#TauntonBID

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Taunton photography by Craig Stone   |  © 2019 by TAUNTON BID 

Taunton BID

WHAT IS A BID?

A BID is a way for businesses in a defined area to decide, fund and agree collectively on projects and initiatives that they want to be delivered in their area to help their businesses and town thrive.

To decide what those projects should be, a thorough programme of consultation is carried out, including questionnaires, newsletters, surgeries, one to one meetings and open meetings.

Following that consultation a business plan is written which includes those suggested priorities. The BID Business Plan varies from BID to BID according to the needs and priorities of each area. When the Business Plan or proposal document has been agreed, all eligible businesses in the area have the opportunity to vote ‘For’ or ‘Against’ the BID in a formal ballot conducted by the Local Authority.

For The BID to proceed, there must be a majority vote in favour both by number and rateable value. I.e. a majority of those businesses that vote (the turnout) must vote YES, and the total rateable value of those businesses that vote in favour must be greater than the total rateable value of those that vote NO.

If the BID achieves these majorities, the BID becomes a statutory obligation on both the BID proposer (the BID company) and the BID voters. The BID Company is obliged to deliver the scheme for the lifetime of the BID (max 5 years), and there is a statutory charge on all the eligible premises within the BID areas to pay an annual levy to fund the BID, payable by the ratepayer regardless of how they voted.

BIDs work on a very simple principle where every business involved benefits and contributes proportionately. Smaller businesses pay less, and larger businesses pay more but each contributes the same percentage. Together a fund is created to deliver the BID Business Plan which has the power to make a real difference.

By ensuring everyone contributes, BIDs eliminate the freeloader effect, which tend to make other schemes fail. BIDs are fair and they have also proved to be highly effective. Each year the BID Company is legally obliged to publish an audit of its delivery against the targets of the BID plan. Voters have the right to see this and hold the company to account.

WHAT IS A BID?

A BID is a way for businesses in a defined area to decide, fund and agree collectively on projects and initiatives that they want to be delivered in their area to help their businesses and town thrive.

To decide what those projects should be, a thorough programme of consultation is carried out, including questionnaires, newsletters, surgeries, one to one meetings and open meetings.

Following that consultation a business plan is written which includes those suggested priorities. The BID Business Plan varies from BID to BID according to the needs and priorities of each area. When the Business Plan or proposal document has been agreed, all eligible businesses in the area have the opportunity to vote ‘For’ or ‘Against’ the BID in a formal ballot conducted by the Local Authority.

For The BID to proceed, there must be a majority vote in favour both by number and rateable value. I.e. a majority of those businesses that vote (the turnout) must vote YES, and the total rateable value of those businesses that vote in favour must be greater than the total rateable value of those that vote NO.

If the BID achieves these majorities, the BID becomes a statutory obligation on both the BID proposer (the BID company) and the BID voters. The BID Company is obliged to deliver the scheme for the lifetime of the BID (max 5 years), and there is a statutory charge on all the eligible premises within the BID areas to pay an annual levy to fund the BID, payable by the ratepayer regardless of how they voted.

BIDs work on a very simple principle where every business involved benefits and contributes proportionately. Smaller businesses pay less, and larger businesses pay more but each contributes the same percentage. Together a fund is created to deliver the BID Business Plan which has the power to make a real difference.

By ensuring everyone contributes, BIDs eliminate the freeloader effect, which tend to make other schemes fail. BIDs are fair and they have also proved to be highly effective. Each year the BID Company is legally obliged to publish an audit of its delivery against the targets of the BID plan. Voters have the right to see this and hold the company to account.

A SNAPSHOT OF BIDS IN THE UK

A BID can be set up anywhere there is a collection of business premises and owners that want to make a difference. These include: Industrial Centres, Trading Estates, Businesses Parks, City Centres, and town centres of all types.

  • Introduced in England in 2004

  • More than 300 in the UK – Minehead was number 301!

  • In the UK BIDs include– towns, cities, coastal resorts, industrial parks, Tourism BIDs

  • *Total, UK BID levy income - £110.5m

  • *120,700 businesses are in UK BID schemes.

  • *Value added - £12.5m (11.4% of total BID levy inclusive)

  • *97% of ballots last year (2018) achieved a mandate.

  • They have influence  - 38% of BIDs are working with their local LEPs and many directly influence local town centre strategies, and Future High Street Fund.

  • All Party Parliamentary Group for BIDs has been set up to influence Gov’t policy ,

  • There are 30 BIDs in the SW region. 

 

The great majority of BIDs are voted in for a first term.  Of all the BIDs that have gone to ballot for a second term over 90% have been approved for a further term by an increased majority, and a handful have now entered a third term.

 

WHY DOES TAUNTON NEED A BID?

