14 January 2021


Report of the Interim Director of Place

Portfolio of the Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning



The York Business Improvement District renewal ballot




1.        This report sets out proposals for a second term for the York Business Improvement District (BID), outlines the renewal prospectus and voting process and seeks Executive support to allow a renewal ballot for the York Business Improvement District to take place between 28th January and 25th February 2021.




2.        The Executive is asked to:


a)          Support the BID in their campaign to secure a second term in York through a City-wide ballot of businesses

b)          Request that the Leader of the Council casts the Council’s ballot votes in support of a further term.


Reason: To allow the work of the BID and its partners to continue to boost the City Centre economy, and to ease difficult trading conditions for retailers, particularly in a post-pandemic recovery environment.


c)           Note the content of the BID Business Plan and the Council’s Baseline Service Level Agreements

d)           Note the role of the York BID, Make It York and other key City partners in supporting the City Centre economy.


Reason: To be clear on the role of all partners, as well as the commitments of the Council, in maintaining statutory services




3.        A BID is a business-led partnership that enables coordinated investment in the management and marketing of a commercial area, and is a defined geographical area. (see Annex 1) Governed by legislation to ensure fairness and transparency, a BID is created for a five year period following a successful ballot of local businesses.


4.        During the term of the BID, all businesses defined within the BID Business Plan geography will be required to pay the mandatory levy, irrespective of whether they cast a vote in the ballot or not.


5.        There are now over 300 BIDs across the UK[1]. The first York BID was voted in by City Centre levy payers in November 2015, and began operation in April 2016.


6.        The BID has proved popular with the majority of levy payers, testimonials for which are included in the refreshed Business Plan, and has played a significant part in supporting York businesses and promoting York City Centre. This has been of particular value and importance since March 2020 when the devastating impact of COVID 19 upon the City became clear.


7.        Schedule 1, Regulation 4, Section 2a of The Business Improvement Districts Regulations (Local Government, England)[2] states that a BID organisation may only be in situ for a five year term before it must be re-elected by the levy payers via a ballot renewal. As the York BID’s first term draws to an end, it is now campaigning to win support from levy payers for a second term.


8.        The Council is a major levy payer, contributing around £25,000 per annum to the BID for 15 hereditaments (property or building), and has also part-funded several key projects for the benefit of York businesses during its first five year term, with contributions in excess of £800,000. The table below sets out the major schemes that the Council has helped to support in the City.







Year 1 Rangers & Greeters



York BID

Contribution towards launching Street Rangers and City Greeters scheme

Parliament Street Works


2019 - 2020


Removal of redundant fountain & toilet block on Parliament Street

Taxi Marshalls Scheme


2018 - Present

York BID

Annual taxi marshal scheme for Duncombe Place taxi rank

College Green Shared Space



York BID

Shared public space on College Green (managed for 10 week period)

Community Clean-Up Grant


2019 - 2020

York BID

Grant for additional cleaning projects in the community

Place Dashboard



York BID

Software licence for city performance data

Car Parking


2020 - Present


Refurbishment and upgrade of technology in Piccadilly and Marygate Car Park

Wayfinding & Signage


2018 - Present

York BID

New city centre wayfinding scheme

Movement Insights



York BID

Software licence for city performance data

N.B. - Please note that CYC led/are leading on the Parliament Street works and Car Parking projects. The figures shown for Wayfinding and Car Parking are not necessarily the exact cost to the Council but the maximum budget which has been allocated.


9.         As well as providing essential baseline services - see Annex 2 - the Council collects the BID levy on behalf of the BID, and has a vote in the ballot renewal process itself.


10.    City of York Council is represented on the BID Board by the Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning and the Deputy Leader with Portfolio for Transport. Specialist officers are frequently invited to these monthly meetings.


Baseline Agreements


11.    The programme of services included in the BID prospectus is in addition to the significant service provision already undertaken by the Council, complementing work already ongoing.


12.    The Baseline Agreements are developed with City of York Council, and include the minimum services provided by the authority, as well as details of employees and equipment required. These services are a combination of statutory and discretionary, and reflect the current financial position in 2020/21.


