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What is a Business Improvement District?

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a partnership between businesses, local authorities and other organisations to work together to improve the trading environment of a specific area, to make it a more pleasant place to live, work, invest and visit. BIDs are different in two key respects to other regeneration initiatives that go on in towns and cities across the UK. Firstly they provide new and additional activity to complement what is already going on. Secondly, they are driven by the private sector. In other words they are led, financed, and managed by the businesses that trade within their local areas.

BIDs elsewhere in the country are currently supporting a wide range of projects including employing City Centre Managers, reducing crime and improving safety, signage and lighting, better management of the night time economy, co-ordinating marketing and promotional campaigns, and attracting new business and investment. Participating businesses pay a fee based on a % of their annual rates in order to fund improvements within the BID district’s boundaries; the services it provides are decided by the businesses taking part in the scheme and are ancillary to those that the Council currently provide. Originally BID’s were introduced through legislation (The Local Government Act 2003) with the first pilot BID’s launched in London, all successfully balloted by 2006. Since then the scheme has been rolled out across the country. There are over 130 BIDs operating throughout the UK the vast majority of those in town and city centres.