- BID Renewal Ballot 2019-2024
- BID3 Business Plan 2019 – 2024
- Why Voting Matters
- Questions & Answers
- BID3 Consultation Results
BID Renewal Ballot - In September 2018, BID businesses will vote on the future of the Stratforward Business Improvement District Ltd (BID) for the period to 2024. The BID has brought many benefits to the town and local businesses over the last nine years. Now it is time to renew your BID so we can continue to build on these assets for a further five years.
This is a critical decision for Stratford-upon-Avon. Many would suggest that given the changes facing our town centre on the horizon, there has never been a more important time to have the support and representation Stratforward can provide.
You will find information about our plans for the continual improvement of the town in the new Business Plan 2019-2024 which can be downloaded below. This document talks about what has been achieved, what we will do and outlines our vision and pledge for the future.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to meet or if you have any questions. There is more to do to ensure Stratford upon Avon thrives – but there is no doubt there is more to lose by not investing at this crucial time in the life of our town.
Dates & Documents
In the coming weeks business owners and managers will receive a number of important documents by post:
- On 17th August the ‘Notice of Ballot‘ will arrive. This is for information only.
- On the 31st August ‘Voting Papers‘ will arrive. Businesses will have 28 days to return the papers to the Electoral Reform Service (ERS) in London by post.
- Ballot Papers must be received by ERS in London by 5pm on Thursday 27th September for your vote to be counted.
Please take the time to read and digest this information and call us on 01789 292718 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Why Voting Matters - Voting to renew Stratforward is an important decision because if it is not supported, the town centre will lose almost £1.7million of private & public sector investment over five years and businesses will lose important support and representation on local and national issues. This decision will impact not only local businesses, but also the local community who value and enjoy many of the events, promotions and enhancements that BID delivers.
Q & A - BIDs (Business Improvement Districts) can sometimes seem complicated so we hope these will answer some of your questions.
1. When and how was Stratforward BID established?
Stratforward BID Ltd formally started in 2009 and was established by a majority vote of businesses at the time for a 5-year term. In September 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 31st March 2019 and all BID activities and services as set out within this website will cease.
2. Has the area the BID covers changed?
Yes. The BID area has been ‘tweaked’ from BID2 to BID3. This can be viewed in the Business Plan on page 16.
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. 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 document (the Business Plan).
4. Is the ballot process independent and neutral?
Yes, the ballot will be run by the Electoral Reform Service (ERS), on behalf of Stratford 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. Stratforward staff have no contact with ballot papers and will not find out which 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 the baseline agreement which is available to view. In some cases the BID will enhance existing services. If the BID is not renewed, the Council will not pick up these services.
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 almost 300 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 Royal Leamington Spa, Rugby, Solihull, Banbury (newly established), Worcester and Coventry City Centre. In addition, there are now many BIDs operating in different parts of Birmingham.
Both Coventry City and Royal Leamington Spa have seen successful re-votes in 2018.
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. This is an important decision and an important time in the life of Stratford upon Avon town centre. Looking forward there are big opportunities and challenges ahead and other towns are continuing to invest so it is important that Stratford-upon-Avon does not stand still and remains a competitive, vibrant and well-managed destination for all our businesses.
7. How much will I pay?
This varies in different places and is set out in the Business Plan. In Stratford, all businesses in the BID area with a rateable value (RV) of £9,500 (and above) are subject to the BID Levy. This is proportionate to the size of the business and calculated at 1.47% of the RV (for BID3). For example, a business with an RV of £9,501 will pay £139 for the year. The biggest levy payer for the BID contributes over £8,000 per year.
For BID3, total business contributions equate to £325,000 per year. Annually, the BID has also generated an average of £100,000 of additional income from sponsorship, events and grants to support BID services.
8. How is the BID Levy collected?
The BID Levy is collected by Stratford District Council in April 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 £9,500 can choose to contribute and benefit from BID services as an associate member. They pay an annual fee of £145 +VAT. 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 has been informed by consultation with local businesses. Businesses will further benefit from the collective investment in marketing, cost reduction measures, cost reduction for staff, lobbying and representation, as well as enhancing the environment for businesses and visitors alongside crime and disorder measures. However in general, the more you get involved with BID activities the more you can benefit. We find businesses benefit in different ways and, we hope for most, this will cover the cost of your levy contribution. 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 experience from a range of backgrounds and the consultation and conversation process with business has honed the business plan to be representative of what businesses want.
The team answers 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. Where it is 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 Proposal 2019 – 2024, which can be found with other information on this website. Alternatively please call 01789 292718 and we will be happy to post you a copy or help with any further information.