Business Improvement Districts

Since their British introduction in 2004, a widespread network of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) has been created across the UK.

BIDs are business-led and the majority focus upon town and city centres, although they are not confined to these areas, with many being formed in out of town industrial or commercial areas.

BIDs operate through the levy of a small percentage on Business Rates to fund local improvements, with the actual levy percentage varying depending on the area in question.

All BIDs have a clear and focused role, contained within a Business Plan which all eligible businesses and organisations are asked to vote upon in a ballot. For any BID to be successful, there needs to be a majority of votes supporting the proposals.


BIDs are designed to deliver additional projects and activities over and above those which are already taking place and a BID is not, therefore, a mechanism for any public or private sector body to cease to provide established activities.

The maximum term covered by a BID Business Plan is five years and the continuation of any BID beyond their initial term is reliant on the production of a renewed Business Plan and a renewal ballot of the businesses within the BID area. Numerous BIDs have achieved a successful renewal ballot and many are within their third BID term, having achieved two subsequent renewal ballots.

At Heartflood, our experience has found that demonstrating the benefits realised by businesses and the community in previous BID terms, coupled with a new business plan based on the current social, economic and business needs pertinent to that local area helps drive a successful renewal ballot.

The number of BIDs continues to rise and they are increasingly considered as the model of best-practice for high quality town and city centre management.