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
Read about RSHP's British Museum extension which has been shortlisted for the 2017 Stirling Prize.
Read our introductory article to building a house extension.
More updates from DCMS about the large-scale testing of cladding systems and the number of buildings affected.
UandI secure resolution to grant planning consent for major new regeneration project.
IHBC article considers how heritage is dealt with when infrastructure schemes are authorised.
It was the tallest structure in the world for 3,800 years, but to this day the exact construction techniques are a mystery.
Shortlist for the industry's most coveted award announced.
Government responds to Mark Farmer's review of industry, rejecting the call for a levy on clients.
Peter Hansford to examine what wider lessons can be learned from the fire.
Every project is subject to uncertainty. How can construction better understand uncertainty for performance improvement?
MAD Architects reveal their designs for a futuristic campus for electric car manufacturer.
Homebuyers could borrow more with better forecasting of energy bills, according to industry consortium's new report.
Read our introductory article on carbon capture and storage.