Frequently Asked Questions

QWhat is a BID?

A Business improvement District is a way for businesses in a defined area to decide what they need to help their business to thrive. A Business Plan will be written that will include these suggestions and you will have a chance to vote for the plan. There has to be a majority in favour for the plan to go ahead.

QHow long will it last?

Up to 5 years

QWho is behind this scheme?

The Exeter BID Company. To see a list of the current BID Board, please visit https://www.exeterbid.co.uk/board/

QWhat is the Exeter BID Company and who is involved?

Exeter BID Company is a Company Ltd by Guarantee with a Board of Directors drawn from the Exeter business community. The company’s remit is to explore the potential for a BID. Once the BID vote was successful the previous directors of the company stood down to be replaced by representatives nominated and elected by the BID levy payers of Exeter. The Board of Directors are responsible for the implementation and governance of the BID throughout its lifetime.

QWhat will it cost?

The proposal is that it will cost a very small % of your rateable value – in the case of Exeter BID 1% . This is equivalent in many cases to just pennies per week or a book of stamps or a small ad in the local press. All this money is ring -fenced to deliver the business plan it is also used to encourage more funding to match it so the pot of money grows. Only businesses in Exeter with a rateable value in excess of £7,500 will be included in the scheme. The majority of businesses in Exeter have a rateable value of less than £50,000 which means we would be asking you to pay £500 pa or less. Read more here: http://goo.gl/w4E0cC

QWho gets to vote?

Every business in the area with a rateable value above £7500 will have one vote regardless of the size of the premises.

QWhat is the BID Area?

A map showing the BID area can be viewed at http://www.exeterbid.co.uk/What-is-BID/

QWhat happens if I did not vote? Do I still have to pay?

Like any democratic process if the majority of the businesses that vote decide that they want this scheme to go ahead it will and all the eligible voters will have to pay regardless of how they voted.

QHow do you know it works?

150 BID schemes have gone to ballot, the majority have voted in favour and the positive benefits are very obvious. Businesses in those areas have the chance to influence how their towns are managed and to make the changes necessary to survive. Of all the BIDS that have gone to ballot for a 2nd term +90% have been approved for a 2nd term by an increased majority.

QWhat sort of things can be included?

That will be for you as businesses to decide. But in other places it includes better marketing, improved security, better signs and directions, better cleaning, taxi marshals, cost saving initiatives, promotions and events tailored to attract shoppers and visitors to the City. The speakers at the event today will also give some examples of how the BID levy could be used.

QShouldn’t the council pay for all that?

The council will still be legally obliged to provide all the services that it does now and bring in any improvements they have scheduled. Anything done through the BID will be additional to what you get for Business Rates. Budgets for local councils have been cut dramatically and there will be no additional money to improve or support new ideas.

QHow do you know that the BID will deliver what it says?

The BID Business plan becomes a legal document if the majority of businesses vote for it. Every year the BID Company is legally obliged to publish an audit of its delivery against the targets in the BID plan, all voters will have a right to see that audit and hold the company to account.

QWhat happens after 5 years?

If the BID has been successful there will be an opportunity to vote for a renewal of the BID that may contain the same elements or a completely different Business Plan to reflect new priorities at the time.

QWhat next?

After many months of consultation the Business Plan was developed. You can read it in full here: http://www.exeterbid.co.uk/includes/documents/BID%20Business%20Plan%20FINAL.pdf The voting period was extended from 2 February to 2 March 2015.

QIs this the right time to be developing a BID?

Actually this is a great time to develop a BID. The High Street and public purse is under pressure to change like never before. The increased use of on-line retail and mobile comparison apps means that businesses need to work together to counter the threats and maximise the benefits of driving down overheads such as insurance and utility costs. A BID also makes your money go that much further with larger marketing budgets which can reach out and promote your business to more people both locally and further afield. BIDs offer great opportunities for economies of scale and BIDs provide much greater value for money than you have at present.

QDo BIDs exist elsewhere in the UK?

BIDs are a national success story with over 180 BID schemes in the UK. Evidence has shown that they work with nearly every second term ballot resulting in higher numbers of businesses voting ‘YES’. They have led to increased footfall, reduced overheads, safer and more vibrant towns and cities with higher spending levels. Kingston upon Thames, Reading, Bristol, Paddington, Lincoln, Winchester, Worcester New West End and Heart of London have all had second term ballots approved by businesses. Plymouth voted for a 3rd term in 2015. Other BIDs operating regionally include, the Torbay BIDs, Truro, Barnstaple, Dorchester, Bournemouth, Bath, Weymouth, Falmouth and many others.

QHow did the Exeter BID evolve?

