Following the yes vote, the town centre’s new Business Improvement District will commence on 1st April 2017. Businesses will pay an annual levy and this collective pot of around £2.4 million will be ring-fenced and invested in the town centre over the next five years.
Through this business-led programme of investment the vision is: ‘To develop the Halifax town centre into a quality destination and a great place for business, leisure and culture with a profile which is recognised regionally and nationally, for being, family friendly, welcoming and inclusive to all and which builds upon its heritage and looks to the future.’
The programme of investment will be delivered through the four strategic objectives and their related projects.
The Halifax Business Improvement District covers the town centre from an apex in the north between the A58 and Charlestown Road, running along the western side of Charlestown Road in the east to Southowram Bank where it meets the railway and along the railway and down to the station and the Eureka Museum. In the south it follows Prescott Street and Savile Row up to Savile Crescent then turns up to the north along Balmoral Place to pick up Delph Street, Boyne Street and Hall Street to meet the A58 and follow the road back to the apex in the north.
In order for the proposals set out in this Business Plan to go ahead, more than 50 per cent of voting business ratepayers had to vote ‘yes’. Those in favour also have to represent at least 50 per cent of the combined ‘rateable values’ of those who vote. If these two criteria are met, the Business Plan is activated and all businesses in the area concerned will be required to pay the levy.
The persons entitled to vote, and be liable for the levy, are the ratepayers of non-domestic premises in the Business Improvement District. Properties with a rateable value of less than £6,000 will be excluded from the vote and levy.
A levy of 1.75% of rateable value (RV) was proposed for businesses with an RV of £6,000 or more businesses which fall within the levy criteria .
This levy arrangement will generate around £2.2 million of ring-fenced funding over the five-year life of the BID and will be used to lever in additional funds where possible adding a further £210,000 over the life of the BID. This will be used to fund the projects identified in this Business Plan.
QA – What is a BID?
A BID is a Business Improvement District.
BIDs are part of the government’s long-term strategy, along with ‘Town Teams’ and the Mary Portas Review to encourage partnership working between a Local Authority and the business community. A BID is a defined area within which rate-paying businesses decide on new improvements to help transform their area – and then vote to agree the investment. This money is then ring-fenced to provide the improvements agreed through the BID strategy.
There are over 200 BIDs in the UK now and over 90 of these have been renewed. The majority of these had a greater turnout and an even greater vote in favour than the first time of voting. They see improvements to business profitability and turnover which would not have happened without a BID.
BIDs can be developed in towns, cities and industrial estates.
Essentially a BID is designed to be for the businesses, controlled by the businesses.
QA – What is the duration of a BID?
A BID normally lasts for five years. Some BIDs choose to run for three years. A BID can be renewed for future periods, but needs to go through a renewal process
QA – Why Halifax?
The town is undergoing a period of significant transformation but lifestyles are changing rapidly and the town competes with other towns for its catchment’s disposable income. Businesses in Halifax need sustainable support to take advantage of its important strategic location and investments being made in the town.
Through the BID, businesses could implement changes that they choose, to help improve the profile of businesses in the town, improve links between the different commercial sectors, and encourage people to visit Halifax more often and stay longer and national and international clients to use the businesses in the town – leading to increased turnover and profits and a more vibrant economy across the whole town and its surrounding area…
QA – Who will promote and manage the BID?
A new BID private limited company, which is limited by guarantee and has its own management board, would be established to administer the project.
This is a not-for profit company, board members would be made up of volunteer individuals who represent the cross section of businesses and organisations across the area. BID Boards normally appoint a project manager and support staff to implement the projects identified in the plan. These can be employed directly by the BID or via a specialist project management company who will also then offer strategic support.
QA – How will the BID be developed?
It is essential that the businesses in the area determine the activities and objectives of the BID Business Plan. A series of business interviews, workshops, surveys and other research will be carried out to determine:
We will develop a business plan and lead your representatives and local authority through the legal requirements to create the framework for the BID.
Improvements are made if the majority of ratepayers in a designated area approve them through a vote. This enables businesses to have a direct role in deciding what improvements should be made in their town. After five years, the businesses will re-vote on whether they want the BID to continue and what they want to improve over the next five years
QA – What area will the BID cover?
The BID boundary will be determined by you, the businesses, as part of the consultation process.
The final decision will take into account key land marks, synergies between the different aspects of the town centre, and the potential levy to be raised.
QA – What will the BID deliver?
The vision and objectives of the BID will be determined by you, the businesses as part of the consultation process. They will be outlined in the Business Plan that you vote upon. The action plans drawn up during the BID’s lifetime will all relate back to these objectives.
The BID will deliver the changes and improvements that you and the other businesses in Halifax identify – these might include targeted street clean-ups, improved signage, promotions and events to increase the profile of the area – all of which will help to drive customer visits and encourage longer stays. It might be group buying initiatives which reduce costs and increased support with skill development and training, or specific targeted campaigns to support retailers and the leisure sector or professional services, commercial and industrial sectors.
However it is important to remember that the BID will not replace the existing services provided by the local authority– these will be benchmarked and monitored by the BID Company to ensure that the money generated through the BID is used for the improvements voted for by the businesses in the BID district.
QA – How will my business benefit?
You and the other businesses will identify the issues that will be tackled by the BID in the town.
However you can be certain that the BID will:
QA – How is the BID funded?
The development of the BID has been funded by Marketing Halifax and Calderdale Council who have invested over £50,000 in this process.
If the vote is successful, the BID itself is funded by the businesses in the BID district and aims to be both fair and transparent. If the majority of businesses vote for the BID, all businesses in the area will be subject to an additional levy to their rates. This overcomes the problem of a few businesses paying for improvements that benefit many. We also hope that the BID will serve as a catalyst for change and bring in more investment to the area.
QA – How much will it cost me as a business?
You will vote on how much money you want to pay towards the BID. A levy is charged to all business.
This levy is based on the rateable value of your premises. On average this levy is usually set at between 1 and 2% of the rateable value. Typically a 1% levy in a town centre could possibly generate around £300,000 per annum which will be ring-fenced to make and manage the improvements that you have voted for.
A BID can decide on the structure and criteria of its levies and may wish to consider a flat rate, a tiered charging system or capped rates. This will be outlined in the Business plan.
QA – Who will decide on whether our area becomes a BID?
You will – once the BID strategy has been drawn-up, you will be asked to vote on whether you would like it to go ahead.
For the BID to proceed, those who vote in favour must represent a majority of the vote by number of votes and aggregate rateable value.
QA – How can I stay informed and get involved?
Contact us to register your details to receive regular e-bulletins and updates about the BID’s progress and activities, and participate in the consultations and working groups.
A member of the project team is happy to talk with you and discuss the ways that you can get involved. Please ring Lauren on Tel: 01422 360035 or Angela on 01422 392234 or you can use our website’s Contact Form to eMail them with a message.