Linlithgow Town Centre BID
Download the Premises Improvement Grant application form here.
Linlithgow Town Centre BID is a ‘Business Improvement District’: a business-led initiative dedicated to improving the town centre for its traders, established in September 2014. It is funded by the businesses themselves, supplemented by significant financial support from West Lothian Council, and is administered by a group of town-centre businesses, who comprise the BID Board.
Linlithgow has one of the most diverse high streets and richest bodies of historical attractions of any town in Scotland and it is a central objective of Linlithgow Town Centre BID to ensure that this translates to a thriving town centre.
The BID’s primary aim is to generate business within Linlithgow’s historic town centre. While this is achieved by, for example, hosting events and making physical improvements to commercial property, it is also crucial to make Linlithgow’s town centre an attractive place to live and visit, as well as to trade.
How we will achieve this:
- Increase footfall through consistent promotion and marketing, both online and in traditional media.
- Host professionally organised events.
- Lobby to ensure that access, planning and building concerns take due note of businesses.
- Improve signage to encourage trade.
- Offset the cost of levy payments through cost-saving initiatives (gas, water, electricity, telecommunications, merchant services).
- Give businesses a powerful, unified voice and strengthen partnerships between the public, private and third sectors.
- Support community groups, whose aims align with the businesses we represent.
- Leverage external funding to supplement projects.
- Widen economic opportunities for businesses in the town centre
How do BIDs work?
While Scottish BIDs have evolved significantly in the decade since the enactment of legislation in 2006, a BID is generally a geographically defined area, where businesses come together and agree to invest collectively in projects and services that the businesses believe will improve their trading environment.
BID projects are new and additional projects and services; they do not replace services that are already provided by West Lothian Council and other public bodies.
There are different types of BID for different situations and goals. Town centre BIDs are generally started by a small group of local businesses, who hear of the success of BIDs in other areas, then approach BIDS (Business Improvement Districts Scotland) to assess viability, then apply for development funding from the Scottish Government. A BID area is then defined, and all businesses in the area are consulted to gauge interest and decide which projects should be delivered. Once these projects have been cost-assessed, a Business Plan is distributed to all eligible properties. Soon after, a ballot is held. Businesses must vote in favour of the BID before it can be established. After success at ballot, the BID is managed by a Board of Directors comprising of BID-area business owners and paid for by means of a compulsory levy.
Although all projects described in the Business Plan can be delivered with this budget alone, the BID Board will leverage external funding, greatly increasing effectiveness and making each pound work much harder than if each business invested separately.
A brief history of BIDs
The first BID began in Bloor West Village, Toronto in 1970. In the preceding years, new shopping centres had been developed on the outskirts of the town, and businesses in the town centre were finding it increasingly difficult to compete with them.
Many businesses were forced to close down, and the town began to lose its appeal to businesses and customers alike. It was then that a group of business owners lobbied to have new legislation passed, whereby each business would vote on the issue of contributing to a community fund to revitalise the town. The vote succeeded, and the regeneration of the town began. Physical improvements to the area were actioned, and businesses were promoted effectively. Shoppers returned to the town centre in their droves.
Since then, over 1700 BIDs have enjoyed success across the globe. There are over 200 operational BIDs across the UK, 34 of which are in Scotland.
Today, a wealth of organisations exist, which work in tandem with BIDs and provide external funding. BIDs can significantly increase their initial budget by leveraging external funding. The effectiveness of the BIDs can be demonstrated by their 100% renewal rate throughout Scotland. Once a BID gets the chance to demonstrate its effectiveness over the course of its first term, it’s clear to see that everybody feels the benefits.
A BID provides better promotion, a cleaner and safer trading environment, a unified voice and a host of solutions to other unique problems faced by the area each BID represents, using a sustainable and highly effective model.