Exeter has had City Centre Management for many years. It has been largely concerned with attracting investment to the city. In recent years it has become clear that more needs to be done to market the city beyond the immediate region, and that issues of safety and physical improvement need to be made to keep Exeter ahead of the pack. Exeter Chamber of Commerce and Exeter City Council concluded that in order for Exeter to reach its full potential, the development of a BID should be undertaken ‘as a means of actively involving the private sector in upgrading the quality of the City Centre’. The Exeter BID Company was formed to develop the BID Plan, carry out the consultation and to steer the process through to ballot. Once the ballot was successful new Directors formed the new Exeter BID Company. The Board was elected from those who pay the levy and have most to gain from a successful City Centre.

QWhy are businesses with a rateable value of under £7,500 exempt?

The cost of collecting the levy from smaller businesses outweighs the income generated from them. It also means that the number of businesses is reduced significantly, meaning that we can communicate with eligible businesses more effectively. Businesses under the threshold do not get a vote. Exempt businesses can however opt in to make voluntary contributions of no less than 1% of their rateable value

QWho pays and who collects the money?

The BID levy is charged to occupants of business premises with a rateable value of £7,500 or more and will be collected by Exeter City Council, placed into a ring-fenced account (a BID Revenue Account) then passed on to the Exeter BID Company.

QAren't BIDs just a way for Councils to save money?

Absolutely not. A BID scheme supports additional projects and services, provides new activity and does not replace statutory activities or services carried out by the City Council, County Council, Police and other public agencies. The Exeter BID Company has sought Baseline Agreements to ensure that businesses are not short-changed in the future and to avoid any duplication of services. The City Council has pledged its support for the BID and will contribute financially to it because they have commercial property in the BID area. Businesses will continue to benefit from the services which the Councils and Police provide for the benefit of businesses and public such as cleaning, lighting, access and safety. Baseline agreements have been written by Heads of Service at Devon and Cornwall Police, Exeter City Council and Devon County Council. These will be available at www.exeterbid.co.uk. These documents define the benchmarks for the provision of these services and how they will be measured.

QCan you guarantee that my money will be spent locally?

The money does not go to the Government or the Council. Funds will be held by the Exeter BID Company made up of business representatives; these funds are only for the projects agreed and voted for by the participating businesses in line with this proposal. Each year you will be able to see a fully audited report and set of accounts that will set out clearly how the BID fund has been spent in the previous year.

QIsn't this what I pay my Business Rates for?

No. Business Rates are a national tax that is collected by District / City Councils on behalf of central government and then redistributed according to a national formula. The Council’s income from this redistribution is spent throughout the city on statutory and discretionary services for residents and businesses. Businesses have very little say in the way the funds are spent. The great thing about a BID is that the projects it undertakes have been agreed by businesses, through a series of consultations. The money is kept locally, and spent locally, for the benefit of the local area. The BID levy is nothing to do with business rates. It is based on a levy on the rateable value of the business unit and the funds are invested within the BID area. The funds collected through the BID levy will be kept in a separate BID bank account held by Exeter BID Company but separate from non-BID money. The income from the levy and from voluntary or commercial contributions will be used to fund local activities and services, as decided by the businesses.

QWhich streets are within the BID area?

The Exeter BID area contains over 640 business addresses on the following streets: BAILEY STREET, BAMPFYLDE LANE, BAMPFYLDE STREET, BEDFORD STREET, CASTLE STREET, CATHEDRAL CLOSE, CATHEDRAL YARD, CATHERINE STREET, CHEEKE STREET, COOMBE STREET, DEANERY PLACE, DIXS FIELD, EASTGATE, FORE STREET, GANDY STREET, GATER LANE, GEORGE STREET, GOLDSMITH STREET, GUILDHALL SHOPPING CENTRE, GUINEA STREET, HIGH STREET, JOHN STREET, LITTLE CASTLE STREET, LITTLE QUEEN STREET, MARKET STREET, MARTINS LANE, MARY ARCHES STREET, MITRE LANE, MUSGRAVE ROW, NEW BRIDGE STREET, NORTH STREET, NORTHERNHAY PLACE, PALACE GATE, PARIS STREET, PAUL STREET, PRINCESSHAY, QUEEN STREET, ROMAN GATE, ROMAN PASSAGE, HIGH STREET, ROMAN WALK, SIDWELL STREET, SOUTH STREET, UPPER PAUL STREET, WATERBEER STREET

QWhen will the first AGM be held?

The BID's first Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday 13th July at 6:30pm in the Exeter Corn Exchange, Market Street, Exeter, EX1 1BW. This will be an opportunity for BID members to come and receive an update on our previous year's activities and our future projects for the year ahead.