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.
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:
Professional & office sector
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The following timetable is being followed:
|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|
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.
We want the views of as many businesses as possible to help shape the proposals and would urge you to contact us.