Groups of businesses are able to commission projects that lead to improvements in their local trading environment through a Business Improvement District (BID). An additional levy that’s charged through the business rates system funds the BID, with the BID running for a five year period. At the end of the five years, businesses can vote as to whether or not they want to continue with the BID for another five year period.

What is the BID?

The funds raised from the BID levy are held by Groundwork CLM (the accountable body for the West Chester Commercial BID) who invest the funds into added value projects and services within the trading environment. The Sealand and West Chester Business community directs and governs the commissioned projects and services.

Any services that are a statutory provision of the public sector won’t be supported by the BID funds as the BID can only fund services that are separate, extra or enhanced to those that the Local Authority are legally responsible for (Baseline Agreements).

A formal ballot needs to take place for a BID to become established. More than 50% of those voting in the ballot have to approve the BID proposal. Additionally, the companies must represent at least 50% of the rate-able value of the businesses that have voted.

All of the eligible companies within the BID area are responsible for payment of a BID levy once it’s established. More than 175 BIDs have been approved by companies across the UK since BIDs were introduced in 2004.

The West Chester Commercial BID was approved in 2017 and came to fruition in September that year. During this time, the BID has started to implement a range of improvement projects, including upgrading the image of Sealand and West Chester Employment Park, reducing crime in the area through the incorporation of bank holiday security services and providing a number of popular training courses for employees.

Over the next few years of the BID a number of projects and services are planned to further enhance the trading environment.