What is a BID and how does it work?

The BID in numbers

COVID-19: The impact on Watford

Theme 1 – Enhancing the look & feel of the town

Theme 2 – Promotion, marketing and events

Theme 3 – Working together to secure the future of the town

2016-2021: What has Watford BID achieved so far?

Over the past five years, we have delivered a range of projects under the three themes of the BID Business Plan 2016-2021. Here is a brief summary of the projects delivered across the town.


Theme 1 – Enhancing the look and feel of the town


Helped catch shoplifters

In 2017 we took over the management of the ‘Watford Business Against Crime’ crime reduction scheme, through which retailers share information with each other and the police via radios to help reduce shoplifting. Since 2017 the number of participating retailers has increased from 41 to 63 and it is a wellused scheme, with high crime detection rates for members.


Funded CCTV cameras & improved access points

We contributed to the running, maintenance and development of the town centre CCTV system and improvements to lighting, paving and welcome signage at car park entry points.


Acted on rough sleepers and street drinkers

In 2017/18 rough sleepers and street drinkers became a noticeable problem in the town. We worked with the Police and the Safer Watford Crime Partnership and produced a leaflet advising businesses on what to do. This multi-agency approach has reduced some of the issues and we continue to work together on, what is an ongoing national issue.


Filled the town centre with flowers

Every summer, we installed beautiful, colourful floral displays throughout the town centre, rising from 116 displays in year one to 215 by year five, drawing praise from all that saw them. From 2018 we added winter flower displays. We also offered excellent value, spectacular hanging baskets to levy payers – both summer and winter variations, with our 2-4-1 offer.


Lit up the town centre at Christmas time

We took over festive lights from Watford Borough Council, combining their investment with the BID income meant there was a Christmas light on every (suitable) lamp column in the whole town centre for the first time ever.


For 2019 and 2020, we decided to move away from standard Christmas lighting and invested significantly in spectacular light installations to attract visitors into the town from across the region. These included massive, illuminated baubles, the word ‘WATFORD’ spelled out in giant glowing letters, laser displays, teardrop lights in 32 trees and a giant LED Christmas tree.



Celebrated excellent customer service

We ran our annual Service Excellence Awards, which became one of the most prominent events in the town’s calendar, recognising the commitment of businesses to excellent customer service. Over the years the judging became more comprehensive, including customer votes, secret shoppers and exit surveys, culminating in a black-tie awards ceremony attended by over 350 guests from local businesses and sponsors.


Added colour to the townscape

We brightened up the town centre with 72 colourful lamppost banners that featured local landmarks and icons, including Vicarage Road, Anthony Joshua and Cassiobury Park. 13 designs were produced in total by two young Herts designers. From 2019, we also installed Christmas themed banners to complement and promote our Winter in Watford campaign.


“Please pass on huge thanks for whoever is responsible for the Town Centre floral stacks. They are superb and such a lift for the High Street customers and traders when shops are having a tough trading time.”

Janet (Watford resident)


“On behalf of WFRA Committee I would like to thank Watford BID for the stunning floral displays throughout the town centre. They look stunning and make such a difference to the town centre. We very much appreciate the efforts that have been made to create such beautiful displays.”

Glenys Isaacs, Vice Chair, Waterfields Resident Association (2017)


Retained the Purple Flag

We worked with stakeholders to retain the town centre’s Purple Flag Award which recognises good management of the night time economy, the wide offer, and the way partners work together to ensure the safety of people visiting.


Offered free training courses

In 2016, we teamed up with Watford Borough Council and local skills providers to help you access over 250 training courses that were free for your employees to attend, via European funding.


Helped wayfinding by installing and distributing town centre maps

As the town went through some major developments, we helped visitors find their way around by dressing development hoardings & empty shop windows with large town centre maps and information wraps. Foldaway maps were also distributed via regional tourist information points.