What is a BID?
A Business Improvement District (BID) is a business-led and managed, not-for-profit partnership in a given area such as a town centre, which delivers an agreed business plan, consisting of projects and services that are in addition to those provided by local or national government. This plan is developed through consultation with the businesses and formally voted for, usually every five years by all eligible businesses within the geographic boundary of the Business Improvement District. BIDs have been established in the UK for around 20 years and are governed by legislation contained in the Local Government Act 2003 and the Business Improvement Districts (England) Regulations 2004.
What does a BID deliver?
BIDs can deliver any projects or services that are agreed by the relevant businesses. In Royal Leamington Spa they are marketing & promotional activities, improved way-finding and higher profile events. The actual projects and services are determined as a result of detailed consultation with all the businesses in the BID area and are set out in the BID Business Plan 2023-2028. Over the five-year term BID projects and activities are reviewed by the BID Board of Directors and within the scope of the business plan small adjustments to reflect the needs of the town can be made.
Why is a BID needed?
Royal Leamington Spa operates in a highly competitive market place in which consumer choices relating to where they visit and how they spend are increasingly diverse. The town has many unique selling points (USPs). However, research shows that if it is to improve or even maintain its economic position, the town must promote those USPs in a more structured manner to a larger, targeted customer base.
A BID allows the public and private sector to work together on such projects, enabling Royal Leamington Spa and the trading environment to be managed and promoted in a proactive and planned way.
Increasingly, Leamington Spa is developing its office based businesses, particularly those in the digital games sector so inclusion in the BID will be explored in 2023. The BID will help to ensure that the town is attractive to employees assisting with the recruitment of employees, who in turn bring additional vibrancy to the town.
How is the BID managed?
The BID is an independent, not for profit company limited by guarantee. The staff team report to the Board of Directors, representatives of the local business community, who have strategic and financial oversight of the business. Ultimately the BID is accountable to its levy payers and every five years they decide through a ballot every five years whether the BID should continue. BID accounts are independently audited and an Annual Report is published each year reporting on the BID’s activities and finances.
Who funds the BID?
Those businesses that are located within the Leamington BID area, and whose property has a rateable value of over £15,000, pay 1.9% of their rateable value (annually, for the 2023-2028 five-year BID term) towards the BID. This is called a BID Levy normally paid by the occupiers of a property is mandatory. The BID Levy is collected in July on an annual basis and invoices are issued by Warwick District Council, as the collection agent as required by BID legislation to ensure the levy is evenly applied across all eligible properties.
Is the BID levy paid when a property in the BID area is vacant?
Yes, the BID Levy on a vacant property must be paid by the property owner. Property owners also benefit from BID activities which seek to enhance the appearance and vitality of the Business District, thus improving the overall attractiveness of the area. We endeavour to work with property owners to ensure the appearance of the vacant unit does not detract from the rest of the town centre and to identify appropriate opportunities to bring it back into use.
Does the BID replace the local authority’s services?
No, the BID has a legal agreement to ensure that we only deliver projects or services in addition to those that public agencies have to provide. However, a BID can agree to provide additional resources to deliver a higher level of local authority service over the current benchmarked level. An example of this is the Christmas Lights contribution whereby BID funding has been used to enhance the lighting in the BID area, but the Local Authority continues to fund the installation, take-down and power.
Do BIDs replace town centre management?
BIDs can be established in any commercial or industrial area. Where there is town centre management in place, a BID will work in partnership to enhance services delivering on the issues specified in the BID business plan. In Royal Leamington Spa, there is no designated Council support for specific towns, though Council officers from both Warwick District Council and Warwickshire County Council deliver economic development, regeneration, events management, and certain business support activities across the District and County. BID Leamington has contact with all relevant officers and teams to help coordinate activities in Leamington Town Centre and where necessary to deliver complementary services.
Can my business be involved in the BID if my property is outside the boundary or has a rateable value less than £15,000?
Yes, a property that is located within the ‘Leamington Spa Town Centre’ as defined by the Warwick District Council Local Plan, can become a voluntary member. The fee is the same as other BID member businesses, so is currently 1.9% of the rateable value of the property or a minimum fee from £100.00 + VAT per year. The business will receive similar benefits e.g. inclusion on the Royal Leamington Spa website, Mini-Maps & Guides, Little Book of Offers advertising and more. Please contact us for more details.