Bedford’s BID has set the standard for others, says chairman

May 02, 2014

Rae Levene (pictured) was speaking at British BIDs event in London, attended by the government’s minister for high streets Brandon Lewis.

Mr Levene told guests that it was critical BIDs were recognised as a key solution where big and small businesses wanted a voice about how their town centres were run.

He said that other initiatives may work elsewhere but a town centre like Bedford with nearly 800 organisations of all sizes needs a business-minded approach.

Mr Levene said: “Bedford has led the way in being the first market and county town to become a Business Improvement District in 2005. As such we had no blueprint to follow – others now follow our example in fact.

“We have evolved to meet the changing face of retail and we believe that businesses who are paying rent and rates in the town centre are a vital voice.”

In Bedford national chains, the Harpur Centre, major organisations like Bedford College and more, all back the BID trading environment which helps independents to succeed and which encourages investment.

“The Business Improvement District of Bedford brings them all together and allows them to act at the speed of business – not bureaucracy,” Mr Levene said.

BedfordBID represents 575 levy-paying businesses, and supports many more. The smallest companies do not pay a levy but still benefit from events and activities.

The BID collects an annual income of £450,000 a year. It comes up for election among businesses every five years. 

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