13.    These baseline agreements are subject to change with each budget cycle. This is especially important to note in 2021/2022 as the Council mitigates the financial impact of COVID 19 on its own budgets.


14.    The Council baseline agreements pertinent to the BID services, provided in Annex 2, are:


·               Street Cleaning

·               Streetlighting

·               Highways Maintenance

·               Parking Services


BID ballot date and preparation


15.    The renewal campaign for the York BID’s second term, as with many other BIDs across the country, has been subject to delay because of the COVID 19 pandemic. Consequently the original ballot timescale of November 2020 slipped to January 2021. This was a decision made by the BID Board, with advice from specialist consultants, The BID Business.


16.    The new January 2021 ballot date allows for businesses to concentrate on the peak Christmas and New Year periods. It also means that first term of the BID does not over-extend into any timescales that might invite, or allow, potential legal challenge to the BID operation due to contravention of national BID regulations.


Impact of the York BID


17.    During their five years of operation, the York BID has delivered a series of high impact, highly visible events, programmes and initiatives that have helped to support traders during a prolonged and especially difficult period for local high streets across the country.


18.    They have also had major role in helping to restore confidence in the high street following the debilitating effects of the COVID 19 pandemic, and in supporting local businesses badly affected by the consequent loss of custom.


19.    Funding for the five year period from levy collection monies is predicted to meet its target of £3,990,000 total levy funds collected (as budgeted in the initial Business Plan).


20.    This funding has allowed projects and initiatives to go forward from the four programme areas of focus in the first BID Business Plan, encompassing:


·               Safe and Secure

·               Events and Festivals

·               Business Support

·               Appearance and Environment


21.    Achievements and initiatives to boost the City economy, promote local business and build upon footfall numbers include:


·               The award winning York BID Street Ranger service has helped to reduce anti-social behaviour and tackle low level crime in the City Centre

·               Producing an award winning Christmas display of lights, with over 160,000 LED bulbs spanning 15kms

·               Organising a business support campaign of festive displays, events and lighting to draw people back to the City Centre under the banner of ‘Make a world of difference – Shop local this Christmas’

·               Partnering with the Council, and in accordance with the wishes of levy payers, the BID have worked to produce two pay on exit car park schemes at Piccadilly and Marygate

·               Operating a seven day a week Street Cleaning Service to complement that already set out in the Council’s baseline agreement

·               Identifying £156,000 of savings on utilities and bills for businesses

·               Launching a Taxi Marshall Scheme from Duncombe Place to reduce ASB and bolster safety for the night time economy

·               Sponsoring or supporting events designed to increase footfall and promote the City Centre: the Micklegate Run Soapbox Challenge, York Ice Trail, Bloom!, Yorkshire Day, York Business Week, York Food and Drink Festival, and the Fossgate Festival

·               Staging three successful York Restaurant Week events, valued at around £250k to the local economy

·               With the Council, in consultation with York Civic Trust, part-funding a new contemporary City-wide wayfinding scheme with redesigned signposts and information boards

·               Investing in vinyl wrapping for vacant retail units to enhance the City Centre aesthetic

·               Commissioning and supporting street art, and over 100 floral displays over the course of a year

·               Launching a York Gift Card scheme, tailored to York shops only, that can now be used in over 300 outlets

·               Training over 100 employees from local business in First Aid


Actions in response to COVID


22.    To encourage shoppers back into York and to stimulate expenditure in the City Centre, the BID have partnered with CYC to deliver measures to build confidence and trust.


