Business Improvement Districts

A widespread network of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) has been created across the UK since their introduction in 2004.

BIDs are business-led with the majority focused upon town and city centres, although they are not confined to these areas. Many are being formed in out of town industrial or commercial areas in order to drive successful projects.

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

All BIDs have a clear and focused role, outlined 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. A BID is not, therefore, a mechanism for any public or private sector body to cease to provide established activities. Effective BID districts deliver additional benefits to the local economy and community.

The maximum term covered by a BID Business Plan is five years. The continuation of any BID beyond their initial term is reliant on both the production of a renewed Business Plan and a successful 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.

At Heartflood, our experience has found that a successful renewal ballot is driven by 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.

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