FAQs

1. What is a BID? BID stands for Business Improvement District.  In simple terms a BID is a business-led and business funded organisation that works to improve a defined commercial area, such as Lichfield City centre. The BID is voted for and set up by local traders.

A BID is a defined area within which the local business community have voted by a majority in favour of working together to collectively invest in additional projects and services through a limited, non for profit making company: Lichfield BID.

For a BID to commence businesses must vote by ballot by a majority in favour of paying an additional circa 1% of their business premises rateable value to fund improvements and projects they want for their town or city. The money is collected by the Local Authority and ring-fenced then transferred to a separate BID bank account, thus ensuring every pound collected locally is spent locally.

All businesses within the proposed BID area will be asked to be a part of the BID consultation over the next six months and the findings of which will identify the common themes, projects and improvements that businesses want to see within Lichfield City Centre.

2. How have the projects in this business plan  been chosen? The projects in this BID Business Plan are based on ideas put forward by businesses through the various questionnaires and surveys we have  carried out. The most popular ideas have been costed and included in this  document. Find out more about the consultations we carried out. 3. What if most businesses vote ‘YES’? Just like a political election, there is no minimum turnout required. If a majority of the businesses who vote (both in terms of total number and overall rateable value) vote ‘YES’, all businesses in the city centre will pay into the BID, even if they voted no. The money collected will be held in an account for sole use by the BID to deliver the projects set out in this BID Business Plan. 4. What if most businesses vote no? Very simply, the projects set out in this BID Business Plan will not go ahead and many of the projects delivered to date, including marketing and promotion, will stop. As a result, Lichfield will quickly fall behind other nearby centres, especially those with established BIDs, such as Sutton Coldfield, Solihull and Stratford and areas like Tamworth Ventura Park, where this type of activity is delivered through a service charge, paid for by all businesses. 5. What if I don’t vote? Much like a general election, there is no minimum turnout for a BID. So, if you don’t vote, it will not affect the outcome of the ballot in any way. 6. Who has to pay BID levy? If we get a ‘YES’ vote, any person, registered company, retail charity or non-profit making organisation who is a business occupier or leaseholder within the BID area will pay the BID levy. Property landlords are only liable if the property is empty and a lease does not exist. In the case of empty, partly refurbished or demolished properties, where no occupation exists, or where the occupier is sub-letting from the property owner and not paying business rates, then the property owner will be required to pay the BID levy. 7. Are there any exemptions on BID levy? Yes, non-retail charities (such as advice centres) that get mandatory rate relief will not have to pay the full BID levy. High street retail charities, such as second hand clothes/book shops, will have to pay the full levy. 8. What will the BID cost me? The amount you pay will be based on your individual business rateable value so smaller businesses pay less than larger businesses. The average yearly BID levy will be just over £380 per year – that’s less than £32 per month. Half of all businesses will pay £250 or less a year. Find out more on page 18 or email michelle@lichfieldbid.co.uk 8. Which rateable value will be used to calculate my BID contribution? We will use the 2010 listings that came into force on 1 April 2010. You can check these listings and your rateable value on www.voa.gov.uk 9. Isn’t this just a way for councils to save money? No, BIDs cannot replace existing public services already provided by bodies such as the council, police and others. In this way, the BID only improves current standards and does not subsidise or replace them. 10. What about council services? Before the BID begins all statutory services provided in the BID area will be baselined as at the day before the BID commences. The BID will also enter into memorandums of understanding with the local councils/agencies that require them to liaise closely with the BID in regards to current services, and in particular any proposed changes to statutory services throughout the BID term. 11. Who will run the BID? BIDs are operated as not-for-profit companies that are led by business people and made up of key business and other representatives in the BID area. In Lichfield it is planned that the BID will be run by an independent Lichfield BID Company. It is likely this will be formed from the current BID Steering Group  and if you are keen to be part of this, email michelle@lichfieldbid.co.uk 12. Why do businesses have to pay for all this - why isn’t someone else paying for it? A BID delivers new or enhanced projects that no one else has or will deliver. BID income cannot be used to pay for services that are already being provided. In this sense, the BID will add value by delivering additional activities in Lichfield city that cannot be funded/delivered by others. 