23.    Actions have included:


·               Providing and maintaining 17 hand sanitiser stations at various point across the City Centre

·               Organising and part funding with CYC a pop up space for 10 weeks on College Green for people to consume food and drink from small businesses with otherwise limited space to accommodate customers, thereby allowing them to trade as effectively as possible

·               Street Ranger checks – 200 businesses signed up to this service, where the Street Rangers check on locked business to flag issues of concern, such as unexpected activity in an empty property

·               Volunteer City Hosts to offer a welcome to York, answer questions and build consumer confidence

·               Assistance offered to local businesses applying to the Council for road closures, footstreet enhancements and pavement café licences

·               Signposting businesses to relevant guidance on COVID-safety and business support grants


24.    The BID and the Council have worked to develop improved data about the use of the city centre, commissioning Movement Insights Ltd to provide greater level of movement and spend data to complement the Council’s existing footfall counter provision, and to gain a more detailed understanding of how the City Centre is used, and by whom. This supports evidence-based interventions using gap analysis and robust figures, rather than anecdotal information. Whilst this commission was instigated before COVID, it will be a useful tool in monitoring the recovery of the high street over the coming months.


Changes made to the BID parameters


25.    Campaigning for a second BID term has allowed an opportunity to review the various BID parameters from year one, and as a result a key alteration has been made.


26.    Firstly, the levy payment threshold has increased. The current system means that any business in a hereditament with a rateable value of £12,500 or more must pay a levy contribution. The BID Board agreed to raise the threshold to a rateable value of £17,500, thereby reducing the need to collect very small contributions, usually around £125 per annum.


27.    The effect of this decision has been to reduce the number of hereditaments by 213 to 912, however the level of levy funding to be collected annually will remain more or less the same. This will also simplify the management of the original cohort of 1,125 levy payers and streamline communication on key issues.


28.    The BID geography remains unchanged from the first term.



Revised BID Business Plan


29.    The BID team has produced a refreshed Business Plan ahead of the renewal ballot, building upon the achievements of the last five years and concentrating on the priorities of levy payers after a consultation period with them.


30.    A copy of the BID’s Business Plan can be found in Annex 3 of this report.


31.    The proposed core themes for a second BID term are:


·               Encourage an accessible City Centre

·               Encourage the experience economy

·               Promote green and sustainable initiatives

·               Be instrumental in shaping a City Centre master plan in the context of ‘evolving high streets’

·               Promote greater integration between digital and physical infrastructure


32.    Many of these topics align closely with the Council’s own priorities as set out in the Council Plan, as well as some of the more strategic aspirations of colleagues such as York and North Yorkshire LEP, including working towards achieving zero carbon status as a region.




33.    The BID team have sought advice and guidance from BID Industry bodies, including The BID Foundation and the Association of Town Centre Managers.


34.    The BID Team is responsible for building and maintaining robust working relationships with all potential BID members and is required to engage businesses in every aspect of the process.


35.    City Centre businesses and local partners have been consulted during the development phase of the refreshed BID Business Plan, and will also be made aware of the ballot plans through a concerted renewal campaign.


36.    The Baseline Agreements have been written with the input of relevant managers from the Council.




37.    Given the detail above, the options for the Executive are:


a)       Vote to Support the BID as part of the ballot renewal process

b)       Vote to withdraw support for the BID




38.    If option a) is supported, the BID will continue its work in support of the economy of the City Centre and local businesses, as well as the ensuring the delivery of the contents of their Business Plan.


39.    If option b) is supported, the BID will cease to function as an organisation, ending any further work in York.


Reason: Based upon the analysis above, option a) is the recommended option, supporting the BID into a second five year term.


Council Plan


40.    The applicable Council Plan 2019-2023 core outcomes are:


·               Well paid jobs and an inclusive economy – vacant shop premises

·               A greener and cleaner city – including improving green spaces, street cleansing and recycling

·               Getting around sustainably – cycling, walking in the City Centre

·               Safe communities and culture for all – includes footfall and anti-social behaviour


41.    The ethos of the BID and its work supports the programme summary of the administration’s progressive partnership, as well as planned work such as the City Centre Strategy, inclusive growth projects, delivery of the refreshed Economic Strategy and strengthening the Council’s commitment to supporting high streets and our communities.






42.    The Council is a key contributor, paying around £25k in levy payments as West Offices sits within the BID levy geography.


