Ask a Question
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 170 BIDs in the UK now and over 30 of these have been renewed. The majority of these renewals 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.
BID’s can be developed in towns, cities and industrial estates.
Essentially, a BID is designed to be for the businesses, controlled by the businesses.
The Welsh Government identified the Bay of Colwyn as an area that they would wish to support in developing a BID.
This area is undergoing a period of significant transformation but lifestyles are changing rapidly and this area competes with many smaller surrounding centres for its catchment’s disposable income. Businesses in this area need sustainable support to take advantage of its important strategic location and recent investments made in the area.
Through the BID, businesses can implement changes that they choose, to help improve the profile of businesses in the area, improve links between the different commercial elements of the area, and encourage people to visit the area more often and stay longer and national and international clients to use the businesses in the area – leading to increased turnover and profits and a more vibrant economy across the whole area.
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.
Colwyn BID is a private limited company, which is limited by guarantee and has its own management board, and was established to administer the project. This is a not-for profit company, board members are made up of volunteer individuals who represent the cross section of businesses and organisations across the area. The Strategic Board have appointed a project manager and support staff to implement the projects identified in the plan.
Conwy County Council’s Bay Life representatives appointed BID specialists, Partnerships for Better Business Ltd (pfbb UK), to work with them to help develop a BID.
It was essential that the businesses in the area determined the activities and objectives of the BID Business Plan. A series of business interviews, workshops, surveys and other research were carried out to determine
• what improvements businesses in the area would like to make,
• why people visit the area and what would encourage them to visit more and stay longer.
A business plan was developed and business representatives and the local authority were lead through the legal requirements to create the framework for the BID.
A BID would come into being if a majority of ratepayers in a designated area approved them through a vote. This would enable businesses to have a direct role in deciding what improvements should be made in their local area. 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.
The development of the BID was funded by Conwy County Council who invested £30,000 in this process.
Following a successful vote, the BID was established and is funded by the eligible rate-paying businesses in the BID district and aims to be both fair and transparent. All eligible businesses in the area will be subject to an additional levy to their rates. Details of the eligibility criteria can be found in the Colwyn BID Business Plan.
Colwyn BID are working hard to serve as a catalyst for change and bring in more investment to the area.
A levy is charged to all business with premises that have a rateable value in excess of £3,000. The levy has a tiered structure and more information can be found in the Colwyn Bid Business Plan.
The Colwyn BID is unusual in that it covers four key areas of Colwyn Bay, Old Colwyn, Rhos on Sea and Mochdre.
Colwyn BID is working on strategic projects addressing the issues that were identified as being of highest importance to the businesses in the BID area. In addition, we will be carrying out events and smaller initiatives aimed at bringing quick wins to the businesses.
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 area over a five year period.
• Focus on achieving positive and measurable outcomes of benefit to all businesses.
The vision and objectives of the BID were determined by you, the businesses as part of the consultation process. They are outlined in the Business Plan. 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 the area identified – these might include targeted street clean-ups, improved signage, promotions and events to increase the profile of the area – 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 work to provide additionality to, not to replace, the existing services provided by your 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.