A BID is a Business Improvement District. This mechanism is part of the government’s long-term strategy 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 development of the BID strategy.
There are 200 BIDs in the UK now and many of these have been renewed. The majority of these had a greater turnout and an even greater vote in favour than the first time of voting.
Northampton Town Centre Ltd is a company limited by guarantee and has its own management board made up of businesses from the BID area who volunteer their own time. They appoint a project management company to deliver the projects on behalf of the BID.
Partnerships for Better Business Ltd (pfbb UK) are BID Management Consultants and they were appointed by the Board in May 2014 to manage the project delivery of the BID in accordance with the BID Business Plan objectives.
A series of surveys and considerable research among businesses in the area was originally carried out in 2010 and again in 2015 as part of the BID renewal, to determine what improvements businesses in the area would like to make, as well as to discover why people visit the area. The results of this consultation form an essential part of the development and creation of the BID Business plan which was successfully voted on by all non-domestic ratepayers in the BID area in October 2015.
This means that businesses have a direct role in deciding what improvements should be made in the BID area in the next five years.
The entire cross section of businesses in Northampton Town Centre, from retailers to food and drink providers, health and beauty specialists and professional service providers identified issues that they wanted the BID to tackle. The direct business benefits include:
• Delivery of a pragmatic and business driven agenda.
• Development of the area which is business led.
• The development of an effective partnership with the public sector.
• Delivery of sustained investment to improve Northampton Town Centre over a five year period.
• A focus on achieving positive and measurable outcomes of benefit to all businesses.
The BID will deliver the changes and improvements that the businesses in the area identified, and as outlined in the BID Business Plan. It is important to remember that the BID is not there to replace the services provided by the Council and these are benchmarked and are 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 Council.
The delivery of the BID business plan is funded by the businesses in the BID district and aims to be both fair and transparent. As a result of the majority of businesses voting in favour of the business plan, all businesses in the area with a rateable value above £5,000 will be subject to the BID levy. This overcomes any problem of a few businesses paying for improvements that benefit the many. The BID has also been successful in levering in other value and funding as a result of the levy which it has contributed towards particular projects.
The objectives and vision of the BID are outlined in the business plan.
Through this business-led programme of investment the vision is currently ‘ to develop the town centre into a quality destination with a clear identity, which provides opportunities for good quality retail niches, specialists and independents, which respects and nurtures its professional services, celebrates its attractive, diverse leisure and cultural offer, builds upon the town centre's heritage and looks to the future’.
The research, interviews with businesses, business workshops and surveys will help identify the key issues and opportunities the businesses want to tackle and take advantage of in the next five years.
There are a range of different working groups that you can participate in, and help steer the projects that are being delivered. Social networking events are held regularly throughout the year. ebulletins are mailed to all businesses on a regular basis, giving BID, town and businesses updates and are available to view via this website.
News updates are posted regularly within the News section of this website.
If you want to know more please contact 01604 837766 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and the BID Project manager is happy to meet with you and discuss the ways that you can get involved.