Watford Business
Improvement District (BID) Ltd

About Watford BID

It’s certainly an exciting time to live, work and do business in Watford. The town is changing and the level of investment being made in Watford's town centre and infrastructure is unprecedented. An important part of that investment is being made via the businesses in the town centre through the Business Improvement District.

What is a BID?

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a business-led and business funded company, supported by government legislation and formed to improve the commercial wellbeing of a specified geographic area, the ‘BID area’.

A BID has a maximum term of five years. Organisations within the BID area pay an annual levy to the BID company, based on a percentage of the rateable value of their premises. This money is then spent on delivering the five-year business plan.

There are over 300 BIDs successfully operating across the country. Locally, the number of BIDs in Hertfordshire has risen from two to eight BIDs in the last five years; with Hitchin and Letchworth having already successfully secured a third and second term respectively for their BIDs.

BIDs succeed because they are focused, cost-efficient and entrepreneurial. They do not replace local authority and police services, but they do provide additional, supplementary resources and activities.

BIDs are established through a ballot of businesses within a defined BID area. For the BID to go ahead, two conditions must be met:

  1. Over 50% of businesses that vote must vote in favour
  2. Those voting ‘YES’ must represent more than 50% of the total rateable value of all the votes cast

If both these conditions are fulfilled, payment of the levy becomes mandatory for ALL eligible businesses, regardless of how they voted.

What is Watford BID?

Watford BID Ltd is a business led, not for profit company, voted for by town centre businesses and supported by the public sector. We were established and began trading on 1 April 2016 following a successful ballot in October 2015. Of those of you who voted, 77% of the total number and 73% of the total rateable value said ‘YES’.

Over the last five years, we have been delivering against our ‘BID Business Plan 2016-2021’ and represent approximately 350 businesses and organisations in Watford town centre.

The ballot for Watford BID will take place from 8 January 2021 to 4 February 2021. If the ballot is successful, our second five-year term will begin on 1 April 2021 and will generate close to £3 million of investment over five years. After that time is up, you will have the opportunity to review and decide if Watford BID will continue for a third term.

The BID business plan 2021-2026 and information about the ballot can be found here.