Frequently Asked Questions

Please find answers to our most commonly asked questions.  If you can’t find the answer you are looking for here, or would like to discus any issue in more depth, please feel free to get in touch with us directly

What is a BID?

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a designated zone in which businesses benefit from a wide range of additional services over and above those funded through the standard commercial rates and council services.

Constituted by UK law in 2004, a BID is a powerful, independent voice representing the interests of a varied community of organisations, committed to working together to ensure that the area continues to progress whilst providing the best possible trading and working environment for its occupiers.

These extra benefits are aimed at vastly improving the quality of the area for the businesses, visitors and employees within it as well as improving attractiveness to new investors. This can include physical projects such as better lighting and street cleaning as well as crime reduction programmes, events, additional marketing, networking and inward investment initiatives.

Every five years businesses in the designated area vote for the continuation of the BID and if they vote yes, any occupiers within the BID become members for the duration of the next 5 year term. Members within the area pay a levy based on a small percentage of their rates to contribute towards these benefits and improvements.

 

What are the objectives of the BID?

Drive footfall and attract new visitors by enhancing the events programme and providing more co-ordinated marketing

Improving the appearance of our town through a series of projects from planting to street cleansing and more

Making our town safer for visitors and businesses

Attracting more investment to the town

Give direct support to the business community to help them prosper

Represent the needs and views of the Business community to the local authority and other statutory agencies and organisations

Who runs the BID?

The BID is an independent, business led company run by an operational team who are employed by a board of directors chosen democratically to represent the local business community.  The board of directors is democratically elected from nominated members of the local business community at the BID’s Annual General Meeting.  Levy payers much register themselves to be eligible to vote or nominate.

 

 

The BID zone covers a wide geographical area at the heart of Southport including the main retail streets and the central tourist attractions. Taking in the whole of the Marine Park area it stretches from the Municipal Golf Links to the North to Victoria Park in the south and inland covering the Promenade, Lord Street, Chapel Street and to the end of Eastbank Street. It also covers Ocean Plaza and Central 12 retail, hospitality and entertainment schemes.

 

What has the BID been responsible for?

In its first two years the BID has been responsible for a number of projects.

These have included 10,000sqm of high pressure street cleansing, half a million new lights on Lord Street, floral and planting schemes throughout the town centre. The BID has installed the town’s Christmas lights and is extending the scheme each year.

The BID has added two new events to the Southport calendar with Spookport Halloween Festival and the Christmas Lights Switch On, both seeing crowds of around 15,000 in the town centre.   We also support Southport Festival and the comedy festival.

We administer the Southport Business Against Crime network and work extremely closely with Merseyside Police to reduce crime against businesses and to make the town centre safer for visitors.

For more information on the work we do please see our News feedFacebook or download our Annual Report here

How will we know if the BID is successful?

We will

  • actively monitor footfall levels, business performance, new investment, crime statsitics, unit occupation percentage
  • carry out regular visitor perception surveys
  • actively consult with BID members and stakeholders to assess the performance and efficancy of programmes

When should the BID levy be paid?

The BID levy is charged annually for a term starting on the 1st November. BID Levy Bills are issued automatically before this date and collected on our behalf by Sefton Council rates department.  

Normal procedures will apply and steps taken to recover debt.  The BID will discuss any payment issues with businesses and do all it can to ensure people struggling to pay are supported and all formal action is avoided.

If you cannot afford to pay your levy, you have closed your business, wish to discus payments or queries on payments, please contact the Non Domestic rates team on 0151 934 4360 during the following times: Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm to discuss an arrangement to pay. It is important you do not ignore the notices you have been sent as you may incur further costs.  

For questions regarding the BID and the work it does please call the team on 01704 538382

Can I opt out of paying?

Unfortunately not.  After receiving the yes vote in 2014, businesses in the BID area who meet the criteria are automatically members until the re-ballot in 2019.  If you would like to discuss this further please email or call the BID office at anytime and we will be happy to explain in more depth.

Normal procedures to unpaid bills and reminders, followed by formal steps taken to recover debt.  The BID will discuss any payment issues with businesses and do all it can to ensure people struggling to pay are supported and all formal action is avoided.

If you cannot afford to pay your levy, you have closed your business, wish to discus payments or queries on payments, please contact the Non Domestic rates team on 0151 934 4360 during the following times: Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm to discuss an arrangement to pay. It is important you do not ignore the notices you have been sent as you may incur further costs.

For questions regarding the BID and the work it does please call the team on 01704 538382

How do I become a voluntary member?

Voluntary membership of Southport BID Limited is open to all businesses or organisations that pay nondomestic (business) rates in respect of premises within the BID Area but are not listed as retail, accommodation, hospitality or attraction. Voluntary members within the BID area will on application be admitted as a voting member.

Businesses or organisations wishing to become members of BID Limited are invited to make an application for membership by completing this form including giving the name and details of a contact individual. This person will be able to attend general meetings of the company, and, if you are a voting member, this person is authorised to vote on behalf of your business or organisation in accordance with the Articles of Association

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