Frequently Asked Questions

What evidence is there that a BID would be supported in Shirley?

As well as the business survey, an independent Feasibility Study was commissioned to establish support for the possible introduction of a BID, which overwhelmingly concluded that a BID should be proposed for Shirley.

Feasibility Study

shirley-bid-feasibility-study-report-final-design-format-1

How would a BID help my business?

There are more than 280 BIDs already operating across the UK, with the majority focusing on town or city centres. The activities of the BID would be designed to benefit the entire range of business sectors within central Shirley and could include:

Independent retailers

  • Distinct promotional campaigns to highlight the range and quality of speciality independent businesses, as well as to promote distinct areas, such those beyond Haslucks Green Road and those beyond Union Road
  • The opportunity to participate in a number of new events and projects to raise the profile of your business
  • Discounted costs on a range of business overheads negotiated on your behalf by the BID
  • Access to a range of professional and support services arranged for the town by the BID

National retailers

  • Being part of a local network of major retailers, enabling you to share and gain in-depth trading insights
  • Access to key town centre performance information, such as footfall data, sales performance, car park occupancy and vacant unit trends
  • The ability to collaborate operationally over seasonal trading campaigns, notably Christmas
  • Promotion and marketing of Shirley to a wider and more targeted regional audience

Leisure operators

  • As with the independent retail sector, promotional campaigns to highlight the range and quality of food and drink businesses – both collectively and individually
  • The creation of events and projects to directly involve and promote the range of leisure and cultural opportunities in the town
  • Work towards specific projects to improve the night-time economy experience and to further energise the 5pm-7pm period

Professional & office sector

  • Additional activities aimed specifically at the professional & office businesses within the town centre
  • The ability to promote your services to more than 300 fellow town centre businesses through regular BID communications, such as newsletters
  • Greater co-ordination and interaction with regional bodies, such as the Local Enterprise Partnership and the Combined Authority

How are BIDs funded and set up?

A BID is funded by businesses paying a small proportion (typically of between 1% and 2%) of their business rateable value towards the BID. This money is then ring-fenced for use only in the BID area – unlike Business Rates which are re-distributed by Government. A BID can only be formed following consultation and a ballot in which businesses vote on a Business Plan which they have developed.

How much would it cost my business?

A levy of 1.5% is being considered in Shirley, which means that a small business with a rateable value of £10,000 would invest £150 per year, a medium sized business with a rateable value of £30,000 would invest £450 per year and a large business with a rateable value of £100,000 would invest £1,500 per year.

How much money would be generated?

The survey suggested a BID area which includes approximately 330 businesses. This would generate approximately £160,000 per year, which we would also hope to be supplemented by voluntary contributions from local businesses outside the town centre. BIDs are also often successful in gaining additional funding, because they are attractive to public sector bodies who are encouraged to match-fund money raised by the private sector through the BID.

How does the ballot work?

The ballot is run by the Council on behalf of local businesses or outsourced to an independent third party and is conducted entirely by post. All businesses that would pay the levy have a minimum of 28 days to vote. For a BID to go ahead the ballot must be won on two counts – a straight majority based on the number of votes cast and majority of rateable value. There is no minimum turnout threshold.

Which area would be covered?

The survey suggested that the main town centre, including the immediate Stratford Road corridor between approximately Shakespeare Drive and Green Hill Way should be included. However, the area proposed remains open to consultation.

Would all businesses be liable to pay the BID levy?

In principle, yes, although an exemption level of £7,500 is being considered, which means that small businesses which fall under this threshold would not be liable to pay the levy or be eligible to vote in the ballot. They would however be able to join the BID and therefore benefit from a number of services for a voluntary annual contribution of approximately £100.

Isn’t this just replacing current activities?

No – the BID would be established to carry out projects over and above anything currently happening or planned in Shirley by bodies such as the Council, so would deliver added value and activity in the key areas identified. Furthermore, the BID would be governed by a Board made up of BID levy payers, who would be tasked with ensuring that BID activities deliver additional impact to existing activities.

Why doesn’t the Council provide these services already?

Councils are under increasing pressure to deliver a range of public services and simply do not have the finances to deliver the services which BIDs can. BIDs are designed to deliver additional activity and generally enter into a legal agreement with public-sector bodies, such as Councils to ensure that they continue to provide core services, with the BID delivering projects above and beyond these standards. BIDs are therefore usually the best opportunity to make a real difference to the area and Solihull Council have responded to requests from the business community and are demonstrating their commitment to supporting the economic prosperity of Shirley by commissioning an independent specialist to take the proposals forward.

When could this happen?

The following timetable is being followed:

 

Month Milestone
Ongoing-February 2018 Business liaison and consultation on proposed Business Plan
March 2018 Launch of Business Plan
April 2018 Ballot papers issued
May 2018 Vote closes and result announced
June 2018-August 2018 BID begins operation, subject to a positive vote

How long would a BID last?

The maximum term for any BID is 5 years and we are proposing this timescale in Shirley, which would generate more than £800,000 over the term to be used towards key improvements. If businesses wish, further 5-year terms could subsequently be proposed and taken to ballot.

So how can I give you my views?

We want the views of as many businesses as possible to help shape the proposals and would urge you to contact us.

quick-desktop