Human Resources (HR)


43.    Not applicable.




44.    All equality implications will be managed through the BID process.




45.    Our legal protections are set out within a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) drawn up by agreement between the Council’s Legal Team and the BID. This MOU is necessary to cover the relationship between the Council and the BID Company.


46.    The baseline agreements and Operating Agreement appear in these schedules.


Crime and Disorder 


47.    The BID is a key strategic partner working to implement counter-terrorism and anti-social behaviour measures in the City Centre


48.    One the BID Programme strands covers ‘Safe and Secure’. Initiatives to date include the introduction of the Street Rangers, part-funding York BID Taxi Marshals in Duncombe Place, increasing the number of secure cycle parks in the City Centre by 10% and setting up the Anti-Social Loitering Scheme to deter ASB that occurs in the doorways of business premises.


49.    Additionally, key themes for the BID from the perspective of retailers is to tackle the culture of afternoon drinking, the large number of stag and hen parties, and the sensitive matter of street kitchens in the City Centre. Multi-agency discussions are continuing in order to find a workable solution to these issues. 




Information Technology (IT)


50.    Not applicable at present.




51.    The BID have worked closely with landlords of empty retail units in the City Centre to preserve the appearance of the high street. They embarked upon a ‘wrapping’ or ‘shop jacket’ project in order to maintain the quality of the high street aesthetic.



Contact Details




Chief Officer Responsible for the report:


Author’s name

Penny Nicholson


Economic Growth Officer

Tel No.



Co-Author’s Name

Simon Brereton


Head of Economic Growth

Dept Name

Economic Growth Team

Tel No.



Chief Officer’s name

Neil Ferris


Corporate Director of Economy & Place


Report Approved



18 December 2020







Specialist Implications Officer(s)  List information for all



Wards Affected:  Guildhall, Fishergate, Micklegate






For further information please contact the author of the report



Background Papers:


Report to the Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning Decision Session on 18th November 2019:

Exec Member BID Renewal ballot paper  18th Nov 2019.pdf



Annex 1 – Graphic of BID geography area, plus streets included

Annex 2 – City of York Council baseline agreements

Annex 3 – Draft copy of the BID Business Plan


List of Abbreviations Used in this Report



Business Improvement District









Annex 1

BID Geography





Annex 2


Baseline Agreements


The appended Council baseline agreements cover:

·                     Street Cleaning

·                     Streetlighting

·                     Highways Maintenance

·                     Parking Services




Baseline Agreements: 2021-2026*


Baselines are subject to annual review and agreement by the BID and CYC following approval of the Council’s annual budget.


The purpose of this baseline agreement is to set out, for the avoidance of doubt, the STANDARD SERVICES provided by the Council within the BID area and to set the benchmark criteria against which the provisions of additional services will be assessed.


Services provided by the BID levy are complementary to these baseline services.



Street Cleansing

Head of Service

Head of Operations


(01904) 553108




Baseline activity

Street cleansing of the City Centre

Service specification

Tasks undertaken include manual and mechanical cleansing, emptying of litter bins, litter picking and collection, cleaning of the Market areas.

City Centre cleansing begins at 05.00, targeting hotspots then covering other areas. This continues throughout the day, focussing on high traffic vicinities, such as entertainments areas.


Maps of the areas to be cleaned are appended here. As these have been taken directly from the City of York Council Open Data Platform, these are set out by Ward area, rather than following the exact geography of the BID area. The wards covered are Guildhall, Fishergate and Micklegate, and the two sets of maps cover mechanical and manual cleaning.



Statutory or discretionary?


Timing of activity

City Centre street cleansing is carried out within the foot streets, seven days a week throughout the year.

April to September

Monday to Friday – 05.00 to 20.00:

The number of operatives on duty fluctuates throughout the day with a minimum number of three operatives and a maximum number of eight.

Saturday and Sunday – 05.00 to 19.00:

The number of operatives on duty fluctuates throughout the day with a minimum number of four operatives and a maximum number of five.

October to March

These will change slightly between October and March due to weather and daylight hours.

The mechanical sweeper/scrubber does not operate during this period.


