FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a Business Improvement District?
A BID (Business Improvement District) is a geographically defined area where businesses come together and agree to invest collectively in projects and services which improve their trading environment.
Cheltenham BID represents and supports more than 700 levy paying businesses and promotes Cheltenham as a safe, secure, attractive, clean, welcoming, vibrant, and connected place to spend time.
Cheltenham BID was first established in 2016, and began a new five-year term in August 2021 with the support of levy payers in the ballot in June 2021.
The BID invests millions of pounds, lobbies at a local and national level and acts as the key voice for the town centre and its business community.
Click here to meet our Board Members.
How long will the BID be in operation?
The Cheltenham BID will operate until 31 March 2026. Shortly before the end of the second term, the directors will seek business approval for a new term in a fresh ballot and with a new business plan if they believe a further term would be of benefit.
What does a BID do?
A BID delivers the projects set out in its Business Plan over the term of the BID, for the benefit of the BID levy payers. In Cheltenham, the projects will cover the following areas of activity:
- Business Support
- Marketing and Promotion
- Town Centre Events
- Townscape Enhancements
I didn’t vote – do I still have to pay?
Yes. The reason BIDs are so popular around the country is that the process is democratic and everyone in the BID area who would have to pay the levy has an opportunity to vote in the ballot. Each levy payer makes their own choice whether to vote or not.
I voted No – why do I still have to pay?
As with a general or local election, everyone in the proposed BID area has the chance to vote in the ballot and, after the election, everyone is bound by the way the majority voted. Because the majority voted Yes, everyone pays and the BID will work to make Cheltenham better for all BID businesses, not just the ones who voted yes.
How much will my levy be?
It will be 1.25% of the rateable value of the premises you occupy, unless you are a tenant of a managed centre or a non-retail charity with no trading income, in which case your levy will be 1% of the rateable value. You can check your rateable value from your business rates bill or by searching here.
When will I have to pay my levy?
In the first year, the levy invoices will be sent out in August, soon after the BID’s second term begins. They will be due for payment within 14 days. Your first levy bill be for a period of eight months, from August 2021 to March 2022. In subsequent years, they will reach you at the start of each BID financial year, which run from April to March.
Do I pay for the whole year?
Yes, the BID levy is payable annually in advance within 14 days of receipt of the levy invoice.
What happens if I move out of my premises?
If you move out of your current premises, you will receive a refund of the unused portion of your BID levy.
What happens if I move into premises during the year?
If you move into premises in the BID area which are eligible for the levy, you will be liable to pay the BID levy for the unexpired portion of the financial year.
Cheltenham BID – the background
A ballot of eligible businesses in Cheltenham town centre was held between April 1st and 28th 2016 to determine whether those businesses were in favour of a Business Improvement District being set up in that area. The BID ballot result was positive and Cheltenham BID Ltd was established to deliver the BID’s objectives.
In 2021 Cheltenham BID Ltd sought a second term and requested Cheltenham Borough Council to administer the ballot in accordance with The Business Improvement District Regulations (England) 2004.
A renewal ballot of eligible businesses was conducted utilising the services of Civica Election Services, which is an independent scrutineer licensed by the Government to conduct elections.
The ballot was conducted in accordance with national BIDs legislation and a positive result was declared on July 2 2021 as follows:
Businesses entitled to vote: 795 with an aggregate rateable value of £45,102,199
86% majority by number voted yes.
90% majority by rateable value voted yes.
The BID area covers most of Cheltenham town centre. A map of the area can be seen here.
All relevant information on BID progress will be posted on our website, so log on regularly to stay up-to-date.
If you are the named person representing a levy paying business and would like to see Minutes from a particular board meeting please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01242 571123.
We welcome feedback from our levy payers so if you would like to tell us about how our activities have impacted your businesses, share ideas about future events and activities or have an issue you would like us to look into for you, please get in touch.
Each year levy paying BID businesses are invited to attend our Annual Review Meeting and to participate in our Annual Review Survey, which is sent out between December and January. Our published Annual Reviews and survey results can be found here.