For Businesses new to the concept of BIDs

First started in Canada over 40 years ago in a small town called Bloor West Village near Toronto. Businesses were struggling to cope with competition from a new out-of-town shopping centre, which resulted in many business insolvencies, empty shops and a neglected looking town centre. Businesses got together and devised a plan to revitalise the town and successfully lobbied for legislation for all businesses in the proposed BID area to pay a levy. The investment levy money was used to make physical improvements to the appearance of the town centre and to promote the town centre. The strategy paid off and the model has been successfully copied to create BID areas throughout the world.

In March 2008, Bathgate Town Centre became Scotland’s first BID.

Over the past few years, popularity in the UK has grown at a phenomenal rate, with over 120 established BIDs in the UK. There are currently 17 operational BIDs in Scotland with a further 19 development BIDs and another 14 in the pipeline. This proves that BIDs really do work (particularly through a recession) as a tool for providing the trading environment, which businesses want for themselves, their staff, customers and clients.

What advantages does a BID offer Bathgate?

BIDs operate on the basis of statutory contributions.

This means that all eligible businesses in the Bathgate BID area would contribute to the scheme after a majority of businesses have supported the BID in the ballot. This means that there is no “free-loading” – everyone benefits and everyone contributes. West Lothian Council has agreed to match funding of the levy raised for the five-year term of the BID. It is foreseen that Enterprising Bathgate will lever in extra funds from private and public sources for specific projects.

BIDs : Questions and Answers

What do we mean by a Business Improvement District (BID)?

A BID is a geographically defined area where businesses have agreed to invest collectively to improve the trading environment over a fixed period of time.

How is a BID funded?

Businesses agree to pay a levy to invest in projects and initiatives, which are additional to statutory services provided by the Local Authority.

Are any other funds available?

A BID Company should always try to enhance budgets by sourcing additional funding.

What does a BID company spend its money on?

Projects and initiatives which have been developed in consultation, detailed in a Business Plan and approved by the levy payers.

How do levy payers approve the Business Plan?

Every eligible person will be encouraged to vote in a postal ballot to say “yes” or “no” to the Business Plan.

How do we distinguish between Local Authority services and BID Company projects?

A Baseline Service Agreement is drawn up between Local Authority and BID Company.

How is the levy collected?

Levy payers are invoiced annually for their levy contribution.

How will the BID company operate and be managed?

The BID will be managed by a Board of Directors in a transparent way that is accountable to the businesses in the BID area.

Everyone Benefits

Benefits for the Retail Sector

  • Sustained investment over the next five-year period
  • An increase in footfall as a direct result of an improved business environment
  • A reduction in retail crime and stock loss through additional focus on safety and security
  • A safer and more attractive shopping environment in Bathgate

Benefits for the Leisure Sector

  • A more accessible location as marketing and promotion projects gather momentum
  • A co-ordinated events programme to ensure there is regularly something to see in Bathgate

Benefits for the Office Sector

  • A more accessible location as marketing and promotion projects gather momentum
  • A co-ordinated events programme to ensure there is regularly something to see in Bathgate