Common Questions & Answers
We know that BIDs (Business Improvement Districts) can sometimes seem complicated so we hope these will answer some of your questions.
1. When and how was BID Leamington established?
BID Leamington was established in 2008 by the majority vote of businesses at the time for a 5-year term. The vision was to make ‘the crown in Royal Leamington Spa Sparkle’ by promoting and supporting businesses in the town centre and raising the profile of the town nationally. There was a ballot in 2013 and BID Leamington was renewed for a further 5 years.
In March 2018 businesses will be invited to support its continuation for a further 5 years. If the BID is not supported for a third term it will be disbanded by 30th June 2018 and all BID activities and services as set out within this website will cease.
2. Has the area the BID covers changed?
No, the BID area is the same as when it was set up in 2008 and can be viewed in the Business Plan on the ‘BID Ballot’ page (available February 7th).
3. Who votes on BID and what happens if you don’t vote?
In accordance with BID Regulations 2004, businesses that are subject to the mandatory levy are entitled to 1 vote per hereditament (legal definition “a unit of property”). The BID will be renewed if there is a majority by number AND by rateable value. This means, there must be more votes cast in favour than against (by number) AND of those, the total size (by RV) of hereditaments in favour must also be greater than those voting against. Like any democratic election, if you do not vote your voice will not be heard so we would encourage you to do so, and once established the outcome will apply to all eligible hereditaments as per the BID proposal.
4. Is the ballot process independent and neutral?
Yes, the ballot will be run by the Electoral Reform Service, on behalf of Warwick District Council who is the legal ‘accountable authority’. Whilst the Council does not influence BID activities in any way, they do have a legal obligation to run the ballot in accordance with the BID Regulations 2004. BID Leamington staff have no contact with ballot papers and will not find out the way a vote is cast.
5. Does the BID replace Council Services?
No, all projects and services delivered by BID are in addition to those delivered by the Council and would not be delivered otherwise. This is ensured by a legally binding baseline agreement which is available to view. In some cases the BID will enhance existing services e.g. the Christmas Lights. If the BID is not renewed, the Council will not pick up these services as they are under increasing pressure to make savings and generate more revenue.
6. Do towns with BIDs perform better than those without?
The evidence suggests that towns with BIDs are more prosperous and well managed than those without. There are now over 280 BIDs in the UK and at renewal we have seen a 91% success rate, which demonstrates private sector support for the concept. The majority of our neighbouring towns have established BIDs including Stratford, Rugby, Solihull, Banbury (newly established) and Coventry City Centre. There are now many BIDs operating in different parts of Birmingham.
Nearby towns without BIDs have tried to secure funding from other sources for projects that a BID would otherwise deliver, so it is clear that investment in our high streets is needed. We have seen the concept supported at the national level, with Government recommending that BIDs take on further responsibilities. Many established BIDs successfully secure additional funding, demonstrating the commitment other partners have to supporting towns that are prepared to invest in themselves.
This is an important decision. 10 years of focused investment and management has delivered measurable results and enabled the town to prosper in a tough economic climate. Looking forward there are big opportunities and challenges ahead and other towns are continuing to invest so it is important that Leamington does not stand still and remains a competitive, vibrant and well-managed destination.
7. How much do I pay?
This varies in different places and is set out in the Business Plan. In Leamington, retail and leisure businesses in the BID area with a ratable value (RV) of £15,000 and above are subject to the BID Levy. This is proportionate to the size of the business and calculated at 1.6% of the RV. For example, a business with an RV of £15,000 will pay £240 for the year. Our biggest levy payer contributes just over £10,000 per year. In total businesses contribute £300,000 per year. Each year, the BID team also generates an average of £90,000 of additional income from sponsorship, events and grants to support BID services. This means the funding that businesses contribute goes directly in activities and services. On average this additional revenue equates to around 32%. The BID team consists of 2 full time staff who serve almost 400 members.
8. How is the BID Levy collected?
The BID Levy is collected by Warwick District Council in July each year. This is a legal requirement to ensure collection is evenly applied across all businesses in the BID area and ensures neutrality (as business owners and managers who are part of the BID, also govern the BID). Normal financial collection processes apply and are set out in a legal ‘operating agreement’ which is available to view on request. Once collected the full amount is passed over to the BID to deliver agreed activities and services. Businesses can discuss payment options with the Council and BID staff will work very closely with businesses to ensure they are able to meet their obligations and get maximum return on investment.
9. How does the voluntary membership scheme work?
Smaller businesses that have a rateable value below £15,000 can choose to contribute and benefit from BID services as a voluntary member on a year by year basis. They pay the same proportionate sum as those who pay the mandatory levy with a minimum payment of £100 per year. As this is not mandatory they are not entitled to vote, however they are entitled to representation on the Board of Directors so can influence decisions. The threshold is based on a number of factors that are ultimately about ensuring maximum value for money from BID services for all involved. It is set out in the Business Plan and cannot be altered during the term of the BID.
10. What do I get for my money?
The BID Business Plan sets out exactly what services you will receive. It is informed by extensive consultation with local businesses and market research. Businesses benefit from the collective investment in marketing, enhancements, support and management and all are listed on the website and in promotional literature. However in general, the more you get involved with BID activities the more you can benefit. We find businesses benefit in different ways and, for many, this can cover the cost of their levy contribution. This may be through participating in events, offers, representation on our website and in directories, training or cost savings and more. At a strategic level, we are also ensuring the town is well managed and attracting increasing numbers of visitors. Your individual contribution also generates a lot of additional investment in the town.
11. How do you know what is good for my business?
The BID delivery team is qualified and brings extensive retail experience. In the last 6 years they have won multiple awards and accolades and their commitment to best practice, collaboration, innovation and transparency is recognised far beyond the town centre. They also answer to the elected Board of Directors which is made of up of a cross section of skilled and passionate business owners and managers in the BID area who represent different sectors such as major retail, property, marketing, finance, independent retail etc. Where necessary the Board will also bring in expert advisors.
12. Where can I find more information about the costs and other details?
Full details of the BID area, costs, breakdown of streets covered by BID and the levy arrangements are detailed in the BID Business Plan 2018-2023, which can be found with other information on this website. Alternatively please call 01926 470 634 and we will be happy to post you a copy or help with any further information.
Full details of BID Leamington activities, results and achievements can be found under the relevant tabs on this website:
- Financial Achievements
- Promoting Awards & Achievements
- Enhancing Achievements
- Supporting & Influencing Achievements
Each year, BID Leamington prepares an Annual Report which can be downloaded here.