13. What period would the BID cover? The BID would cover a five-year period between 1 September 2015 and 31 August 2020. 14. What’s in it for me? BIDs across the country have proven to increase customers visiting a city centre like Lichfield, help to grow businesses’ profits, give businesses like yours a greater voice and create a fair system of contribution to key improvements. 15. What benefits do BIDs bring to everyone? Experience across the country has shown that BIDs have resulted in the following key benefits: ✓ Increased customer footfall ✓ A more buoyant local economy ✓ Reduced individual business costs through joint projects ✓ Physical improvements to the BID area ✓ A united business voice on key issues ✓ Businesses being more involved in community projects ✓ Builds local pride in the city 16. How will the BID be evaluated? The BID will establish a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor and measure the effectiveness of the projects delivered through the BID. This will provide vital quantitative information which can be used to tailor the annual delivery of the five-year programme and to provide suitable evidence of performance to enable all the businesses and organisations to see the effect of their investment in the BID. These KPIs could range from increased footfall through to the number of new businesses established. The KPIs will be presented at the Annual General Meeting that all BID businesses will be invited to attend. 17. Will the BID look for other sources of funding? The BID will pursue other sources of funding and support both as cash and in-kind, including commercial sponsorships and income generation and voluntary contributions from businesses and organisations that are not covered by the BID levy arrangements. 18. Who will I pay my levy to? You will receive a BID invoice from Lichfield District Council on behalf of Lichfield BID. The council will not keep the money – they will transfer all of it to the BID Company as BIDs are 100% business led. You will have the choice to pay your BID levy in one lump sum or in monthly instalments, just like your business rates payment. 19. Who can vote? All eligible businesses with a rateable value of more than £5,000 will be entitled to vote if they were listed as a non-domestic rate payer within the proposed BID area on the date the notice of ballot is published. Businesses with more than one business premises, which are liable to levy, will receive a vote for each eligible premises. In the case of empty, partly refurbished or demolished properties, where no occupation exists, or where the occupier is sub-letting from the property owner and not paying business rates, then the property owner will be entitled to vote. 20. When will be BID start and end? The BID’s first term will start on 1 September 2015 and end on 31 August 2020. Before the end date, the BID Company may choose to seek a renewal for a further BID term and will seek a new mandate via a renewal ballot. 21. Can BID projects be altered? BID projects, costs and timescales can be altered subject to approval from the BID Company’s board, providing they fall within the resources available to the BID. 22. Will my levy change? No, the BID levy we charge will remain the same throughout the five year BID term. If you are appealing your rates, there will be no adjustments during the year to reflect changes in your rateable value due to appeals. Changes in values will be reflected in a corresponding change to levy in the following year. Where a BID property is taken out of the ratings list, the BID levy will apply up to the day before the effective date of removal, and the annual BID levy will be apportioned accordingly. Where a new assessment is bought into the ratings list, the BID levy will apply from the effective date as shown in the ratings list. The annual levy will be apportioned on a daily basis. Where at the time of the ballot there is no current occupational lease, the liability will fall to the property owner until a new lease is confirmed. The owner will be entitled to vote in the BID ballot. 23. Have BIDs worked elsewhere? Yes there are now over 200 BIDs across the UK with nearby BIDs in Sutton Coldfield, Solihull, Worcester, Rugby and Stratford Upon Avon. 95% of BIDs are successful at reballot after their first five year term, which demonstrates their value to businesses. There are 13 BIDs across Birmingham. Here are just a few examples of what other BIDs have delivered: Coventry BID increased footfall by over 2% when the West Midlands average was down by 6% - a very dramatic contrast. Plymouth BID attracted 300,000 additional day time visitors to the city since the start of the BID. Broad Street BID generated £2.1 million of positive media coverage in 12 months, installed 37,000 LED tree lights and employed BID-branded taxi marshals. Rugby BID installed a state of the art CCTV system in the town and employed Rugby Rangers - a high visibility, friendly and helpful town ambassadors team. Shoplifting incidents decreased by 54% as a result. Any other questions, please contact: Michelle Baker Lichfield BID Development Manager michelle@lichfieldbid.co.uk 07527 016 338

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