What is a Business Improvement District?
Business Improvement Districts (BIDS) have been supporting business communities across the UK since the regulations were introduced in 2004. A Business Improvement District enables groups of businesses within a specified geographical trading environment to commission projects and services that lead to improvements in the area, funded principally through a local increase in business rates, namely a BID levy.
BIDS are fundamentally a fair and equitable mechanism to deliver additional projects and services that improve trading environments. The funding cannot be used to support or pay for services that are a statutory provision of the public sector, and can only be invested in line with the aims and objectives determined by the business community. Once collected, the funding is ring fenced locally and used to fund, commission and deliver projects or services as agreed by the business community.
Since the approval of the first non-retail BID in the UK here on Winsford Industrial Estate by 89% of voters, the concept has been embraced by companies across the Northwest and UK.
The Winsford 1-5 BID
Back in November 2005, the companies working on the estate voted to make Winsford the UK’s first Business Improvement District (BID) located on an industrial estate. The creation of this BID enabled us to implement a five year investment programme of around £480,000, starting in 2006 and running through to 2011, to dramatically improve the estate and make changes for the better in relation to what the businesses housed there both needed and wanted.
This programme of sustained investment has helped to deliver a range of estate specific business support services, security upgrades, transport improvement programmes and further image enhancement projects throughout the grounds.
The development of the Business Improvement District was a succession strategy to a ten year Green Business Park Project delivered across Winsford Industrial Estate. The Green Business Park and the development work for the BID was made possible due to funding and support from:
- North West Development Agency
- Vale Royal Borough Council (now Cheshire West and Chester Council)
- Cheshire County Council
- Groundwork Cheshire
- The resident businesses of Winsford Industrial Estate
During the five year period of 2006 and 2011, the BID was successfully implemented, with companies reporting vast improvements in the condition of the estate, an increase in their ability to influence local trading conditions, and significant improvements in the levels of security for the companies in residence.
Due to the resounding success of the BID, at the end of the initial five years a successor proposal for a Business Improvement District between 2011 and 2016 was put the vote in 2010 with the resident companies. This was approved by an overwhelming 92% of businesses, allowing the BID to continue on with the delivery of enhancements and improvements to the estate.
To learn more about BID 2, please click here.
The Winsford 1-5 Business Environment Group
The Winsford 1-5 Business Environment Group was established in 1994 by Vale Royal Borough Council (now Chester West and Chester), Groundwork Cheshire and a few key businesses from the estate including Jiffy Packaging, Henkel and Huntleigh Renray. The group was originally set up to deliver environmental improvements in order to enhance the image of the estate, and it has continued to provide this to the present day.
Since 1994 the group has expanded dramatically, and now has every rate paying business on the estate as a member, as well as a range of public sector organisations including Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cheshire Police, Cheshire Fire Service, Environment Agency and many more.
The groups remit has also expanded beyond only delivering environmental improvements, although this is still at the core of much of its activities.
Today, the vision of the group is:
“To maintain and further develop our position as one of the premier industrial estates within Cheshire and the North West, capable of attracting, developing and supporting a broad spectrum of companies through the provision of a safe, clean and connected industrial estate”
The mission for 2011-2016:
“To promote Winsford Industrial Estate as a location for both employers and employees in Mid-Cheshire, by working in partnership to focus on our three themes for improvement:
1. Sustainable, supported and promoted estate
2. Secure and safe trading environment
3. Training, knowledge and skills”
The Winsford 1-5 Business Environment Group meets three to four times a year, and has delegated limited powers of authority for decision making to an Executive Board which oversees the day to day running of the estate.