Q What is a BID?
A Business Improvement District (BID) is a defined area where businesses pay a levy to fund improvements over and above baseline service provision. The businesses within the BID area have total control of the money and how it is spent.
Q What are the benefits of a BID?
A A BID provides the funds to deliver additional services to the area that are in line with what local businesses want to improve and enhance their trading environment to increase footfall. Some of examples would be Street Wardens, cleansing, increased marketing and events.
Q How will the BID be funded?
A Businesses pay an agreed levy based on the rateable value of their premises, this is normally between 1% and 2% which is then given to the BID company - Lowestoft Vision - to spend as the businesses have requested. Every business within a successful BID area will pay this levy so that everyone who benefits will have paid towards it.
Q How many BIDS are there?
A There are 150 BIDs in the UK, which over the next 5 years will bring in nearly £250m of new finance to improve their town and city centres.
Gt Yarmouth was the first successful BID in East Anglia and in January of this year they successfully achieved their second YES ballot for another five years.
Q What is the process?
A From January I will be contacting businesses in the area to discuss the BID. I will be holding business meetings and focus groups to gather the views of the businesses and setting up a BID Development Group known as the Taskforce. The Taskforce will be responsible for deciding the issues and creating the business plan to represent the BID area following the vital input of all businesses in the BID area.
Q How long is the tenure of the BID?
A Up to five years and then another ballot will be held.
Q How will local business be consulted?
A Every business that will be a prospective BID levy payer will receive a regular BID newsletter and will be invited to business meetings. An initial questionnaire was distributed in July in preparation for the process to begin, this was distributed to 700 businesses within the study area. We had very positive feedback from these surveys and an excellent return percentage which shows the positivity within the town to make improvements and be part of the decision making process that a BID will give us. We have a website which will be kept updated with all details of the progression and all businesses are welcome to contact me at anytime to discuss the BID.
Q Who will make the decisions on how the money will be spent?
A During the development stage The Taskforce will work on your behalf with the ideas and requests of the businesses and issues that they would like to see addressed. The Taskforce will then build a Business Plan which will be given to every business in the BID Area with a postal ballot voting form. A ballot in the Autumn of 2012 is planned and following a successful ballot, a BID Board will be set up. The BID Board will be made up of representatives from local businesses within the BID area who will be responsible for the final decision on the use of the funds.