Taunton is the County Town of Somerset, served by 2 junctions off the M5. It sits at the heart of the Vale of Taunton and bounded to the North by the Quantock Hills and to the South by the  Blackdown Hills, both are AONBs. Taunton is a significant urban and commercial centre for the SW. It has been designated a Garden Town to denote that the Government recognises that is growth hub for the region.  

The town centre is architecturally attractive, relatively compact and easily navigable. It has a wide range of stores with most of the key nationals represented. In addition, it has a vibrant independent retail and hospitality offer. Taunton sits on the banks of the River Tone, it hosts the Somerset County Cricket Club, Somerset  County Museum, the Brewhouse Theatre and the renowned Castle Hotel.

Competition and challenges for places such as Taunton are obvious.

Taunton faces similar challenges as most towns currently. Footfall is declining, spend in stores is decreasing and investment has reduced significantly in recent years.


As with other towns and cities Taunton is impacted by the rise of digital /on line retail that now accounts for more than 20% of retail sales, and is growing year on year. In addition Local Authority funding cuts mean that the public purse can no longer fund marketing and promotion to the same extent as in the past. Finally the economic crash of 2008 and Brexit continue to impact  consumer confidence.


Taunton has strong assets and many opportunities that are currently undersold. Its location off the M5 corridor, the River Tone flowing through the town are not fully exploited. Taunton’s status as the County Town of Somerset should be an asset that can boast 3 fine churches in the town centre, beautiful Vivary Park  and several independent schools with a national reputation for excellence. The shopping experience in Taunton is also extremely good with a comprehensive shopping an eating offer to suit all tastes and budgets.  It has a relatively affluent population living close to and working in the town, it is clear that many of these customers do not choose to use Taunton but prefer to go to Exeter, Bristol or to shop on line.

SO, WHY A BID?

A BID scheme is an innovative way for businesses, to work together to design, plan, manage, deliver and pay for a business plan that reflects business’ priorities to take Taunton forward over the next 5 years.


BIDs also provide a great opportunity for businesses to reduce their costs by cooperating to negotiate better rates for utility bills, trade waste and insurance premiums.


BIDs are also highly effective vehicles ensuring that the voice of business is hard to influence changes and plans to town centre strategies.


Business owners in Taunton know better than anyone else what needs to be done to improve the trading environment in the town. In a comprehensive process of consultation, we need business leaders to tell us what their priorities are for any future BID plan in Taunton. 

The business plan will aim to reflect those priorities. Businesses will be asked to comment on the draft plan to make sure that it reflects accurately what they think the town needs to increase its vitality for all. If you vote in favour of this plan, it will be adopted and delivered by the BID Company on behalf of the town.
 

MESSAGE FROM THE TAUNTON BID TEAM

Taunton town centre is the economic engine of this area  – it should reflect our identity, culture and ambition and the Taunton Business Improvement District will aim to deliver this.

The Taunton Business Improvement District will aim to continuously improve the vitality and viability of Taunton town centre and to provide a forum for town businesses by bringing together stakeholders in the town centre to work in partnership, whether they are private sector, public sector or community representatives and to co-ordinate their activities towards a common goal.

The Taunton Business Improvement District Board will have  representation from both private business and public services.

The Business Improvement District (BID) was championed and started by the Taunton Chamber of Commerce. Taunton Chamber has for many years organised many events and initiatives to support business in Taunton and to  promote the town, Money and time resources have always limited these initiatives. The BID will ensure a viable and consistent budget and resource to deliver more.

Taunton Chamber recognises that something needs to change to enable Taunton to stay competitive in the local market. They believe that a BID will provide focus and direction for businesses, whilst taking into account the needs of all town centre partners and users.
 

HOW WILL THE BID BE MANAGED?

The BID process is being lead by Taunton Chamber. Following a successful BID ballot a new formal BID company will be set up to implement and deliver the BID proposals.

The managing Board of this company will be made up of members of the participating businesses, and as with any Board, these will be appointed or elected, based on their skills and the contribution they can make to the BID company and the development of Taunton.

Taunton Chamber of Commerce will set up a BID Working Group to take the BID work forward to ballot early next year. Assuming this vote is positive, this group will no longer be active but will be replaced by the Taunton BID Company Board of Directors

HOW WILL THE EXTRA SERVICES BE FUNDED

The table below illustrates how much this will be for premises in Taunton e.g. If your business’ rateable value is £20,000 then you would pay an extra £300 per year. All this money will be ring-fenced to deliver the 5-year business plan, this fund will be used to encourage additional funding to match it so the pot of money grows. Only businesses in Taunton with a rateable value of  £5,000 or more will be included in the scheme.

Distribution of rated premises by number and rateable value
Number of businesses included in the bid:
(with a rateable value of £5000 and above):
415
Total rateable value of businesses in the area:
£18.1m
Total Levy raised each year:
£270,000
(£1.3M over 5 years)
Numbers of businesses in Taunton BID entitled to business rates relief:
65%
Councils’ contribution per annum
(Somerset West & Taunton Council and Somerset County Council) :
£15,000

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