups. A member of the project team is happy to talk with you and discuss the ways that you can get involved. Please contact Angela on 01422 392234 or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information visit www.brighousebid.co.uk.