Langthwaite Business Improvement District (BID), Pontefract

RCP21 - Remaking Competitive Places for 21st Century Businesses

The Langthwaite BID will operate for a period of 5 years and commenced on the 1st April 2011. The BID levy will generate over £800k of income in the five year period to deliver the improvements and services to the businesses on the park that were outlined in the BID Business Prospectus.

What is a Business Improvement District (BID)?

bid_business_plan_155x154.jpgA Business Improvement District (BID) is a mechanism under The Business Improvement Districts (England) Regulations 2004, by which businesses within a specified area, for an agreed period (3 or 5 years), determine and vote on the funding of improvements or additional services in that area.

Sustaining support for businesses in a local area is increasingly more difficult as public funding sources have become scarcer. In this regard Business Improvement Districts represent a useful, robust, contractual model for supporting businesses based on business and industrial parks. However, developing a BID requires starting from strong relationships with the businesses on a park. For this reason the RCP21 project piloted the development of a Business Improvement District (BID) on Langthwaite Business Park, where there are well developed relations with the 93 businesses based there. Commenced in July 2010, this culminated in a successful BID vote in March 2011.

 

The BID Process

Typically a BID takes between 18 to 24 months from inception to the ballot of the business rate payers. On Langthwaite, the background work carried out by the RCP21 Project Team creating a well-developed Business Association helped shorten the BID process. The steps and timing for this are outlined in the table below.

BID Feasibility Study Completed                   

August

2010

Survey of Businesses

1st October

2010

Formation of BID Task Group

22nd October

2010

Formal registration of Langthwaite BID with Local Government

31st October

2010

Consultation Meetings with Businesses   

November/ December

2010

Engagement of Electoral Reform Services (ERS) to perform independent BID ballot

January

2010

Launch of BID Business Plan

11th February

2011

Vote Campaign

February/March

2011

Notice of Ballot sent out

17th February

2011

Ballot Papers sent out

2nd March

2011

Ballot End Date

30th March

2011

Ballot Results announced by Electoral Reform Services

31st March

2011

Langthwaite BID commenced

1st April

2011

 

On the 31st March 2011 the Electoral Reform Services announced that Langthwaite's business residents voted overwhelming in favour of the BID Business Plan. Of the 122 business rate payers (each business rate payer has a vote) balloted 85% voted yes to the BID. The yes voters were also the majority (93%) of the rateable value voting.

The Langthwaite BID will operate for a period of 5 years, commencing on the 1st April 2011. The BID levy will generate over £800k of income in the five year period to deliver the improvements and services to the businesses on the park that were outlined in the BID Business Prospectus (or in the case of Langthwaite: the Business Plan). Over the period 2011-2016 bid_postcards_225x119.jpgthe BID will provide the following services to the businesses on Langthwaite:

  • A digital CCTV System and Control Centre and its maintenance and upgrading over the five years
  • Security Patrols on the park outside office hours
  • A dedicated Estate Management service as a point of contact and action for park businesses
  • Gritting of all the business park's roads in cold weather

This is the first business and industrial park BID in the region. It is important as it provides partners with a detailed, evidence-based model for transferring good practice and know-how in the development of BIDs.

 

The costs of developing a BID

There are a series of key costs to developing a BID:

  • Technical and consultancy advice to develop and manage the BID process - typically £30,000-£40,000
  • Marketing materials including printing and publicising the BID Business Prospectus - typically £2,500
  • Cost of running the ballot - typically £10 per business per BID area

In addition, staff time from first, Wakefield MDC and Langthwaite businesses was also contributed to the development of the Langthwaite BID. The BID ballot can be run by the local authority's electoral services, or alternatively by a suitably qualified body commissioned to do this on behalf of the local area's Returning Officer. The Langthwaite BID ballot was carried out by the Electoral Reform Services at a cost £900. This cost is attributed to and paid for by the BID.

 

The lessons from Langthwaite

A local authority or other party intending to develop a BID needs to build a solid relationship with the businesses in the area to be eventually balloted. The businesses on the park where the BID is being developed should be engaged with as early as possible. The park businesses should also be given the opportunity to play a leading role in the BID process.

security_sign_141x106.jpgA Local authority or other party intending to develop a BID must also form a BID Task Group. This will normally include:

  • Businesses from within the BID area
  • The appointment of Chair of the Group (preferably a business from the park but essentially someone able to give the time, commitment and leadership required by the BID process)
  • The local economic development agency, unit or  service (who will coordinate with all local authority services and other public services providing existing services on the park)
  • The local authority's electoral and NNDR (business rates) sections
  • The Police

The BID Task Group team must ensure that it has access and command over the skills and resources it needs (project management, feasibility, marketing and financial skills) to take the BID from inception through to ballot. Furthermore, the BID Task Group should consider engaging the services of a suitably qualified consultancy to guide them through the process.