What is a business improvement district (BID)?
A BID is a democratically elected business-led and business-funded body formed to invest in and improve a trading environment. A BID enables businesses to work collectively to decide on the improvements they want to make in their area. As a democratically elected, independent body, a BID allows businesses to have a greater influence and impact on how their local area is managed and develops. A BID can only deliver projects and services over and above the statutory services already provided by local authorities and public bodies.
What is Shrewsbury BID?
Shrewsbury BID is an independent, not-for-profit company, dedicated to delivering projects, programmes and services that improve the trading environment for businesses in Shrewsbury town centre. The BID was elected in November 2013; 76% of those that voted were in favour, and by rateable value 83% were in favour. The BID was elected by businesses in the town centre, who also chose its priorities through a consultation process, and strategic leadership is provided by a board of local business people. The company became operational in April 2014.
How is the BID funded?
To fund the projects identified by businesses, eligible businesses pay a levy of 1.5% of their rateable value. This levy brings in revenue of over £300,000 per year, which can only be spent on the agreed priorities.
Is the levy compulsory?
The levy is mandatory for all eligible businesses. However, there are exemptions for commercial properties with a rateable value below £10,000. Exemptions are also available for charities without a retail operation, along with membership organisations and offices that are solely voluntary-run.
What are the BID’s priorities?
During its five-year term which began in April 2014, the BID aims to address four key priorities:
- marketing, profile and promotion: the BID is working to raise Shrewsbury’s profile through professionally delivered marketing and promotional activities, including a high-profile marketing campaign, redevelopment of the town’s website and the creation of new social media platforms
- access and car parking: the BID is also working to improve the efficiency and accessibility of the town centre, including addressing concerns about car parking
- backing business: funding has been set aside for cost-saving initiatives, allowing businesses to benefit from greater collective purchasing power and economies of scale. The installation of footfall cameras and sharing of other important local information and news will also enable the BID to arm businesses with invaluable data about the local trading environment
- drive and direction: the BID provides a credible representational voice for business, to make sure the views of the business community are heard
How is the BID held accountable?
The projects and services are agreed and set out in the business plan with detailed costs. This forms a framework from which the BID delivers its priorities. Specific key performance indicators (KPIs) are set, and performance against these is monitored by the BID board.
Have BIDs been a success elsewhere?
There are over 180 BIDs established throughout the UK, with each location having a unique local business plan. Examples of towns and cities with BIDs includes Solihull, Worcester, Bath, Stratford and Lincoln.