A huge thank you to everyone who attended the meeting on Monday. For anyone who couldn’t make it we have listed below all of the questions that were asked by the audience and a copy of the presentations for download. If you have any further questions please feel free to get in contact and we’ll be happy to answer them.
The Q&A was preceded by two presentations from providers who work with BIDs across the country to show the kind of thing that could be brought to Brecon by BID investment. These aren’t part of the business plan or set it stone they are just to give a general idea of some of the solutions other BIDs have taken – there are many more providers with different solutions and a Brecon BID would decide with local businesses which to implement.
First Presentation: Shopappy
Q.) Do you set up a local hub with click and collect?
A.) Yes, pubs are good for this. They get notified of the order.
Q.) Will Shopappy will available to everyone?
A.) Yes it’s about place, if you are under the threshold you are still part of the picture.
Q.) Will there be a subscription fee?
A.) Depends on the agreement with the BID
Q.) How do events fit into Shopappy?
A.) Anyone can put events on the site.
Q.) Where’s the nearest town that has Shopappy?
A.) Chippenham but we are currently working with 6 towns in Wales who are considering taking up the Shopappy platform.
Second Presentation: Meercat Associates
Q.) Do Meercat deal with local suppliers?
General BID Questions
The “BID levy rules” will be clearly set out in the BID business plan. These will explain clearly, concisely and transparently exactly which businesses will be liable to pay the BID levy, how much they will be expected to pay and who will not be liable to pay the levy and will therefore not be required to vote in the ballot.
The rules will be arrived at following extensive consultations with businesses across the town and will be agreed by the BID steering group, advised by Revive & Thrive.
The following two questions will form part of the BID levy rules:
Q.) Will everyone pay the levy?
Q.) Where is the BID area?
Q.) But businesses are already struggling with Business Rates?
A.) The purpose of BIDs is to support business growth. Viewed as an investment rather than a tax, the BID levy should offer all businesses the opportunity to secure a return on this investment.
Q.) Why is the business park excluded?
A.) Nothing is excluded yet, although this area is likely to be. The needs of businesses on trading estates tend to differ significantly to those in town centre areas. This makes it harder and impractical (although not impossible) to make a BID work across this wider area.
Q.) Will businesses under the threshold be excluded from the benefits?
A.) Smaller businesses which fall under the minimum threshold (which hasn’t been set yet) will inevitably stand to benefit from some of the projects that the BID will deliver. They will be able to secure further benefits by becoming voluntary members of the BID.
Q.) How long is the BID term?
A.) 5 years before renewal
Q.) Does it become compulsory to pay levy even if I vote no?
A.) Yes, if you meet the criteria set out in the BID levy rules
Q.) Heritage attractions – what role can we play in the BID?
A.) As levy payers, you can be involved in the BID in the same way as any other business. As stand-alone attractions, you can use the increased opportunities that a BID will bring to network with and support other businesses in the town. You can use your own marketing channels to promote the offers in Brecon, you can work with the BID to magnify the marketing and promotional opportunities available to the town.
Q.) How closely does the BID work with the council and are they are on board?
A.) Powys County and Brecon Town Councils are supporting the BID. A BID is often described as a “business led partnership” and as such will work alongside public-sector partners to meet its own aims and the wider aims of the town. There will inevitably be differences of opinion and the BID, as one body representing 300 or so businesses, has a key role to play in influencing and negotiating with the public sector to ensure the best deal for businesses in the town is arrived at.
Q.) Is waste collection something the BID can help with?
A.) Yes, if that is something that businesses want to see
Q.) Is it fair to treat the businesses on the business park differently?
A.) As a collective, the needs of businesses in that area, generally speaking, are different to those in the town centre, so yes, it makes sense to treat them differently.
Q.) Would the levy percentage be smaller if business park is included?
A.) It may be. This is for the businesses to decide and for the steering group to approve. However, a larger BID area could also mean greater income for the BID.
Q.) Is the ballot 1 business 1 vote?
A.) The vote is actually based on the commercial property rather than the business and every property that meets the BID levy rules will be allocated one vote, which will go to the person or business listed as the business ratepayer at the time of the vote. If a business owns more than one property, they will therefore get more than one vote.
Q.) Are business park excluded because they would vote no?
A.) If the BID sets out a range of priorities and projects that meet the needs of businesses in the town centre but don’t necessarily meet the needs of businesses on the business park they are more likely to vote no (as will be the case for some businesses in the town centre). Currently, the business park is outside of the BID area because, as a collective, the BID is not likely to benefit them.
Q.) Why should I pay more? My business is at capacity – I don’t want to grow more.
A.) There is no such thing as the perfect business so even if there is no scope or desire for growth, the BID will bring other opportunities such as reduced costs and improved staff morale, skills and retention. Additionally, there is the intangible benefit of a cleaner, greener, nicer town which brings a benefit to everyone who uses it, from business owners and staff to residents and visitors.
Q.) Is 100% of the levy used on the BID?
A.) Yes. The Council will invoice the BID for the cost of collecting the levy (this figure is still to be determined but should not be more than 3% of levy income), but this is an operating cost of running the BID.
Q.) What kind of manager do we need?
A.) The best one available for the budget you have! Being a BID manager is a difficult job with a required skillset ranging from project management and marketing to working with a voluntary board of directors and keeping 300 businesses happy. Revive & Thrive has supported many BID manager recruitments in the past and is able to help Brecon secure the best available candidate, if we are asked to do so.
Q.) Can the BID improve look of the town?
A.) Absolutely. From standardised waste collections reducing the amount of bins on the streets to investment in additional hanging baskets, there are many ways in which the BID might directly support an improved physical environment for Brecon.
Q.) BID funding is additional to council services?
A.) Yes. As part of the development process, a set of “baseline statements” will be provided by the town’s public-sector partners which set out the levels of service already being provided. These will be available for voting businesses to view prior to the ballot and guarantee that the BID only provides new or additional products and services.
Q.) Does the council pay the BID levy?
A.) Yes, in exactly the same way that any other business does.
Q.) Do supermarkets contribute?
A.) Yes, provided they meet the criteria set out in the BID levy rules.
Q.) Are the military included?
A.) Yes, provided they meet the criteria set out in the BID levy rules.
Q.) Will the consultancy still be getting paid once the BID is established?
A.) Revive & Thrive is under contract to Powys County Council to work with businesses and the steering group in Brecon to bring the BID to ballot and, if the result is positive, to set the BID up. The project is funded by the Welsh Government, with match-funding being provided by the BBNPA.
Revive & Thrive is a membership organisation and offers benefits and incentives to BIDs and other places across the country to remain affiliated with it as a long-term partnership. If Brecon BID decides to take advantage of the benefits of being a member of Revive & Thrive, that will be the decision of the BID Board.