As well as the business survey, an independent Feasibility Study was commissioned to establish the possible introduction of a BID, which overwhelmingly concluded that a BID should be proposed for Banbury.
A levy of 1.5% is being proposed in Banbury, which means that a small business with a rateable value of £10,000 would invest £150 per year, a medium sized business with a rateable value of £75,000 would invest £1,125 per year and a large business with a rateable value of £150,000 would invest £2,250 per year. A reduced levy of 1.125% is being proposed for tenants of managed shopping centres to reflect the service charge which they pay, which would result in slightly reduced payments to those listed above.
There are more than 280 BIDs already operating across the UK, with the majority focusing on town or city centres. The activities of the BID would be designed to benefit the entire range of business sectors within central Banbury and could include:
Better promoted – budget £205,000 over 5 years
More vibrant – budget £250,000 over 5 years
Better for Businesses – budget £125,000 over 5 years
Better for visitors – budget £90,100 over 5 years
Working for you – budget £380,250 over 5 years
The survey suggested a BID area which includes approximately 540 businesses. This would generate approximately £210,000 per year, which would be supplemented by voluntary contributions from local businesses outside the town centre. BIDs are also often successful in gaining additional funding, because they are attractive to public sector bodies who are encouraged to match-fund money raised by the private sector through the BID.
It is run by the Council on behalf of local businesses or outsourced to an independent third party and is conducted entirely by post. All businesses that would pay the levy have a minimum of 28 days to vote. For a BID to go ahead the ballot must be won on two counts – a straight majority and majority of rateable value. There is no minimum turnout threshold.
The proposed area covers the main town centre, including Castle Quay and the Leisure Centre.
In principle, yes, although an exemption level of £4,750 is being proposed, which means that small businesses which fall under this threshold would not be liable to pay the levy or to vote in the ballot. They would however be able to join the BID and therefore benefit from a number of services for a voluntary annual contribution of approximately £100.
No – the BID would be established to carry out projects over and above anything currently happening or planned in Banbury so would deliver added value and activity in the key areas identified. Furthermore, the BID would be governed by a Board made up of BID levy payers, who would be tasked with ensuring that BID activities deliver additional impact to existing activities.
Councils are under increasing pressure to deliver a range of public services and simply do not have the finances to deliver the services which BIDs can. BIDs are however designed to deliver additional activity and generally enter into a legal agreement with public-sector bodies, such as Councils to ensure that they continue to provide core services, with the BID delivering projects above and beyond these standards. BIDs are therefore usually the best opportunity to make a real difference to the area and Cherwell District Council have responded to requests from the business community and are demonstrating their commitment to supporting the economic prosperity of Banbury by commissioning an independent specialist to take the proposals forwards.
The following timetable is being followed:
|November 2016||Decision to proceed with BID and creation of shadow BID Board|
|March 2017 – July 2017||Business liaison and consultation on proposed Business Plan|
|September 2017||Launch of Business Plan|
|October 2017||Ballot papers issued|
|October-November 2017||Votes cast and result announced|
|November 2017 to April 2018||BID begins operation – subject to a positive vote|
The maximum term for any BID is 5 years and we are proposing this timescale in Banbury, which would generate more than £1 million towards key improvements. If businesses wish, further 5-year terms could subsequently be proposed and taken to ballot.
We want the views of as many businesses as possible in helping shape the proposals and would urge you to contact us.