Will Bridgend’s businesses “Back the BID” for a second time?

(Title Image: CF31 Ltd/Bridgend Business Improvement District)

At an extraordinary meeting of Bridgend Council’s Cabinet tomorrow, Cabinet members are expected to throw the council’s support behind an extension and modification of Bridgend town centre’s Business Improvement District aka. BID (pdf).

The BID was established in October 2016 through the CF31 company to deliver several targeted improvements to Bridgend town centre. The current term of the BID ends on 30th September 2019 and a ballot has opened to seek the approval of participating businesses to extend the BID until September 2024.

In the supporting document (pdf), CF31 says that in the previous three years, they’ve:

  • Successfully hosted at least 15 town centre events.
  • Secured an extension to business rate relief from the Welsh Government, which CF31 achieved by working with other BIDs.
  • Lobbied in favour of depedestrianisation (which has been unsuccessful to date).
  • Introduced the Bridgend Gift Card and a business directory.
  • Offered free training in first aid, food safety and fire safety in partnership with Bridgend College.

If participating businesses agree to the extension, CF31 promise to:

  • Expand the range of training opportunities and introduce a joint procurement scheme.
  • Introduce an employee loyalty card to offer member businesses discounts.
  • Give BID businesses access to software used to share offender information.
  • Continue to support and promote events in the town centre, including new events.
  • Support parking concessions and the provision of new public toilets in Bridgend Market.

As mentioned, the BID area will be changed:

  • The boundary of the BID (above) has been changed to include more of Angel Street (up to and including the YMCA site) and removes the southern half of Nolton Street (the bit with the one-way system).
  • The rateable value at which a levy (to fund the BID) will be applied will be lowered from £6,000 to £5,000 (meaning more businesses are likely to pay the levy).
  • The levy itself will rise from 1.25% of rateable value to 1.5%.

Each separate property owned by a business ratepayer comes with a vote (BCBC has six votes: two offices, three car parks and the bus station).

Though for the BID to be approved, the majority of business ratepayers (at least 20% of those eligible to vote) have to vote in favour and the total rateable value of the businesses which vote in favour has to exceed that of those who vote against.

As BCBC owns business property within the BID area, they’ll pay just over £13,000 a year in levies should the extension be approved.

The result of the ballot is due to be announced on September 20th 2019.

Update 21/09/2019: The answer is “No”.

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