What is a Business Improvement District (BID)?
Business Improvement District (BID) is a business led and business funded scheme to improve a defined commercial area, such as Hastings Town Centre. Businesses based in Hastings Town Centre voted to establish a BID in November 2016. It was approved by a majority of businesses in the BID area who voted (72% in favour) following a confidential and formal ballot during Oct. / Nov. 2016. The Town Centre BID will have a five-year lifespan, which can be extended by subsequent ballots.
The BID empowers local businesses to ‘raise funds’ to be spent locally on improving their trading environment. In Hastings, the fund is expected to approximately total £1M over five years.
What is the Hastings BID area?
There is a map of the BID area here. It consists of the Town Centre, Priory Meadow and Station Plaza, Queens Road and the America Ground and White Rock area. The BID Board will work to serve all these areas equally.
What are the aims of Hastings BID?
The BID will:
- improve the Hastings experience for visitors, residents and businesses
- market the town as a great place to work, live, shop and visit
- provide a voice for the town centre’s businesses
- reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of the town
- work with and mirror the sense of ambition of other groups in the town centre
- lever in more money from other sources to supplement the budget
A full outline of Hastings BID aims, objectives and proposals can be found in the Hastings BID Business Plan.
How is the BID financed?
Hastings BID is primarily financed through a BID levy applied to qualifying businesses within the BID boundary. This will generate around £1 million over the first 5 year term. The levy is 1.5% of a business’ rateable value or an annual contribution of £120, whichever is higher.
Exemptions and exceptions:
- All businesses with a rateable value of up to £4,999 will be exempt from the levy
- Serviced tenancies receive a 0.25% levy discount
- Registered charities will receive a discount of 80%
- The maximum levy payment is £15,000
The levy income can be used to lever in more funding; for example from public sector agencies, grant bodies, sponsorship, landowners and trading income, during the 5 year scheme, maximising the potential funding stream and the benefits that the BID can achieve.
Who collects the BID levy?
The BID levy will be collected by Hastings Borough Council. BID Legislation provides for local authorities to be the billing body as the Council already has systems and procedures in place to collect the business rate.
What happens to the BID levy when it is collected by the Council?
All money collected by the Council will be paid direct to the BID Operating Company. There will be a small collection charge to consider (approximately 3%) but no funds are held back for funding other statutory services unless these are additional and requested by local businesses.
What do I pay my rates for?
Business Rates are a statutory local tax levied to provide generic services by the local authority. Under the business rates retention scheme introduced from 1 April 2013, the local authority keeps a proportion of the business rates paid locally. This is normally 50% and the rest goes to the Treasury.
The BID levy will pay for specific services and functions on top of the base-line services that the Council provides. These additional services are decided by the BID Board in consultation with all businesses in the BID area.
How will Hastings BID be managed?
A board of directors will be elected who will have overall responsibility to all BID levy payers for the delivery of the BID and will direct the BID Manager.
Can I be part of the BID board?
The BID board will be elected by members. You can volunteer to be part of the board by standing for election at future AGMs.
How do I pay my BID Levy bill?
Business will be sent a separate bill for the BID levy. You can pay by BACS or cheque.
Can I pay by instalments?
You will receive a separate annual bill for your BID account and the terms of these are payment in full. If you have any issues paying your bill, please speak to John by calling 07876 390065.
What happens if I refuse to pay?
It is hoped that all businesses will see the benefits of contributing to the BID. In the event of non-payment, on behalf of the BID operating company (Love Hastings Ltd.), the council will recover any sums due in line with normal recovery processes. This may mean that defaulters receive a reminder, final notice and may ultimately face court proceedings. However, the council will liaise with the Hastings BID Board to discuss such cases and the Hastings BID will encourage payment for the benefit of all.
How long does the BID last?
The current Hastings BID term operates for five years. It starts on 1 April 2017 and will end on 31 March 2022.
Will I pay the same amount every year?
Yes. The levy is based on the rateable value of the property at 1 April 2017 (unless your property enters the list after this date) and is fixed for five years.
What happens if my rateable value reduces because of an appeal I have made?
You will continue to pay on the higher rateable value until 31 March 2022.
What happens if I move my business out of the BID area or stop trading?
If you vacate your property after 1 April 2017, you will receive an adjusted levy calculated only for the days that you were liable for payment.
What happens if my property is empty / vacant?
There are no reductions for empty properties.
Who can I contact for more information?
John on 07876 390065 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mini case studies
Bath BID has a trade waste and recycling initiative which co-ordinates a collection service for businesses in the city centre. Their objective includes less refuse trucks on the street, less congestion, and the estimated value of savings to participating businesses was £150,000 after six months of operation. A hotel in the BID area reported a saving of £19,000 on their trade waste bill in the first year, more than offsetting its BID levy.
Bedford – Bedford Business Improvement District’s projects and services range from the Bedford BID Bluecaps, who help to create a cleaner and safer environment, to promotional campaigns to attract new visitors to the town. This is done through events and entertainment including special rates for parking and travel to make it easier for everyone to come to the town. BedfordBID also manages and co-ordinates the town centre’s retail radio-link scheme and helps businesses train their staff in radio operation and crime prevention.
Loughborough – The Business Improvement District in Loughborough is working to improve the trading environment in the town and particularly to improve the attractiveness of the high street. The Love Loughborough Partnership has put in place projects such as the ‘Trial a Trade’ scheme for new businesses and a loyalty card scheme for 1,400 university and college students. They have invested in hanging baskets, offered free business recycling and negotiated free parking on Sundays.