A Business Improvement District (BID) is a geographical area within which local businesses have voted to invest collectively to improve their trading neighbourhood. BIDs provide additional or improved services as identified and requested by local businesses. As an organsiation formed to improve a defined commercial area a BID will be:
Businesses vote on a BID Proposal or business plan, and BIDs must seek re-approval after a fixed term of up to 5 years.
Businesses located within the BID area pay a levy based on their ratable value which is ringfenced to fund BID projects within the district's boundaries. BIDs can also draw on additional public and private funding streams to support its objectives. The BID levy is typically set at approximately 1-2% of the ratable value.
There are now over 180 BIDs across the UK – in town centres, industrial estates, business parks and other zones where businesses have recognised the benefits a BID can bring. BIDs can only be created if voted in by the businesses that would be part of it. Once established, BIDs have a mandate to run for five years, after which businesses get to vote again on whether it should continue for another five years.
What Does a BID do?
BIDs activities are based on the priorities of the business community within the defined area. This can be a combination of services which increase footfall and those which lead to the improving the trading conditions within the BID area. That means local traders and businesses are investing in improving the town, for everyone’s benefit - for themselves, their staff and their customers. BIDs across the UK have provided services, such as cleaning and greening streets, security, making capital improvements and marketing the area. For exciting examples of what other BIDs are doing see our Examples and Case Studies section.
A BID does not replace the statutory activities or services carried out by the Council, Police or other public agencies. It is a partnership under which local businesses improve their own trading environment and agree via a BID organisation how the levy should be spent.
The Caernarfon Business Improvement District project was established in partnership between the Caernarfon Chamber of Trade, Caernarfon Town Council and Gwynedd Council in response to a successful application for funding being made to the Welsh Government.
The proposed BID in Caernarfon
Following consultation with the Caernarfon Chamber of Trade, a BID concept has been drawn together. The proposed area was identified and is illustrated in the map below. Keep in mind that the map below is indicative at this point, as the development of the BID continues, it is possible for the boundary you can see in the map to change (click on the map for a larger version):
The initial proposal includes the High Street and main town centre area, which includes almost 350 rateable businesses units.
The development of the BID in Caernarfon is led by a Steering Group made up of local business people and representatives of the Town and Gwynedd Councils.
Currently the Steering Group is working with consultants to determine if the BID in Caernarfon is economically feasible to establish.
To assist them in this process, the project is consulting with businesses within the area to learn how the businesses envisage the BID might work to improve their trading conditions.
The results of this consultation will help establish the feasibility of the BID and form the foundation of its Business Plan should it be established following a positive vote.
How is it financed?
If there is a positive ballot, then a BID organisation will be established, which will be funded and led by the businesses within the District area. These businesses contribute to the activities of the BID by paying in to a central pot an amount based on their rateable value. The levy raised will be between 1-2% of the overall rate payable by each business over the year. A BID does not replace the statutory activities or services carried out by the Council, Police or other public agencies.
As a not for profit organisation an established BID has the ability to apply for funding and other additional sources of income from both public and private sectors. The table below provides an example of how much a levy might cost, based on a levy of 1.5% of the Ratable Value:
|Ratable Value (RV)||Annual Levy @ 1.5%||Weekly Cost||Daily Cost|
Who is involved?
Led by the business community through the Chamber of Trade, the current development phase of the Caernarfon Business Improvement District is supported by a number of local stakeholders and organisations:
We will then look to establish a working group of businesses from Caernarfon who will use the findings of the consultation to draw together the priorities for the Caernarfon BID. This will lead to the development of the BID business plan on which the businesses within the proposed BID district will vote.
If there is a positive ballot, the BID will be led by a BID company by and on behalf of business owners.