Business improvement district
A Business Improvement District is an area in which a levy is charged on business rate payers in addition to normal business rates to develop projects which will benefit businesses in the area. They are a form of business-led partnership intended to allow the business community and local authorities to work together to improve the local trading environment.
They can be set up by the local authority, a business rate payer or a person or company whose purpose is to develop the Business Improvement District area, or that has an interest in the land in the area.
- The services to be provided. These must be in addition to services provided by local authorities, such as extra safety, security, cleaning or environmental measures.
- The size and scope of the Business Improvement District.
- Who is liable for the levy.
- The amount of levy and how it is calculated (usually between 1% and 4% of rateable value).
- Details of any relief from the Business Improvement District levy that may apply and who is eligible.
Businesses that will be subject to the levy then vote to determine whether the scheme goes ahead, with each business entitled to vote in respect of each property occupied or owned by them.
A Business Improvement District body manages the Business Improvement District, generally a private company or a partnership with the local authority. The local authority manages billing and the collection of the levy.
The maximum period that a Business Improvement District levy can be charged is for 5 years after which a new ballot must be held.
As part of the high streets announcement, the government made a commitment for a review of Business Improvement Districts to see what further powers could be made available to help them shape the future of town centres.
In March 2015, the Department for Communities and Local Government launched a consultation for strengthening the role of Business Improvement Districts including:
- Increasing transparency.
- Closer working between Business Improvement Districts and local authorities.
- Changes to charging arrangements.
- Streamlining neighbourhood planning for Business Improvement Districts.
The consultation closed on 19 June 2015.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Business rates.
- Cities Devolution Bill.
- City deals.
- Enterprise zone.
- Going for growth, Reviewing the Effectiveness of Government Growth Initiatives.
- Growth and Infrastructure Bill.
- High street (planning and policy).
- Local Development Orders.
- Local Enterprise Partnerships.
- Portas review.
 External references
Featured articles and news
Leaps, not steps, are needed to avoid a ticking time bomb, say BRE in response to Farmer Review.
A multi-purpose hall in France covered in a translucent orange membrane.
Winning designs revealed for a rock formation-influenced residential complex in Rennes.
An article explaining the techniques, regulations and environmental impacts of carbon capture and storage.
Watch one of the first documentaries by the acclaimed Adam Curtis, examining the substandard system building of the 1960s.
Take a look at the tech start-up that could transform construction design and communication.
This house in Barcelona uses an innovative new facade tiling system to blend into the landscape.
The origins, evolution and future of Level 3 BIM.
For new and returning Urban Design students, check out our article list divided up into the modules you'll be studying.
Report states that health of urban dwellers could be significantly improved by rethinking transport design.
The Kremlin, the centre of Russian power, includes some of the country's finest architecture.