A Business Improvement District (BID) is a business-led, business-funded partnership, which undertakes to make improvements to a clearly defined geographical area. There are more than 180 towns and cities with a successful BID and since September 2014 Chester is now one of them.
BIDs may carry out any projects or improvements that are additional to those already provided by the local authority which means that the funding cannot be pulled from services that are already provided in your business rates. BIDs establish baseline agreements with the local authorities and other statutory service providers on the current the level of service provision in the area. These ensure that any services the BID provides are truly additional.
In June 2014, a ballot was hosted by Cheshire West and Chester Council to determine whether the city’s businesses would support the creation of a Business Improvement District (BID). 75% of all voters (68% rateable value) voted in favour and on 1st September 2014 CH1 Chester BID was formed.
The aim of CH1ChesterBID is to improve the economic health of the city centre by increasing footfall; delivering quality events and festivals; creating a cleaner, greener city centre; improving the visitor welcome and promoting an all year round marketing campaign for the city and its businesses. CH1ChesterBID also aims to be One Voice for One City, representing the interests of all BID members.
BIDs are funded by the businesses that benefit from them. The levy charged can be between 1–3%. In Chester’s case the levy is 1% for businesses with a rateable value over £18,000
The BID levy is collected by the local authority, put into a ring-fenced account, and passed to the BID Company for use on the projects and services set out in the BID Business Plan. CH1ChesterBID Ltd is a not for profit limited organisation with a small city centre based team and a Board of Directors made up of voluntary local business owners, managers and chairman.
BIDs run for between 3 – 5 years. Chester's BID will run for 5 years (98%of BIDs have a 5 year term). Once a ballot is successful the BID levy is mandatory for all eligible businesses.