Additional duties include co-ordinating/ overseeing the Spring Clean initiatives across the City

Staffing and equipment

1X Mechanical  sweeper

1 X Mechanical sweeper/scrubber

1 x Pedestrian controlled sweeper

Various hand held manual equipment

1 x Supervisor

12 x City Centre Cleansing Operatives

Key performance measures





·         CSPEC6– Graffiti: Number of issues reported (all land types)




·         SLA01 - 2 Hour Cleansing cases completed within SLA




·         SLA02 - 2 Hour Cleansing cases completed within SLA - (YTD)




·         SLA03 - Standard Cleansing cases completed within SLA




·         SLA04 - Standard Cleansing cases completed within SLA - (YTD)




Non-compliance procedure

No contract, but cost of service provision is approximately £250,000, subject to change with each annual budget allocation.

Existing value of contract/ service

As per agreed BID boundary

Boundary area

As the council looks to implement neighbourhood working for is waste and public realm services there is an opportunity to review how the services are delivered with the BID.

Proposed additional BID activity

Not yet known

Cost of additional BID activity






Street lighting

Head of Service

Derek Grant, Street Lighting Delivery Manager


(01904) 553090




Baseline activity

Provision/ maintenance of street lighting within the City of York council boundary, including all street lights, illuminated signs, bollards, and floodlighting

Service specification

The street lighting service is unique within York, as both installation and maintenance of all street lighting assets are undertaken by City of York Council’s internal Street Lighting Team.


  • Citywide maintenance of street lighting and illuminated signs, floodlighting and bollards.
  • Cyclical maintenance on routine lamp changes/maintenance.
  • Any alterations to existing installations are undertaken including column relocations and conversion of lights to newer more energy efficient technologies.
  • New lighting installations for Council highway schemes.
  • A design and install service for developers is offered  by city of York councils street lighting team as regards any new developments/works including section 38/278 schemes.
  • A Street lighting design service is available through City of York council if developers require design only.
  • All electrical testing is undertaken by the internal street lighting team.
  • Structural testing on steel/concrete lighting columns is undertaken on a rolling annual program by a CYC preferred specialist contractor.
  • 24 hour Emergency call out facility is in place to cover any out of hours dangerous situations arising.
  • Festive light installations for local Traders’ Associations or Parishes.

Statutory or discretionary?

Under Section 97 of the Highways Act 1980, it is not mandatory for authorities to install street lighting, but once installed on adopted highways there is a responsibility for maintenance.

Timing of activity

The maintenance service operates 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, and includes a CRM web based system for public reporting of street lighting issues/faults for fault reporting and an email reporting capability linked to the City of York Council website

Staffing and equipment


7 X FTE 1 X PT : including Delivery Manager, Technical Officer, Street Lighting Technician (PT), 2 x Electricians, 2 x Street Lighting Operatives 1 x Electrician Apprentice


2 x 14.5 metre MEWPS (cherry pickers) 1 x SL rig 18 Tonne

Non-compliance procedure

COYC strive to adhere to their SLA requirements as regards fault repairs 4 days and emergency call outs 2 hours.


Electrical testing is undertaken to 18th Edition BS7671 and completed on all street lights within a minimum six year period as per requirements.


Structural testing on concrete/steel lighting columns is undertaken by a COYC preferred specialist contractor on an ongoing annual program.

Existing value of contract/ service

Budget annually circa £800k.

Boundary area

As per agreed BID boundary in the Business Plan

Proposed additional BID activity

Various proposals set out in Business Plan including Christmas displays, plus additional new projects over the course of the BID term.

Cost of additional BID activity

Not known – varies





Highways Maintenance

Head of Service

Bill Manby


(01904) 553233




Baseline activity

Maintenance and repair of the highways network whilst minimising disruption on the transport network and protecting infrastructure

Service specification

The highway maintenance service covers a wide range of activities.  It is delivered by a number of in-house teams, working in conjunction with external service providers.  The Highway Maintenance Service teams are responsible for the maintenance and repairs of the highway assets.


