The Fitzrovia Partnership has abandoned plans for a cross-boundary business improvement district (BID) but will instead seek to renew its five-year mandate and expand its estate in the Camden part of Fitzrovia this summer.
The business group did explore the feasibility of a cross-boundary BID with neighbouring Westminster Council as part of its renewal strategy but has instead decided to offer voluntary membership to Westminster-based organisations.
In June The Fitzrovia Partnership will hold a ballot on a five-year plan in an expanded Camden part of the neighbourhood, and with a smaller BID levy and a higher levy threshold due to the increase in business rates that local businesses are now having to pay.
The new BID will include the stretch of Tottenham Court Road south of Bayley Street which was previously part of the Midtown BID.
The Fitzrovia BID was established in 2012 and the current BID levy is one percent of rateable value on all businesses with a rateable value above £100,000. But in the new business plan the levy will fall to 0.9 percent and the threshold will rise to £160,000 which will have the effect of maintaining roughly the same membership numbers and total levy.
All qualifying businesses — about 200 — within the proposed business area will be sent ballot papers from 20 June and will have until 5pm on 20 July to cast their vote. The ballot will be carried out by Camden Council and the result will be announced on 21 July. If successful the new five-year term will begin in August.
The success or failure of the ballot will be determined by the ability of The Fitzrovia Partnership to persuade its existing and potential new members that it provides value for money for the services it supplies.
BID rules mean that it doesn’t need a majority of qualifying businesses to vote in favour to succeed. Instead it only needs to cajole a majority of those who actually bother to vote and a majority in proportion of Rateable Value of those voting.
The BID levy can only come into effect if these two tests are met. There is no minimum turnout threshold. The BID levy is then charged to all qualifying businesses, regardless of how they voted or whether they voted or not. Complacency can play a big part in a BID’s success.
Camden Council decision: Fitzrovia Partnership Business Improvement District Renewal.
The Fitzrovia Partnership: BID Renewal.