Our Colchester

Introduction

Our Colchester is a BID to make new history in the town centre. It is a business led partnership that will provide sustainable, consistent investment for Colchester and its businesses, delivering additional not replacement services. Local businesses will be in control of the BID which represents all sectors within its defined area.

In June 2018 businesses voted in favour of Our Colchester BID’s business plan to revitalise and promote Colchester for the next five years after a month-long ballot, in which the BID secured 85% in favour from a 36% turnout and represented 83% rateable value of the votes cast. After launching in October 2018 the BID will now run for 5 years before asking businesses if they want the BID to continue. The BID’s business plan will now rev into gear to tackle all the issues sounded out by local businesses including anti-social behaviour, improved streetscape, marketing and accessibility. The business plan outlines projects this BID will deliver in aim to increase footfall throughout the town centre.


The operations and management of the Our Colchester BID are overseen by a Board of Directors, chaired by Simon Blaxill. The composition of the Board reflects the BID’s membership with Directors drawn from the retail, leisure, office and nighttime sectors.

There is also a BID Manager and operational team who deliver the BID’s activities on a day to day level and who report to the BID Board.

Together, with collaborative working, we can achieve greater things.

IN COLCHESTER

We have launched our new website www.incolchester.co.uk, a new brand for the town centre.

Our Colchester Promise

The BID will enhance Colchester Town Centre as a place where people want to shop, live, work, and relax by promoting a high quality, diverse and welcoming environment which is customer-focused and investment-friendly. Celebrate Colchester’s history and provide a sustainable future.

WHAT IS A BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT (BID)?

A BID is a business-led partnership that enables coordinated investment in the management and marketing of a defined area.  The BID will provide sustainable, consistent investment for Colchester and its businesses. Businesses decide and direct what they want for the area by having a voice on issues affecting the area. A BID charge (known as a levy) is ring-fenced for use only in the BID area – unlike business rates which are paid into, and redistributed, by Government.  It brings additionality of services not replacement services.

Colchester High Street

Photography by Rodger Tamblyn

Local businesses would be in total control of a future BID and it represents all sectors, promoting collaborative working with others to achieve greater things. The benefits of BIDs cited by the businesses they represent are wide-ranging and include:

  • Increased footfall
  • Improved staff retention
  • Collaborative and cohesive marketing strategy for promotion of the town
  • Businesses decide and direct what they want for the BID area
  • BID levy money is ring-fenced for use only in the BID area – unlike business rates which are paid into, and redistributed, by the government
  • Giving the BID area a coherent and united voice
  • Facilitated networking opportunities with neighbouring businesses
  • Dedicated business to business communication, so we all know what’s happening in our area
  • Assistance in dealing with the Council, Police and other public bodies

Our Colchester is the BID for Colchester town centre.

New Business to Consumer Website

The BID has now launched a new consumer-facing website which aims to bring footfall into the town and become the go-to website for town centre information. In Colchester launching in August 2019 and has been growing ever since. We aim to promote all BID businesses on this website and build a positive representation for Colchester town centre.

Our new website is the location to find all information about Colchester and ranges from events, offers, different businesses within the town centre and a range of exciting blogs. A key section of the website is our directory for all our BID businesses which consumers can use to browse the great selection of businesses Colchester has at the click of a button.

Please click here to for more information.

Friend of the BID

Our Colchester BID is now providing a Friend of the BID scheme which allows non-levy payers to become more involved in the BID and help shape the future of Colchester town centre. Any business within the BID zone, below the £14,999 rateable value threshold, can now become a Friend of the BID.

A Friend of the BID will receive ongoing business support from the BID team including Place Management and Place Marketing benefits. You will also be featured on our consumer website’s business directory with full business details. To become part of our Friend of the BID scheme you will be asked to pay a £200 annual fee which will be invoiced once a year. More information will be available on our Friend of the BID leaflet which will be coming soon. Click here to view our Friend of the BID leaflet.

Photography by Rodger Tamblyn

Year 1 Focus Groups

The BID has formed a selection focus groups to deliver key projects from the Business Plan over in its first year. The focus groups discuss ideas and build a delivery plan for each project, in aim to improve the look, feel and presentation of Colchester town centre. Each group is built up from members BID, but welcome professionals from the town centre to join and share their experience. Each focus group is chaired by a Board or Advisory Group member who feels their knowledge and skills would turn ideas into reality.

