Royston First is a Business Improvement District (BID) which was a statutory device introduced in 2003 to enable the delivery of local initiatives beneficial to the business community. The BID is funded by a Levy based on rateable value.
A Business Improvement District (BID) is a business-led initiative focused on a defined geographical area, usually in a town or city centre but sometimes in a business park or industrial complex (the Royston First BID covers both town centre and industrial areas). A BID provides businesses with the opportunity to become directly involved in the development and improvement of their local area, working in partnership with the council and other statutory authorities to bring benefits to both their own enterprises as well as the wider community.
Businesses within a BID area are invited to come together to make decisions on how to improve the trading environment around them. A range of projects are agreed and voted upon by all the eligible businesses in a referendum. For this ballot to succeed, over 50% of those that voted had to vote in favour; and the total rateable value of those that voted in support had to exceed the rateable value of those that voted against. The “yes” vote having been achieved, the BID is funded by a mandatory levy, which is based on the rateable value of all the eligible businesses.
The initial “vote” for Royston First was achieved in 2009 by way of a ballot conducted by the electoral authorities in strict accordance with legislation. Royston First commenced its first 5 years of operations on the 6th April 2009. A further mandate was then sought for a further 5-year term – which was confirmed by referendum in early 2014. The current (2nd) BID term runs until April 2019.
Follow the links below for Government information on BIDs:
A BID is one step on from the existing Town Management process because it has guaranteed income over a fixed period to invest in activities purely designed to enhance the business environment. There are no “free-loading” companies picking up the benefits without paying a contribution to the cost. With a BID, everyone pays and everyone gains.
Once voted-in, BIDs operate over five years where a known income can be allocated to short, medium and long-term projects. In Royston we supplement the fixed income by creating other funding streams too, such as public sector grants, earned income and sponsorship of particular initiatives.
Businesses have experienced a broad spectrum of benefits from the Royston First BID:
Simultaneously, the community (including many employees of local businesses) also benefits:
BIDs are the fastest growing partnership framework we have seen for decades in the UK. Quite simply a BID is a geographically defined area where businesses pay into a collective kitty to pay for additional services that they feel will benefit them and the local community.
Each business pays in according to its size (by Rateable Value: RV) and ALL the money collected goes to buying the extras determined by common consent. The process is managed by the businesses themselves and lasts for up to five years. Royston has had a BID since 2009 but its first term is due to finish next year, in March 2014.
Research to date and the overall conclusions From answers received from business levy payers (representing over 3,000 employees):
…. and from Royston users:
The results of our research prompted us to come up with the following prioritised actions we plan to tackle over the next five years:
The Town Centre needs to hold its own in the face of a national decline in retail sales. As we have proved over the last four years, together we are strong and can sustain a collective fight back. With a “yes” vote, we will see more than one million pounds of additional investment brought into Royston.
Our Industrial Estate is in robust health with new businesses choosing it for their regional base alongside international “names”. We must continue to ensure that it is seen as an attractive location to invest in, especially from the security angle. Promoting the area’s successes more extensively will support the wider town and community.
The Police Sergeant
“I have been the Sergeant at Royston for over four years and during that time I have worked closely with Royston First on a number of projects. It has been an excellent partnership which has proved immensely successful in reducing crime and disorder around the town.
In each of these four years the crime rate in Royston and villages has fallen – from over 1,000 crimes to less than 600 forecast for this year and this is in no small part due to our work with Royston First. Initiatives such as the Royston First-funded ANPR system and our extra police patrols (Operation Artemis) have both played a huge part in this reduction.
Royston is very much the better for Royston First’s funding of, and collaboration with, our local police work.”
“I supported the Business Improvement District legislation when it was brought in front of Parliament in 2003 and was subsequently pleased to see it enacted in my home town. Since the 2009 launch, I’ve followed the work of the Royston First BID and have been impressed by the scope of the projects delivered. I am convinced that renewal for a further five year term is an important way forward for our town and I commend the BID to the voting businesses.”
The Business Owner
“Royston First has greatly benefited our business, not least in the increased security and police presence on the industrial estate, both of which have had a noticeable effect. The various parking schemes have made it easier for our employees to park in Royston, and we have increased our use of local suppliers based in the Town Centre as a result. We are looking forward to working together on the Visitor Information Centre.”
Of the 30+ projects either delivered, currently active or pending, we have chosen to highlight the following: