The GRTA is exploring becoming a Business Improvement District (BID) - a partnership created, controlled and managed by and for local businesses.

BIDs usually have 3 primary roles:

1. more footfall - making the local area more attractive for shopping and related activities and thus for running a business - projects such as Christmas lights, events (eg markets and fayres), marketing, promotion, cleaning, greening etc

2. saving money - collective purchasing by the businesses of utilities etc means independent businesses should save more than they spend

3. a strong voice - with the council and other public agencies to ensure the GR is looked upon more as a destination than a travel corridor


Why does GR need a BID? High streets are under massive pressure from the internet, supermarkets, out-of-town retailing, the economy and questionable transport policies. Even though the GR is strong now it may not be tomorrow. A BID will enable local businesses to work together to improve the trading environment and public space in a proactive and planned way to fight back against these pressures.

What area will the BID cover? The Gloucester Road (obviously!) plus the current plan envisages involving the immediate adjacent relevant streets such as Zetland, part of Cheltenham, Ashley Down Road, Overton etc. Bristol has several BIDs already in Broadmead, Clifton and Bedminster.

Who controls the BID? The BID is controlled in two ways:
1. The BID Proposal and Business Plan - this has to be agreed in advance of a vote (see below) based on consultation with businesses. This creates a broad framework within which the BID must operate. 
2. The BID Company - ie a limited company is established in which local businesses are the members who each have a vote to annually elect a board drawn from amongst themselves
A fundamental of BIDs is that the local businesses very much stay in control of the money raised.

Who pays for a BID? Businesses in a BID area pay for the BID which is collected via a BID levy of 1-2% of rateable value.

How much will it cost me? A well run BID should save most businesses more than they spend by organising collective purchasing deals for utilities, waste etc. Clearly the power of several hundred businesses negotiating as a 'block' creates economies of scale that generate significant savings. These savings have been shown to outweigh the BID 'levy' which is expected to be 1-2% of rateable value - ie £250-300 pa - which is charged to businesses in the BID area.

The Vote. All of this is subject to a BID vote by all the businesses that will pay the BID levy if the BID goes ahead. The vote is carried out strictly independently through the council by a postal ballot - businesses are asked to vote a simple YES or NO - are they in favour of the BID. If more than 50%+ vote YES (by number of businesses and by total rateable value) then the BID goes ahead for five years.

Does everyone pay? If there is a YES vote then all businesses have to pay regardless of whether they voted no or didn't vote at all. The legislation is designed this way to ensure that as all will benefit...all should pay. The BID can elect to make exceptions such as excluding the smallest businesses (as with some it will cost more to collect their levy than they are actually charged) - this is subject to further consultation.


BID Feasibility Study - this will be completed in September and includes the initial consultation and setting out the potential of a BID for the Gloucester Road. If the report is met positively by the GRTA it will aim to put a BID in place next year with a vote either in the spring or the autumn. 

This will require further consultation through the autumn leading to the creation of a BID Proposal and BID Business Plan - for examples/context see BathBID or Barnstaple BID or search the web for numerous others (there are c150 in the UK currently).

More information

Video - a useful introduction