Winchester BID (Business Improvement District) is a not-for-profit organisation, whose core objective is to improve Winchester as a location in which to do business. Here we answer some frequently asked questions about the BID and how it operates:
- How does the BID fund itself?
The BID is funded by businesses. Each business in the BID area pays an annual levy. This is based on the rateable value of the business, so larger businesses will pay more and smaller businesses pay less. The BID reinvests all monies in to projects and services to enhance the city. The BID also collects additional funds from projects such as the Business Centre; these are also reinvested to improve Winchester as a business location.
- What is the BID area?
The BID area is agreed upon at the start of a BID’s term of operation. Winchester BID’s area covers most of central Winchester. Here is a map.
- What projects do you work on?
We work across four key projects, all aimed to help improve the business economy in the city. These are currently: Thriving Business, Better Promoted, Clean Green & Attractive and Safe & Secure.
Better Promoted. This project aims to promote Winchester as a viable and attractive place in which to do business. We work to a marketing strategy, which includes events such as Winchester Fashion Week, the Winchester Business Excellence Awards and the annual Christmas Light Switch On, as well as promotions and trails throughout the year. We help to market Winchester by producing a shopping guide, a city map, a parking app, a business directory, B2B and B2C newsletters and much more.
Safe and Secure. This project provides BID members access to PubWatch and ShopWatch schemes, provision of three PCSOs in Winchester, access to a secure information sharing website, Best Bar None and more.
Thriving Business. The BID operates an open door policy and we can provide support and advice, as needed. We act as a voice for businesses and lobby matters which are raised (including parking, markets, signage). The BID implements a “business barometer” which measures businesses performance and sentiment, as well as footfall and foot-flow monitoring around the city. The BID’s meeting room is available to hire for free to BID members and there is hot-desking space available to hire for small or start-up businesses.
Clean, Green & Attractive. Winchester BID provides street cleansing, chewing gum removal, graffiti removal, Christmas lights, mini individual Christmas trees, the Christmas tree in the High Street, summer hanging baskets, snow clearing and more.
- How do I know whether I am a BID member?
When a BID starts or renews, a map of the BID area is agreed. Businesses within the designated BID area then have the chance to vote for or against the BID. Once a BID is in operation, every business that falls in to the BID area is automatically a BID member and does not need to do anything else to renew membership.
- Do bigger businesses have more say than the smaller ones?
No, we try and treat all businesses equally and are often asked this question. The nature of requests from businesses varies as the businesses get bigger. Nationals and chains often have a head office and their concerns differ from those individuals who run small businesses and the BID levy comes directly from them, in essence.
- Do you use Winchester companies for advertising/printing etc?
Our first port of call is always to use Winchester suppliers and for the majority of projects we deliver, we do. Getting the best value for money is also very important to us, so on occasion we do use suppliers outside of Winchester. We want to find the balance between making the most out of levy payers’ contributions and supporting Winchester businesses.
- How can I find out more?
Winchester BID’s website contains information on the BID area, financials, our projects and services as well as news and activities happening in Winchester. If you can’t find the information you are looking for, please call the office, email us or even pop in for a chat. We operate an open-door policy and are always available to speak to BID members. If you would like to contact a particular member of staff, their contact details can also be found on the website.
- How does a BID get voted in or out?
A BID term is usually a five year period (although it can be shorter in some circumstances). When a BID is developed, a feasibility period is entered and this is when proposed BID businesses can vote as to whether they would like a BID. At the end of each term the BID will go to ballot and again, existing BID businesses can vote whether they would like their BID to continue, or not.
Winchester BID is at the end of its second term, meaning it has been in operation for ten years already. In October 2017 each Winchester BID business will be sent a postal vote, where they can indicate whether they would like the BID to continue, or not.
- When it comes to the vote, can the big businesses skew the result by voting yes?
The vote works on a “dual lock” system. This means that for the BID to win the ballot and renew, it must win on both the majority of votes and majority of rateable value. This ensures that the ballot system is fair and bigger businesses cannot influence the vote.
- Are BIDs common or is it just a Winchester thing?
BIDs are becoming much more common. We now have around 270 operating in the UK, but BIDs are also prevalent in Canada (where the concept was born) the USA, Australia, Singapore and Europe, where they are sometimes called Business Improvement Zones.