Lancaster is a fantastic city.
It has the heritage that few cities in the North of England can match, a superb arts scene anchored by two great theatres and a strong retail and leisure offer that has the potential to be even bigger. Lancaster BID works on behalf of all city centre businesses to further build the reputation of the city and help Lancaster become an even more attractive proposition for shoppers, tourists and people from within the district looking for things to see and do.
What is the BID?
Lancaster BID Ltd is a not for profit company led by a Management Board comprising largely private sector members which aims to create a more prosperous city centre.
All business properties with a rateable value of £10,000 and above within the BID area pay an annual BID levy of 1.5% of the rateable value of their business. The Rateable Value is currently fixed at 1 April 2016 for the five year period of the BID (i.e 1st April 2016 to 31 March 2021). There are no exemptions or reliefs with the BID levy.
These payments – the BID levy – currently generate a budget around £220,000 per year to spend on improving and promoting the city centre as a vibrant and cosmopolitan destination. This money is used to lever in additional support to add value to the levy. The BID was first established on 1st April 2013 and began a second five year term in 2016.
In early 2021 Lancaster BID is holding a renewal ballot where all levy paying businesses will vote to determine our future for the next five years from 1st April 2021 to 31st March 2026.
What does my levy pay for?
Your levy payment funds all BID activities to improve the city centre, boost footfall and provide support to businesses. The funds are also used as leverage to secure additional external investment into the city centre. To date additional funds secured have more than covered the overheads of Lancaster BID meaning an amount greater than the annual levy collection is invested directly back into the city centre each year.
WHAT HAS LANCASTER BID DELIVERED?
We have worked hard to deliver numerous flagship initiatives since 2013. This has included building a programme of flagship events driving footfall into the city centre throughout the year, driving forward physical improvement works including city centre planting schemes and making long term vacant properties more attractive, delivering widespread marketing campaigns for the city centre, installing seasonal decorations such as Christmas Lights and bunting and being responsive to the ever changing needs of local businesses. Our recently launched Safe and Secure theme includes the appointment of a BID Warden to ensure a visible presence on the street and help tackle instances of shoplifting and antisocial behaviour.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic we acted fast to provide direct support to businesses to ensure they were able to reopen safely following the initial lockdown as well as ensuring rapid flow of information regarding all business grants available. We adapted our marketing to encourage residents to continue to safely support local businesses wherever possible and continued forward planning to ensure we are ready for our events programme to resume as soon as it is safe to do so.
How DO we measure success?
We have footfall counters installed at key points in the city centre to record the number of people visiting. We also obtain feedback directly from businesses through regular communication and requesting feedback to ensure we are successfully delivering. High levels of engagement and frequent positive feedback indicate we are delivering results for our levy payers. Lancaster BID received strong YES votes for our first two terms and is confident of repeating this again in 2021 to ensure we continue for a further five years.
The Lancaster BID team would like to thank you, Lancaster’s local businesses, for saying YES to your Business Improvement District.
Together we want to create and promote a city centre alive with culture and heritage – and with your help we can really make things happen! Lancaster BID is committed to working with you, giving you and your business a say in the future of our city and collaboratively forming a stronger voice for action. By uniting with your fellow business owners and employees, the BID is your platform for change. Together we can make a real difference to the area, bringing more business to you.
The BID cannot work alone. We value the individuals who make up our vibrant city and we want your voice to be heard. Ask to join one of our Sub Groups or Management Board if you would like to get even more involved.