The Focus Groups for year one are:

  • Cleaning-Looking at additional cleaning projects to the town centre aiming to improve the streetscape of the town centre.
  • BID In Bloom- Launching this Summer, the BID will contribute to delivering a range of flower displays across the town centre. These will include eye-catching colours and beautiful displays.
  • Empty units- Exploring the viable uses for empty units around the town centre alongside looking into ways to improve the visual appearance of shop windows.
  • Marketing- The marketing focus group will develop a strategic plan for year 2 including events and campaigns.
  • Nighttime Economy- The BID will promote events and promotions from the Nighttime Economy working alongside Colchester Pubwatch to explore avenues in improving safety and security within the BID.
  • Independent Businesses- This focus group will deliver a campaign which will help raise awareness and support the smaller businesses around the town centre.

 

Bid FAQs

How long does the BID last?

The maximum period that a Business Improvement District levy can be charged is for 5 years.Once the term is completed the Business Improvement District will automatically cease. If the Business Improvement District Company wants to continue its activities it must hold a new ballot.

How do we pay for all these great business ideas?

The BID will form a levy which goes into pot that will only be used BID area – unlike business rates which are paid into, and redistributed, by Government. It brings additionality of services not replacement services. The levy rate to be paid by each property or hereditament is to be calculated as 1.5% of its rateable value as at the ‘chargeable day’ (notionally 1st October each year). Only businesses with a rateable value of £14,999 or more will be eligible for payment of the levy. The number of properties or hereditaments liable for the levy is circa 491. From 2019 onwards, the levy rate will be increased by the fixed rate of inflation of 2% per annum. The levy will be charged annually in advance for each chargeable period (October to September each year),

How would a BID work in Colchester?

Our Colchester BID will action its business plan to provide sustainable future for the town centre, led by businesses within the BID zone. There will be a controlling body formed which will be made up of different business types in Colchester town centre.

Threshold, Caps & Exemptions

All properties or hereditaments with a rateable value of £14,999 or more will be eligible for payment of the levy. Occupiers within shopping centres that are subject to a service charge will pay 1.2% of their rateable value. Charitable organisations that are subject to relief on their business rates liability will also pay a levy of 1.2%. Both the Sixth Form College and Colchester Institute are exempt from paying the levy. The Licensing Authority currently does not have a policy to introduce a Late Night Levy during the term of the BID. The maximum amount payable for any one hereditament has no cap.

Who are we?

We are a BID steering group primarily formed of members from the Colchester Presents Community Interest Company (CIC). We are however looking for additional members for our steering group across all sectors so if you would like to be involved please do contact us.

We are dedicated to ensuring our town centre prospers into the future, by providing high quality services that businesses want, and by building a vision for our marvellous town centre that customers and businesses alike can embrace.

We do hope you will support Our Colchester BID. We look forward to working with you.

How can I find out more information?

You can find the full BID business plan here or make contact via email at hello@ourcolchester.co.uk, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more updates.

When does the BID start?

Autumn 2018.

Has this BID worked elsewhere?

Yes. There are over 280 BIDs in the UK and this number is growing. Many of these BIDs have been in existence for a number of years. The first BID in the UK was Kingston, Surrey, in 2005. Nearby BIDs to Colchester include Ipswich and Southend. One is currently in the process of being established in Chelmsford.

What does the BID area look like in Colchester?

The BID zone covers most of the town centre and you can see the full parameters of where the area falls in the full business plan here.

Can businesses and organisations who don’t pay a levy also contribute?

Yes, in other BID areas where businesses have been removed from paying the BID levy or if they are outside of the BID boundary, they can opt to become a ‘Friend of the BID’ and make a voluntary or in-kind contribution.

How will the BID board be formed?

The BID board will be formed of representatives from the local businesses and organisations that pay the BID levy. The BID board can feature observers from businesses and organisations who do not pay the BID levy but who have an interest in the BID area or services (e.g. a representative from the police or representatives from smaller independent traders), although they will not have voting rights.

How can I join the BID Board?

There are multiple positions available on the BID Board, including Board Director roles, and roles within both the BID Advisory Group and BID Focus Group. You can find more information about the BID’s strategic aims and the role requirements here.

