What is a Business Improvement District (BID)?
Business Improvement District (BID) is a business led and business funded scheme to improve a defined commercial area
In this case, Eastbourne Town Centre. Businesses based in the BID area voted to establish a BID in September 2019. It was approved by a majority of businesses in the BID area who voted (68% in favour) following a confidential and formal ballot during July 2019. The Town Centre BID will have a five-year lifespan, which can be extended by subsequent ballots. The BID was established on the 4th of September 2019. The BID empowers local businesses to ‘raise funds’ to be spent locally on improving their trading environment. In Eastbourne, the fund is expected to approximately total £1.5M over five years.
What is the Eastbourne BID area?
The BID area consists of Terminus Road, Grove Road, South Street, Gildredge Road, Cornfield Road and Commercial Road and all roads in between
This includes Hyde Gardens, Bolton Road, Cornfield Terrace, Trinity Place and Lushington Road. A map is available via our website and business plan which can be downloaded here
I didn't vote in the ballot (or voted no)
The BID regulations state that should a vote be successful, all businesses within the BID area will be liable to pay the levy
The majority of businesses who took part in the ballot voted in favour (68%) for a BID to be established in September 2019.
The Town Centre BID will have a five-year lifespan, which can be extended by subsequent ballots. The BID was established on the 4th of September 2019.
What are the aims of Eastbourne BID?
The BID will improve the experience of visitors, residents and businesses in Eastbourne.
- market the town as a great place to work, live, shop and visit
- provide a voice for the town centre’s businesses
- enhance the area with winter lighting, signage and planters and create shopping identities in independent areas
- improve the safety and security of the BID area
- provide outreach services to tackle homelessness and anti-social behaviour
How is the BID financed?
Your Eastbourne BID is primarily financed through a BID levy applied to qualifying businesses within the BID boundary.
This will generate around £1.5 million over the first 5 year term. The levy is 1.5% of a business’ rateable value of £6,000 and over. Exemptions and exceptions:
- All businesses with a rateable value of £6,000 will be liable for the levy
- Serviced tenants of The Beacon receive a discount of 15%
- Charities who do not have a retail unit and NHS premises which do not practice private health services are exempt
When is the next payment?
Invoices will be sent to all businesses who are liable to pay on the 4th of September 2020
The invoices will be sent by Eastbourne Borough Council direct, and will have 31 day payment terms. This year, payments can be made in two instalments - September and October.
Who collects the BID levy?
The BID levy will be collected by Eastbourne Borough Council.
BID Legislation provides for local authorities to be the billing body as the Council already has systems and procedures in place to collect business rates.
What happens to the BID levy when it is collected by the Council?
All money collected by the Council will be paid direct to the BID Operating Company.
There will be a small collection charge (approximately 3%) but no funds are held back for funding other statutory services unless these are additional and requested by local businesses.
How will Your Eastbourne BID be managed?
A panel of directors will be elected who will have overall responsibility to all BID levy payers
Eastbourne BID Board meets regularly to ensure best practice and best value in all that we do. The Board takes responsibility for the strategic and financial management of the BID.
What if I am a new hereditament or my rateable value changes?
If a new hereditament joins during the year, they will be added to the BID at their first annual rates billing
Should a hereditament have their rateable value re-assessed, this will be updated at their next annual billing. Amendments will not be backdated or issued in writing.
What if my property is empty/vacant
There are no reductions for empty premises
Can I be part of the BID board?
The BID board will be elected by members
You can volunteer to be part of the board by standing for election at future Annual General Meetings.
How do I pay my BID Levy invoice?
Business will be sent a separate bill for the BID levy in November 2019
You can pay by BACS or cheque.
Can I pay by instalments?
You will receive a separate annual bill for your BID account
This year, payment can be made in two instalments - one in September and one in October
What happens if I refuse to pay?
In the event of non-payment, on behalf of the BID operating company (Your Eastbourne BID), the council will recover any sums due in line with normal recovery processes.
It is hoped that all businesses will see the benefits of contributing to the BID, however payment is a legal requirement and is controlled by an Act of Parliament. This will mean that defaulters receive a reminder, final notice and may ultimately face court proceedings. However, the council will liaise with Your Eastbourne BID Board to discuss such cases and Your Eastbourne BID will encourage payment for the benefit of all.
How long does the BID last?
The BID lasts for five years and was established on the 4th September 2019
It will end on the 3rd of September 2024 and businesses will be asked whether or not they wish to continue for a further five years
Why do my business rates not cover this?
The BID levy will pay for specific services and benefits over and above those already offered by the local authority and other statutory agencies and functions on top of the base-line services that the Council provides. These additional services are decided by the BID Panel in consultation with all businesses in the BID area.
Business Rates are a statutory local tax levied to provide generic services by the local authority, like street lighting and rubbish collection. Under the business rates retention scheme introduced from 1st April 2013, the local authority keeps a proportion of the business rates paid locally. This is normally 50% and the rest goes to the Treasury.
Exceptional financial circumstances makes it difficult to pay the levy
If you feel you have exceptional financial circumstances which will delay your ability to pay the levy, you should contact us so that we can provide an application form.
We understand that from time to time a business could suffer from exceptional financial hardship. There is no statutory definition of hardship and it will be for both Eastbourne Borough Council and the BID company to decide on a case by case basis the facts of each case. If it is deemed that a business is suffering hardship and there is clear evidence to support this it may be necessary to allow more time to pay. Any such agreement will be temporary for a short period of time and not on an on-going basis.