FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What is a BID?
A: A BID is a Business Improvement District and 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 shape the future of their area – and then vote to agree the investment. This money is then ring-fenced to provide the improvements agreed through the BID strategy.
BIDs see improvements to footfall, business profitability and turnover which would not have happened otherwise.
Essentially a BID is designed to be for the businesses, controlled by the businesses.
Q: What is the duration of a BID?
A: A BID normally lasts for five years but can last for less time. A BID can be renewed for future periods, but needs to go through a renewal process.
Q: Why Huddersfield?
A: The Huddersfield Partnership (Huddersfield Town Centre Partnership Ltd.) sought to wind down many of its long established activities in 2016 following several years of struggle to effect real change within Huddersfield town centre. Huddersfield Partnership was one of the last partnerships of this type in the UK to either close down or look for a new direction to support town centre businesses.
In July 2016 the Partnership announced its intention to seek support for Huddersfield to become a Business Improvement District and from that point forward our sole vision has been to set up a BID in Huddersfield, which will contribute to making Huddersfield a thriving shopping, leisure, work and study destination. In the summer of 2017 a feasibility study was undertaken with the results showing a clear appetite for businesses wanting to shape the future of the town and issues emerging such as access to the town centre.
Other areas close to Huddersfield which have implemented BIDs include Halifax, Wakefield, Leeds and Sheffield.
Q: Who will promote and manage the BID?
A: A new private limited company, which is limited by guarantee and has its own management board, would be established to administer the BID. This is a not-for-profit company; board members would be made up of volunteer individuals who represent the cross section of businesses and organisations across the area. BID boards normally appoint a project manager and support staff to implement the projects identified in the plan.
These can be employed directly by the BID or via a specialist project management company which will also then offer strategic support.
Q: How will the BID be developed?
A: The board of Directors for the Huddersfield Partnership (HTCPL) have committed to dedicating its remaining funds to the commissioning of an independent consultancy and are now in the process of conducting a feasibility study. It is early days but BID specialists, Partnerships for Better Business Ltd (pfbb UK) led by one of their Directors, Ian Ferguson is now on-board and we are happy to say that work is well underway. The Partnership has also started the set up a BID Steering Group made up of cross section of businesses from across Huddersfield. Information regarding the BID will start to go out to local businesses in the next few months, followed by face to face visits and a consultation meeting in early September 2017.
Subject to the findings of the feasibility study, the programme will then move into the Development phase of the BID where businesses in the area will determine the activities and objectives of the BID Business Plan. As part of this development, a series of business interviews, workshops, surveys and other research will be carried out to determine:
- What improvements businesses in Huddersfield would like to make
- Why people visit Huddersfield and what would encourage them to visit more and stay longer
Using all the input from the businesses across the area, and working with the Huddersfield BID Steering Group, pfbb UK will develop a business plan and lead local representatives and the local authority through the legal requirements to create the framework for the BID.
Improvements are made if the majority of ratepayers in a designated area approve them through a vote. This enables businesses to have a direct role in deciding what improvements should be made in their town. After five years, the businesses will vote again on whether they want the BID to continue and what they want to improve over the next five years.
Q: What area will the BID cover?
A: The BID boundary will be determined by you, the businesses, as part of the consultation process. The feasibility study is exploring an area which includes the town centre and surrounding area and picking up some of the industrial areas and retail parks outside the ring road. The final decision of the exact boundary will take into account key land marks, synergies between the different aspects of the town and the potential levy to be raised.
Q: What will the BID deliver?
A: The vision and objectives of the BID will be determined by you, the businesses, as part of the consultation process. They will be outlined in the business plan that you vote upon. The action plans drawn up during the BID’s lifetime will all relate back to these objectives.
The BID will deliver the changes and improvements that you and the other businesses in Huddersfield identify. These might include targeted street clean-ups, improved signage, promotions and events to increase the profile of the area; all of which will help to drive customer visits and encourage longer stays. It might be specific targeted campaigns to support retailers and the leisure sector or professional services, commercial and industrial sectors or tackling issues relating to pedestrian access and the attractiveness and the use of the town itself.
However it is important to remember that the BID will not replace the existing services provided by the local authority– these will be bench-marked and 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.
Q: How will my business benefit?
A: You and the other businesses will identify the issues that will be tackled by the BID in the town and the industrial area. You can also be certain that the BID will:
- Deliver a pragmatic and business driven agenda
- Be business led
- Benefit from effective partnership with the public sector
- Deliver sustained investment to improve the town over a five-year period
- Focus on achieving positive and measurable outcomes of benefit to all businesses
Q: How is the BID funded?
A: The development of the BID is being funded with the support of Kirklees District Council. If the vote is successful, the BID itself is funded by the businesses in the BID district and aims to be both fair and transparent. If the majority of businesses vote for the BID, all businesses in the area will be subject to an additional levy to their rates. This overcomes the problem of a few businesses paying for improvements that benefit many. It is also hoped that the BID will serve as a catalyst for change and bring in more investment to the area.
Q: How much will it cost me as a business?
A: You will vote on how much money you want to pay towards the BID. A levy is charged to all businesses. This levy is based on the rateable value of your premises. On average this levy is usually set at between 1% and 2% of the rateable value. Typically a 1% levy in a BID area such as this could possibly generate around £400,000 per annum which will be ring-fenced to make and manage the improvements that businesses have voted for.
A BID can decide on the structure and criteria of its levies and may wish to consider a flat rate, a tiered charging system or capped rates. This will be outlined in the business plan.
Q: Who will decide on whether our area becomes a BID?
A: You will – once the BID strategy has been drawn up, you will be asked to vote on whether you would like it to go ahead. For the BID to proceed, those who vote in favour must represent a majority of the vote by number of votes and aggregate rateable value.
Q: How can I stay informed and get involved?
A: Contact us to register your details to receive regular e-bulletins and updates about the BID’s progress and activities and participate in the consultations and working groups. A member of the project team is happy to talk with you and discuss the ways that you can get involved. Please contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01484 599233