Your BID questions answered
Frequently asked questions about business improvement districts (BIDS)
What is a BID?
A BID is a Business Improvement District. 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 development of the BID strategy. There are over 125 BIDs in the UK. The mechanism is supported by the government as it corresponds to their strategy of encouraging partnership working between the business community, local authorities and other agencies and developing ideas and practical initiatives driven by businesses and local communities.
How long does a BID last?
A BID lasts for up to five years. At the end of the life of the BID the Business Plan is updated and a vote is taken for renewal. The majority of renewal votes have had a greater turnout of businesses and an even greater vote in favour than the first time of voting.
Why do we need a BID?
As with many Industrial Parks around the UK, Manor Royal’s businesses are under pressure as the UK (and world) economy “bumps along the bottom”, influenced by uncertainty across many markets, particularly in Europe.
Here we are faced also with increasing competition from further development around the southern part of the M25 and parts of the M23 as more business parks and commercial business estates spring up, attracted by the proximity of significant populations, good transport links and the dominance of Gatwick and Heathrow airports in the country’s international travel and freight plans.
We also have significant available development space within the boundaries of the Business District into which we need to attract new investment. The Manor Royal Business District initiative has been fortunate in receiving support from Crawley Borough Council but without this support the initiative is not sustainable and will come to an end unless an alternative mechanism is found to support businesses in the area.
Who manages the BID?
A company will be formed which will have the responsibility of ensuring that the business plan is implemented. The BID Company will be a not for profit company limited by guarantee. It will have its own management board made up of businesses from the BID area who volunteer their own time. It will monitor the management group which looks after the implementation of the business plan and employs its own small team individual or a specialist management company to coordinate the projects identified by the businesses. The board, management group and working group members are made up of individuals who represent the cross section of businesses in the area. In this way the businesses control the implementation of the business plan.
How is the BID Business Plan put together?
A series of surveys and considerable research among businesses in the area is being carried out to determine what improvements the businesses would like to make, as well as to discover the views of employees who work on Manor Royal and other key organisations which potentially invest in the area. This exercise is an essential part of the development and creation of the Business plan which will be put to the vote of all non-domestic ratepayers in the Manor Royal, in early 2013. This means that businesses have a direct role in deciding what improvements should be made in the Manor Royal in the next five years.
How does my business benefit?
The direct business benefits include:
- Delivery of practical projects driven by business ideas
- Development of the area influenced by businesses
- An effective working relationship between the Manor Royal businesses and a number of organisations including Crawley Borough Council
- A focus on investment to improve Manor Royal over a five year period
- A focus on the delivery of measurable improvements to benefit all businesses
What will the BID deliver?
The BID will deliver the changes, improvements and projects that the businesses in Manor Royal want and need and have identified as being important to them. It is important to remember that the BID is not there to replace the services provided by Crawley Borough and West Sussex County Councils. The BID’s activities must be additional to services which the businesses would have otherwise received. Services from the Police, the local authorities and other agencies are 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 and not to subsidise the either Council.
How is the BID funded?
The delivery of the BID business plan is funded by the businesses in the BID area and aims to be both fair and transparent. If the majority of businesses in the ballot, vote by number and ratable value in favour of the business plan, all businesses in the area which fall within the criteria set by the businesses will be subject to the BID levy. This is normally set as a percentage to rateable value of the business ensuring an equitable and transparent approach to the setting the levy contributions. This overcomes any problem of a few businesses paying for improvements that benefit the many.
In addition to the levy raised from the businesses, the BID will also seek to lever in other value and funding as a result of the levy being used to match fund particular projects. BIDs typically lever in additional funding in this way and can generate other revenues through commercial activity which the BID may create which would also be used to fund further improvements identified in the BID plan.
Who decides and when?
The BID Business Plan will be voted in early 2013 by the businesses in Manor Royal by all businesses which fall within the criteria for paying the levy, as identified by the businesses in the area as part of the development of the BID plan.
What are the BID’s vision and objectives?
We need to establish the vision and objectives for a five year period from 2013 to 2018. The research, interviews with businesses, business workshops and surveys, including employee surveys, will help identify the key issues and opportunities the businesses want to tackle and take advantage of in the next five years.
What is the BID Ballot?
The ballot is a 28 day postal secret ballot administered in the same way as a local election by either the local authority electoral services or the electoral reform society. It is your opportunity to vote ‘YES’ for the business plan and the delivery of projects which will maintain and continue to develop Manor Royal as a great place to do business.
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