Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are clearly defined commercial areas in which extra improvement and management are funded by contributions made by the businesses operating within it. Although the BID is funded primarily through the levy, it can also draw on other public and private income streams funding for specific schemes and projects.
All organisations with inherited property (rateable business units) can vote in the BID ballot. If the outcome is ‘yes’, all organisations in the BID area must pay the BID levy, regardless of how they voted. The council holds the money in a ring-fenced BID Revenue Account which it passes to the BID to spend on projects and services solely in the BID area.
A cap may be applied to the total amount of levy any organisation needs to pay. This accommodates organisations with more than one inherited property in the BID area. It also protects smaller firms with a high rateable value. The proposal will set the term of the BID, but it can be no more than 5 years (at which point in time a new ballot is required).
Empty properties, excluding listed buildings, will be liable for the BID levy through the property owner. When a business ratepayer receives charitable relief from business rates, the council give relief from the BID levy. Otherwise, the reduction in the BID levy is only permitted if they are occupying educational-type premises. The BID levy rules in the proposal cannot be altered during the lifetime of the BID without a full alteration ballot.
This loan fund is used to assist with the development of new BIDs in town and city centres in England. Applications for a new tranche of funding are open, with expressions of interest due on Monday 9 January, 2017, and full applications by Friday 24 February, 2017. View more details, via British BIDs.
Benefits to Westminster
BIDs can deliver a better environment for Westminster’s commercial centres and help boost the local economy by supporting business communities. The funding is used to implement the projects prioritised by the business community in the BID business plan. This may include initiatives like masterplanning, marketing, promotion and events, town centre management, physical improvements to the town centre and additional street cleaning, waste collection and recycling.
While BIDs are business-led, they benefit those working, living and visiting the area. They make Westminster cleaner and safer, reduce traffic, support local people into employment and develop relationships with local residents groups (including having seats on neighbourhood forums).
The Westminster Business Unit are able to provide information, advice and support about BIDs, including Business Rates information, details of current service provision, sharing of best practice and experience.
The Greater London Authority (GLA) are the main source of support for BIDs. Read details of their work programme aimed at supporting existing and future London BIDs.
BIDs are taking an increasing role in place leadership, stewardship and driving local economic growth. There are 7 occupier BIDs currently operating in Westminster (note that two separate BIDs of Piccadilly and St James’s and Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus are hosted under the single brand of Heart of London Business Alliance).
Find out more about each BID and if your business is located in a BID area.
A BID for the Marble Arch area was established on 1 April 2016 following a successful ballot outcome. The Marble Arch BID covers the northern stretch of Park Lane, Marble Arch, Connaught Village, Seymour Place, and Edgware Road, including the Marylebone Flyover.
Area covered: Trafalgar Square, Strand, Aldwych
Area covered: Baker Street South, Portman Square, Manchester Square and surrounding area
Heart of London Business Alliance operates both the Piccadilly and St James’s BID and the Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus BID
Area covered: areas around Leicester Square and the West End
Westminster City Council was appointed to hold ballots for two proposed property owner business improvement districts at Piccadilly and St James’s and Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus, in the areas covering the existing Heart of London Business Improvement District occupier BID areas. These ballots closed on 18 June 2015 (the day of the ballot).
Area covered: Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street
Westminster City Council was appointed to hold a ballot for a proposed property owner business improvement district in the area covering the New West End Business Improvement District occupier BID area. This ballot closed on 17 December 2015 (the day of the ballot).
Area covered: 34 streets to the west, south and east of Paddington Station
Area covered: Victoria Street, Buckingham Palace Road, Grosvenor Gardens and around Victoria Coach Station