Walton Business Improvement District Countdown To Launch - What's in Walton on Thames

Walton Business Improvement District Countdown To Launch

Walton Business Improvement District Countdown To Launch

The Walton-on-Thames Business Improvement District (BID) moved a step closer to its launch with Elmbridge Borough Council approving £44,000 in advance funding to help the BID hit the ground running from day one of its launch on 1 March 2021.

The BID was developed by businesses for businesses to help deliver new investment and footfall into the town centre.

It will provide up to £1million of new funding over 5 years to build on what makes Walton special and to provide a new energy to reinvigorate the town ahead of the challenges that lie ahead.

The BID will be a key part of the safe reopening of our high streets as the council works with businesses and our local trading associations to make sure our town and village centres can continue to adapt and thrive.

The BID Task Group Chairman, Peter Beggan, Assistant Director for New Business at Paragon Asra (PA) Housing said: “The advance funding agreed this week is another fantastic sign of the partnership between the council and businesses that will help make the Walton Business Improvement District a success.

We were delighted to get such a positive result in the BID ballot in March with businesses backing the bid with 77% voting ‘yes’ by number and 90% voting ‘yes’ by rateable value.”

“Our Task Group rightly took the decision to delay the BID launch as our high streets went into lockdown shortly after the ballot, but with the safe reopening underway we think the BID has an important part of making sure Walton continues to be a great place to shop, live and work.

This advance funding will help us to deliver for the businesses from day one of our five year business plan”

Councillor Christine Elmer, Portfolio Holder for Corporate and Community Development at Elmbridge Borough Council said:

“We are pleased to be able to support the Walton Business Improvement District with £44,000 in advance funding to help the BID set up and get to work supporting Walton town centre.

The support for the Walton BID is a great example of how the council continues to work in partnership with our high streets and businesses.

Together the BID will help raise and invest up to £1million over five years as we work together to ensure a bright future for the town.

“This commitment to support the BID complements our wider offer to businesses.

This includes grants for independent retailers to help them sell online, support for shop front improvements, free parking offers, investment in our public realm, temporary pavement licenses and much more to ensure our town and village centres can come through the difficult times we all face together.”

But what is a Business Improvement District (BID)?

Here are some FAQ’s from the Walton-on-Thames Business Improvement District website:

WHAT ARE BIDS?

A BID is an arrangement whereby businesses 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 all goes into a business plan which is voted on by all those who would have to contribute. 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?

Since September 2004, when BID legislation was introduced there have been more than 300 BIDs in the UK, which over the next five years will bring in more than £400 million of new finance to develop BID areas.

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

WHAT MIGHT A BID DELIVER?

It’s up to you. BIDs can deliver projects or services that are agreed by the businesses in the BID area and must be services and projects that are over and above 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 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:

  • Reducing business crime: Additional Police or PCSO’s, CCTV Schemes
  • Reduce operating costs: Joint procurement of utilities, insurance & waste management contracts
  • Increased cleaning and greening: Additional cleansing of the town’s streets and extra floral displays
  • Marketing and promotion: Marketing campaigns to promote the town centre as a destination, to develop its identity and increase visitor numbers

WHY DO BUSINESSES SUPPORT BIDS?

A BID is a mechanism which allows businesses to raise a sum of money to manage and deliver projects that they have identified to improve their trading environment.

HOW IS A BID MANAGED?

The majority of successful BIDs are delivered through a company limited by guarantee. The BID Company is 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 (KPIs) are set and performance is monitored against the KPIs 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.

WHO PAYS FOR A BID?

Based on the detailed business plan put together by the Task 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.

HOW CAN WALTON-ON-THAMES BECOME A BID?

Normally a “BID Task 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 held and 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 favour by number and rateable value.

If you still have questions about the Walton-on-Thames BID please get in touch with the BID team here.
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