Harrogate businesses are actively looking to develop a Business Improvement District (BID), in the town centre.
A Business Improvement District is a defined area within which businesses choose by majority vote are required to pay a levy in order to fund projects chosen by them, within the district’s boundaries.
A BID task group has been formed from leads in a number of key business sectors. The team is currently asking businesses what they want, rather than telling them what they should have or do.
Initially the BID group are engaging with 447 businesses, face to face and asking for their views through various surveys.
The group is purposely working on the process rather than any end solution. The end-game is to deliver projects that improve the business environment and increase trade for the area of the BID. It is an investment by each business for a return from projects that they can influence.
Mike Procter said:
Nothing has been set in stone and it is about gaining the views of the businesses involved.
We have about 20 task group members and champions who have seen over 300 businesses.
People are wanting more detail and we are asking the businesses in the BID area to get involved.
BID’s are not new, with the first being Toronto implementing the first in 1970. In the UK there are around 300 BIDs and have been actively promoted since 2004, by the then Labour government.
A BID is not a get out for a local authority to deliver less. The services they currently provided, whether statutory or services above that are ring-fenced and retained.
The levy amount is typically 1 – 2% of the business rateable value and would be collected along with the business rates. Contributions are voluntary of rateable value is less than £20K.
It’s expected that it would raise in the region of £500K that would be delivered by a non-profit organisation against a business plan and defined key Process Indicators (KPI’s).
The voting of the bid has a dual trigger and for the BID ballot to be successful A majority of those who vote must have voted yes and the total rateable value of those businesses which vote yes must exceed the rateable value of those which vote no.
The team is working to a timeline of having a business plan in place by August and then hold a ballot on it during November, with a view to it commencing in early 2019.
See www.harrogatebid.co.uk for further details.