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Benefits of a BID

“The success of the Coleraine BID depends upon your support.  Our BID task group and manager will be working hard to gather information from all the businesses in Coleraine Town and we want to hear from you.  This is your chance to have your say and add to the overall business plan.  Then all you have to do is Vote “Yes” in the ballot and we can make these projects happen.”  Here is what you need to know;

So, what are Business Improvement Districts?

A BID is an arrangement whereby businesses owners get together to decide what improvements they want to make in their town centre, how they will manage these and what it will cost them. This information all goes into a business plan which is voted on by all those who would have contributed. The BID lasts for a maximum of five years and must be able to demonstrate how a BID benefits the businesses that have funded it.

Have BIDs been supported elsewhere in the UK?

Yes, since September 2004, when BID legislation to GB was introduced there have been more than 280 BIDs in the UK, which over the next five years will bring in more than £400 million of new finance to develop BID areas.  BIDs in N. Ireland are a newer concept and are governed by primary legislation “The Business Improvement Districts Act (Northern Ireland) 2013.” Ballymena became the first BID in NI, followed by Enniskillen, Strabane and Newry.  As of 2017, Belfast now benefits from three BIDs with Belfast One, CQ and The Belfast central business district all now in operation.

What might a BID deliver in Coleraine?

This is totally up to you, the local business owners and managers. BIDs can deliver projects or services that are agreed by the businesses in the BID area, and must be services and projects that are in addition to anything that the Public Sector already provides. Before a BID business plan is produced all the services being delivered by the Local Authority are benchmarked and they must continue to deliver that level of service for the 5-year term of the BID. BIDs can then deliver projects or services that are agreed by the businesses within the BID area. A few examples of projects and services that BIDs deliver are:

  • Reduce business operating costs – joint procurement of utilities, insurance, waste management, banking and card payment contracts.
  • Integrated Marketing and promotions – marketing campaigns to promote the town centre as a destination, to develop its identity and increase visitor numbers.
  • Reducing business crime
  • Increased cleaning and greening – additional cleansing of the town’s streets and floral displays and lighting.
  • Better Car parking solutions and overall enhanced customer journeys.

The important thing is that the BID is focused on delivering real projects determined by detailed consultation with all businesses in the BID area of Coleraine Town.

Why do businesses support BIDs?

Some of the benefits from the 200 BIDs currently operating in the UK are:

  • Produces economic well-being and economic growth in that area.
  • Attracts inward investment.
  • Gives competitive regional advantage.
  • Produces social wellbeing and improves overall quality of life.
  • Develops a better partnership between private and public sector.
  • Encourages corporate social responsibility.
  • Provides sustainable investment for ongoing capital projects/services.
  • Creates a positive sense of place and enhanced feeling of safety, providing community pride.
  • Increased footfall and consumer spend leading to an increase in profits.
  • Reduces costs.
  • A fair system, those that invest benefit! No freeloading.

Who pays for a BID?

Based on the detailed business plan which will be put together by the Coleraine Project Group, the cost to each business is worked out on a pro rata basis. This is called the “BID Levy”. If the majority of businesses vote YES then ALL within the BID area have to pay. The BID levy is normally paid by the occupiers of a property. In addition BIDs can draw in other voluntary funding, grants and in-kind contributions to supplement the BID levy. The successful BID has a mandate for a maximum of 5 years after which the BID would need to seek a re-ballot to continue.

How does Coleraine become a BID?

A “BID Project Group” is set up which is responsible for putting together a detailed business plan setting out the projects it aims to deliver on behalf of the businesses in the BID area. This is based on a detailed consultation process with businesses. A confidential postal vote is then held, all the businesses that would pay the BID levy get a vote. To become a BID a majority of those that vote must be in favor by number and rateable value.  We would love to hear from you if you wish to join the Project Group.

How is a BID managed?

The majority of successful BIDs are delivered through a company limited by guarantee. The BID Company will be responsible for the delivery of the BID projects and services and directly responsible to all businesses through a board elected from those businesses that pay the BID levy.

How is a BID monitored?

Like any good business plan, specific key performance indicators (KPI’s) are set and performance is monitored against the KPI’s by the BID board. The BID Company is answerable to the businesses that pay the BID levy and will be required to monitor and inform its members on its progress.