A Business Improvement District, or BID, is a defined area within which the local business community work together and invest collectively in new projects and services that they have prioritised to address opportunities and problems that affect their businesses, staff and customers.
BIDs are governed by a board of directors made up of business representatives from inside the BID area. This means that businesses have a local voice – and can decide and direct what they want for their town, city or high street.
BIDs are business-led and business-funded partnerships, so it is vitally important we assess the views of as many businesses as possible. Any BID is subject to a vote of all eligible businesses within the area so over the coming months, we will be carrying out extensive consultations with businesses in Newtown to ensure that a BID Business Plan meets the needs of businesses across the town.
There are more than 300 BIDs operating across the UK, mainly in town or city centres. There are some in industrial areas, and others which cover mixed business areas. Benefits they bring include:
- BID levy money is ring-fenced for use only in the BID area. Businesses decide and direct what they want for the area
- A BID manager is appointed to engage and promote business needs, including event management and co-ordination to attract visitors to the area
- Business cost reduction, as well as reduced crime and joint procurement initiatives
- Help in dealing with Local Council, the police and other public bodies
- Increased footfall and improvements in staff retention
- Promotion and branding of the area to attract new customers
- Facilitated networking opportunities with the area and neighbouring businesses
Every penny raised would be accounted for and spent on helping the BID to deliver the projects the businesses have voted to support. Clear commitments are made and targets set to deliver businesses priorities for the district.
This will depend entirely on the result of the consultation with businesses. Many other BIDs focus upon:
- Marketing and promotion of their town or city centre
- Dealing with crime and antisocial behaviour
- Major town or city events
- Improvements to the town or city centre streetscene
- Initiatives to improve business security and to reduce business overheads
Businesses will be encouraged to put forward ideas for projects. BIDs also play a key role in representing their business communities – particularly with the Police, the Local Authority and other public-sector bodies.
A BID is funded by businesses paying a small proportion of their business Rateable Value towards the BID. This money is ring-fenced for use only in the BID area, unlike Business Rates which go to and are re-distributed by Government nationally. A BID can only be formed after extensive consultation and a ballot of businesses on a detailed Business Plan.
The full rules on eligibility, and the breakdown of budgets and projects will be published in the business plan prior to the vote.
If the business community votes for a BID to be implemented in Newtown, all eligible businesses in that area will pay the set levy amount. The amount will be decided prior to the BID ballot and will depend on the projects that business want to see delivered in Newtown. A BID levy of between 1.0% – 2.0% of the rateable value of the business premises, which is fairly typical compared to other BIDs nationally could be applied.
The BID levy cannot be used to replace existing Powys County Council services. Everything that the BID Company delivers will be new or additional work. This is carefully controlled through a legally-binding Baseline Services Agreement that sets out what the Council will deliver.
Most businesses recognise they have limited control over how they can improve their business and the trading environment of the area, such as the customer experience in Newtown, parking issues, management of the street, vacant shops, perception of crime and a lack of promotional opportunities in the area. A BID company would provide control and a financial mechanism to allow the business community to improve their area.
This varies by BID area, in principle, any business with a rateable value that is situated inside of the BID area could be liable to pay the BID levy. In many BID areas, there are minimum exemption levels, which means very small businesses would not be liable to pay the levy (they can make a voluntary contribution). Equally, some larger businesses may have their levy liabilities capped.
Most BIDs include charity retail businesses, some will discount the levy rates for them. This can also apply to businesses that have management arrangements, for example shopping centres or industrial estates.
The maximum term for any BID is five years, at the end of which the BID Company would seek a further five-year term via a renewal ballot. Nationally most BIDs are renewed at the end of their current term, with some BIDs now entering fourth terms of operation.
Establishing if a BID for Newtown is wanted, and what projects it might deliver can only happen with feedback from you and many other businesses in the area.
Initially you can do this by completing our survey which can be downloaded from this site, or by contacting the project manager, Russell Downing of Revive & Thrive, by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on: 07767 753 209.
If you are interested in forming part of the BID Steering Group, please let Russell know using the contact details above. The Steering Group will be meeting monthly until January and then weekly through the February ballot period.