About Business Improvement Districts;

What is a Business Improvement District (BID)?

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a business-led initiative where businesses and organisations are invited to come together, in partnership with local authorities and public service providers, to make decisions and to take action to improve the trading environment within a defined geographic area.

What are the Benefits?

The BID itself provides a means by which businesses and organisations have the power to raise their own funds to address the priorities that matter to them, and to bring about positive improvements to the trading environment that benefits the whole community.

A spirit of collaboration, sharing knowledge, pooling resources and benefiting from economies of scale can add value to each individual business as well as  improving  the business district as a whole. Whether its focus is attracting more visitors and encouraging customers to stay longer, or raising the standards of local services and facilities, action to deliver an agreed set of projects and services has the potential to transform an area through collective action.

How is it paid for?

Much of the income needed to deliver projects and services through a BID comes from a BID levy – an additional charge alongside the Business Rates.  This is collected on behalf of businesses by the Rates Authority (South Lakeland District Council) but is held in a ring-fenced account and used only for costs directly associated with the delivery of the BID, in other words, the projects agreed and voted for by the participating businesses.

Is it just another tax?

The levy is NOT a tax and does not go to either the Government or the local authorities. Business Rates, together with the Council Tax, pays for statutory and non-statutory services such as cleansing, lighting, policing etc. The BID levy is a separate, specific fund to invest in projects and services identified and controlled by the businesses themselves. It provides for improvements and benefits in addition to existing services provided by the District Council and other public service bodies.

Who manages the BID?

The Kendal BID Board (made up of businesses in the BID area) keeps control of the money AND decides how it is spent. The board is made up of individuals who represent a cross-section of business sectors contributing to the levy.

Who pays and how much will it cost?

  • Any person, registered company or charity/non profit-making organisation are liable for the BID levy if they are the occupier/leaseholder of a property within the BID area. The billing period will run from the 1st March each year to the last day of February of the following year. Kendal BID began on 1st March 2014 and will run for 5 years.
  • Payments must be made in one full instalment in accordance with the payment amount and date shown on the front of the Demand Notice.
  • The BID Levy is 1%of Rateable Value to keep it proportionate and affordable for ratepayers.
  • If your Rateable Value is £3,000 and above you will be liable to pay the BID levy even if you receive rate relief. Some businesses may pay nothing for their rates but will still pay the BID Levy as their rateable value is £3,000 and above.
  • If your property or the property you rent has its rateable value changed then your levy payment may change. The ratepayer normally pays the levy but if you are renting please check your terms and conditions. Adjustments to the BID levy will be made where there is a change of ratepayer. Revised Levy bills will be issued, and calculated on a daily basis at the effective date of change, and where overpayments are identified they will be refunded to BID levy payers.
  • If a Hereditament is empty the eligible ratepayer will be liable for the full BID Levy with no void period, even if the building is closed and/or under renovation. The BID board does not have the authority to allow concessions without going back to full ballot.


Where’s the evidence that BIDs work?

There are well over 100 BIDs operating throughout the UK, so we are able to learn much about what works and what impact projects are having in BID areas. For instance, Rugby was one of the first formal BIDs to be created and, since it launched, has seen a substantial improvement in the performance of its market, a remarkable transformation of its physical cleanliness and a dramatic downturn in evening anti-social behaviour. Marketing and promotion for the town are noticeably stronger too.

How can I get involved or find out more?

This is a business-led initiative and like you, we are running businesses of our own. We, therefore, need as much help as possible so please get in touch!

How do I pay for the levy?

You can pay directly to SLDC, the easiest way is to do this when you are paying your business rates but you can also follow this link  http://www.southlakeland.gov.uk/pay-for-it/  Kendal BID will not be able to take your payment directly (please see HOW IS IT PAID FOR?)

Additional questions:

Quarterly meeting 13th August 2019

Amendment to member Meeting- August 2019- please note that after noting that the Barrow BID website held no information on an award they had been nominated for, it was noted later that this had been put up on their webpage. Barrow BID has nominated themselves for an award they have not been nominated. Kendal BID nominates itself for awards but unless shortlisted does not shout about it. Kendal BID has recently entered an award with British BIDs.    

Additional member questions – Philip Walker (The New Union, Stricklandgate)


You can contact Kendal BID by emailing Sarah Williams sarah@kendalbid.co.uk

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