Following the success of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) for Ealing Broadway and West Ealing, Ealing Council have secured funding to develop a BID in Acton, which businesses will be asked to vote on in June 2018. Revive & Thrive, in partnership with Ealing Council carried out out a Feasibility Study which established that a BID would be viable, both financially and with the support of businesses in Acton. We hope that the following information will answer any questions about what a BID might do for the area.
What is a BID?
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.
They are generally governed by a board made up of BID levy payers who represent the BID area, which means that businesses have a local voice – and can decide and direct what they want for their town, city or high street.
Does there need to be business support for a BID?
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 and so we will be surveying the views of Acton businesses over the coming weeks to ensure that the BID Business Plan reflects the views and needs of businesses in the BID area.
How could a BID help my business?
There are nearly 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 town centre 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.
The draft BID Proposals can be viewed here.
What type of projects might be considered?
This will depend entirely on the results of the consultation with businesses Many other BIDs focus upon:
- Marketing and promotion of their town or city centre
- Major town or city centre events
- Improvements to the town or city centre streetscene
- Initiatives to improve business security and to reduce business overheads
- Acting as a champion for BID businesses and the BID area and ensuring they get the best deal from public-sector partners
How are BIDs funded and set up?
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.
How much would it cost my business and how much money would be raised?
If the business community votes for a BID company to be implemented in Acton, all eligible businesses in that area will pay the set levy amount. The Acton BID is proposing setting a BID levy of between 1% and 1.25% of RV. This will mean that, if the rateable value of a business is £20,000, the levy amount would be between £200.00 and £250.00 per year. Other local BIDs as a guide generate typically between £175,000 and £350,000 per year and based on these principles, the Acton BID will generate approximately £300,000 per year.
Shouldn’t the Council be delivering all of these activities and projects?
The BID cannot be used to replace existing Ealing 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.
How can charging businesses more money help them in a climate where they are already struggling?
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 Acton, 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.
Where would the BID operate?
The BID area will cover the main town centre, high street and shopping areas as well as the industrial areas that run parallel to the High Street and the Vale. It will also encompass the Rowley Industrial Estate. A full list of streets covered by the BID can be found here.
Would all businesses be liable to pay the BID levy?
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. The Acton BID is proposing that only businesses with a rateable value of £10,000 or higher should be included within the BID. This means that very small businesses will not be liable to pay the levy (they can make a voluntary contribution) and will not be asked to vote.
The Acton BID will include charity retail businesses at the standard levy rates as appropriate.
In total, around 620 businesses will be included within the BID area.
What are the timescales?
The BID Proposals, contained within a full Business Plan are scheduled to be completed by the end of April.
On or around the 24th May 2018, businesses will receive a notification of the forthcoming BID ballot.
Two weeks later, on 7th June 2018, eligible businesses will receive ballot papers.
The ballot will close at 5pm on Thursday 5th July 2018, with the results being announced the following day.
If the result is positive, the BID will most likely commence operations on 1st October 2018.
How long would the BID last?
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 (Ealing Broadway has had a BID for over 9 years, renewed last in 2015).
How can I give you my views?
Establishing what projects a BID for Acton might deliver can only happen with feedback from you and many other businesses in the area.
To find out more or give your views, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org