We provide advice and support to across the council on proposed works including the adoption of highway as well as the construction works by others on the highway and play a strategic role in making sure it is to the highest of standards and includes whole life costs.


The team provide forward programmes for both carriageway and footway schemes utilising high definition images of the highway and subsequent site investigations. From the survey data we return the annual valuation of all highways and assets complying with the requirements of Whole Government Accounting including calculating depreciation and replacement costs.


In addition to the large scale works the teams undertake thousands of small scale repairs annually, these are allocated to our teams comprising of Blacksmiths, Drainage Highways, Ancient Monuments and Street Lighting and graffiti removal.


These works identified above are raised by the highways inspectors, and repaired by the highways maintenance teams.


The Street Lighting programme includes replacing the lamp heads with new more energy efficient LED lanterns, and structurally testing columns and an annual basis, As a result of tests and inspections we have a risk based approach to managing these structural assets and a programme for replacements.


Statutory or discretionary?


Timing of activity

This is an 07:30 - 17:30 activity with an out of normal working hours emergency response service

·           Staffing and equipment

·           34 FTE

·           3 Supervisors

·           (9) 18 ton hook lift vehicles

·           (2) 7.5 ton hook lift vehicle

·           (4) 3.5 Pick Up Vehicle

Key performance measures






Average % rate of change

Grade 2 Signs of Surface Wear






Grade 3 Mid Life





Grade 4 Functionally Impaired






Grade 5 Structurally Impaired






Average rate of deterioration over the last 5 years by grade

This inspection data is collated by GAIST to produce five condition categories for sections of public highway, being grade 1 (very good), grade 2 (good), grade 3 (fair), grade 4 (poor) and grade 5 (very poor).

Non-compliance procedure

Basic maintenance is supported with three 180 excavators with planer attachments

Existing value of contract/ service


Boundary area

As per agreed BID boundary

Proposed additional BID activity

Not yet known

Cost of additional BID activity

Not yet known






Parking Services

Head of Service

Graham Titchener


(01904) 551495




Baseline activity

Parking Services for York

Service specification

·         Parking enforcement

·         Maintenance of all Council-owned car parks

·         Parking permits

·         (N.B. Parking Services is the lead department and supervises the administration of this, which is based within Customer Services and Business Support)

·         Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) appeals and representations

·         Abandoned vehicles

Statutory or discretionary?


Timing of activity

·         All non-enforcement work is within standard office hours

·         All enforcement work is done year round with three shift patterns per day, seven days per week

·         In addition to this we have one technician who works within normal office hours, but who is on also on call outside normal office hours.

Staffing and equipment

X 19 Civil Enforcement Officers and Assistant Supervisors

X 1 Parking Enforcement Supervisor

X 1 Representation Officer

X 5+ Parking Business Support staff supervised by Representation Officer but based within Business support

X 1 Technician

X 3 vans


Customer Services provide a staffed parking desk in West Offices covered by one officer and numerous Customer Services Representatives who are the first point of contact by phone dealing with customer permits, abandoned vehicle reports and PCNs amongst other parking related business and questions.

All functions are supported by various hardware systems, mainly for the enforcement service

Non-compliance procedure

Council Traffic Regulation Orders, Council policy, operating under numerous Traffic and Highway legislation but mainly the Traffic Management Act 2004, led by the Department for Transport. 

Existing value of contract/ service

No contract, but cost of service provision is approximately £1.3m, part funded by the Council and part self-funding

Boundary area

As per agreed BID boundary but also covers the whole of the York boundary.

Proposed additional BID activity

Working on the roll out of the pay on exit systems for Marygate and Piccadilly car parks, with support for the Piccadilly car park improvement and longer opening times


Work closely with the BID around city centre accessibility, safety and support for local economic development.

Cost of additional BID activity

BID are looking to provide an additional £100k for improvement works to Piccadilly car park.


[1] According to the Institute of Place Management website https://www.placemanagement.org/special-interest-groups/welcome-to-the-bid-foundation/about-bids/

[2] https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/2443/contents/made