Our Colchester BID is accepting applications for all BID Board positions until Monday 6th August, with interviews to be held on 20th August.
To apply for any of these roles, please download and fill in our Application Form. Completed forms should be emailed (with a CV included) to hello@ourcolchester.co.uk before the 6th of August deadline.

If you have any queries regarding the application process, please email hello@ourcolchester.co.uk

How long does the BID last?

The maximum period that a Business Improvement District levy can be charged is for 5 years.Once the term is completed the Business Improvement District will automatically cease. If the Business Improvement District Company wants to continue its activities it must hold a new ballot.

When does the BID start?

Autumn 2018.

How do we pay for all these great business ideas?

The BID will form a levy which goes into pot that will only be used BID area – unlike business rates which are paid into, and redistributed, by Government. It brings additionality of services not replacement services. The levy rate to be paid by each property or hereditament is to be calculated as 1.5% of its rateable value as at the ‘chargeable day’ (notionally 1st October each year). Only businesses with a rateable value of £14,999 or more will be eligible for payment of the levy. The number of properties or hereditaments liable for the levy is circa 491. From 2019 onwards, the levy rate will be increased by the fixed rate of inflation of 2% per annum. The levy will be charged annually in advance for each chargeable period (October to September each year),

Has this BID worked elsewhere?

Yes. There are over 280 BIDs in the UK and this number is growing. Many of these BIDs have been in existence for a number of years. The first BID in the UK was Kingston, Surrey, in 2005. Nearby BIDs to Colchester include Ipswich and Southend. One is currently in the process of being established in Chelmsford.

How would a BID work in Colchester?

Our Colchester BID will action its business plan to provide sustainable future for the town centre, led by businesses within the BID zone. There will be a controlling body formed which will be made up of different business types in Colchester town centre.

What does the BID area look like in Colchester?

The BID zone covers most of the town centre and you can see the full parameters of where the area falls in the full business plan here.

Threshold, Caps & Exemptions

All properties or hereditaments with a rateable value of £14,999 or more will be eligible for payment of the levy. Occupiers within shopping centres that are subject to a service charge will pay 1.2% of their rateable value. Charitable organisations that are subject to relief on their business rates liability will also pay a levy of 1.2%. Both the Sixth Form College and Colchester Institute are exempt from paying the levy. The Licensing Authority currently does not have a policy to introduce a Late Night Levy during the term of the BID. The maximum amount payable for any one hereditament has no cap.

Can businesses and organisations who don’t pay a levy also contribute?

Yes, in other BID areas where businesses have been removed from paying the BID levy or if they are outside of the BID boundary, they can opt to become a ‘Friend of the BID’ and make a voluntary or in-kind contribution.

Who are we?

We are a BID steering group primarily formed of members from the Colchester Presents Community Interest Company (CIC). We are however looking for additional members for our steering group across all sectors so if you would like to be involved please do contact us.

We are dedicated to ensuring our town centre prospers into the future, by providing high quality services that businesses want, and by building a vision for our marvellous town centre that customers and businesses alike can embrace.

We do hope you will support Our Colchester BID. We look forward to working with you.

How will the BID board be formed?

The BID board will be formed of representatives from the local businesses and organisations that pay the BID levy. The BID board can feature observers from businesses and organisations who do not pay the BID levy but who have an interest in the BID area or services (e.g. a representative from the police or representatives from smaller independent traders), although they will not have voting rights.

How can I find out more information?

You can find the full BID business plan here or make contact via email at hello@ourcolchester.co.uk, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more updates.

How can I join the BID Board?

There are multiple positions available on the BID Board, including Board Director roles, and roles within both the BID Advisory Group and BID Focus Group. You can find more information about the BID’s strategic aims and the role requirements here.

Our Colchester BID is accepting applications for all BID Board positions until Monday 6th August, with interviews to be held on 20th August.
To apply for any of these roles, please download and fill in our Application Form. Completed forms should be emailed (with a CV included) to hello@ourcolchester.co.uk before the 6th of August deadline.

If you have any queries regarding the application process, please email hello@ourcolchester.co.uk

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If you are a non-BID business in the town centre and want to keep up to date with relevant information from the BID, please follow the link to fill in a short contact form. By completing this form, Our Colchester can contact you in regards to upcoming projects we think you should be aware off or gives you the opportunity to receive newsletters from the BID. 

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