In November 2016 the businesses of St Albans voted in favour of a Business Improvement District, built by local businesses for local businesses and managed by local businesses.

St Albans BID came into effect on 1 April 2017, beginning a five-year term of investment in the City Centre.

What is a BID?

A Business Improvement District is a defined area where business rate payers are required to pay a financial levy. This money is then used to fund projects and services that deliver benefits to the businesses by making the local area more attractive as a shopping, leisure, and tourist destination.

When did BIDs come into existence?

The first BID originated in Toronto in 1970 and today there are over 1,500 BIDs across the globe. BIDs are relatively new in the UK, compared to the US and Canada.
BIDs were introduced in the UK as part of the Local Government Act in 2003 and soon-after came into force, with the first BID established in Kingston, Surrey in 2004.

How many BIDs are there in the UK?

Today there are over 330 BIDs across UK towns and cities with 30 in London alone. Many historical tourist cities such as Bath, York, Cambridge, Canterbury, Winchester, Durham, Chichester,Salisbury, Exeter, Gloucester and Norwich have a BID.

When did St Albans get a BID?

St Albans BID was created after a successful vote in autumn 2016 led by Conservative District Councillor, Beric Read. It launched in the spring of 2017.

The BID development was initiated with a view of creating a sustainable mechanism for representing business interests and providing support and services to them over and above anything provided by the St Albans District Council.

What is the term of the St Albans BID?

The current five-year term finishes at the end of March 2027.

What are the benefits?

A key benefit of a BID is that it is locally focussed and driven. It represents local businesses, giving them a voice on issues in the area and helps to connect them with the council and other public bodies. St Albans BID works with levy payers to create and invest in initiatives that make St Albans a vibrant, safe and an enjoyable destination for those that work, live, and visit here.

Who votes the BID in?

A BID ‘proposer’ submits a proposal and a business plan to the local authority. Once this has been ratified a ballot is put in place.
The only people who can vote are the businesses that would be required to pay the levy if the ballot is successful. Furthermore, a majority must be achieved in terms of overall rateable values.
The BID can then be established and can run for a maximum term of 5 years thereafter a new ballot takes place.

How is it funded?

The BID is funded by levy payments provided by all local businesses within the Business Improvement District.

Businesses within the BID area pay a levy of 1.8% based on their rateable value.

What area does it cover?

The Bid BID covers a defined area within the St Albans City centre. See here for further information. 

Who governs the BID?

St Albans BID operates as a not-for-profit company. As set out in the proposal, the BID is governed by a Board of Directors made up of levy payers representing the area along with members of Council, community leaders and local stakeholders. The Board of Directors meet regularly to ensure best practice and best value in all decisions.

Who runs St Albans BID?

A BID manager leads a team who deliver the projects, services and activities approved by the Board of Directors.

What is the Council’s role?

The Council is responsible for the collection of the BID levy payment.

How is the BIDs work measured?

Monitoring and measuring the performance and effectiveness of the BID activities is an integral and essential part of the plan. The effectiveness of the measures undertaken will be gauged by key performance indicators monitored and relevant for each project area, including footfall, customer surveys, business surveys, photographic evidence, vacant properties and footfall trends. These measures and key performance indicators are identified for each objective and are monitored on a regular basis throughout the life of the BID.

How do I contact the BID with a question?

Please contact St Albans District Council with any queries regarding payments or fees. For all other enquiries or BID services please contact St Albans BID.

Phone number: 01727 251310
Email address:

What is the role of the BID board?

They are responsible for the management of the Company’s business, and delegate those powers to subcommittees, including the Finance, Safety and the Marketing subcommittees. The main governance of the board is to safeguard the interests of the levy payers by ensuring that the business operates in line with the BID plan, is professional and offers consistent value for money in line with its targets.