In a nutshell, we’re a partnership between businesses and organisations that are based in the centre of Penrith, working together with Eden District Council, Penrith Town Council, Penrith Partnership and other partners to improve trading conditions in the town.
A business improvement district (BID) is a defined area, whose businesses pay an additional amount (or levy) on top of their business rates, which is used to fund projects within the district’s boundaries. BIDs can also draw on other public and private funding streams.
BIDs can also provide services, such as cleaning streets, providing security, making capital improvements, enhancing the streetscape and marketing the area – services that are in addition to what the local council provides.
There are more than a hundred business improvement districts (BIDs) in the UK, and Penrith BID was first established in April 2013, after a vote among businesses in the BID zone, and again following a further vote in 2017. The outcome of Penrith’s vote was the most positive in the country so far, with businesses giving a resounding thumbs-up to having a business improvement district for the next five years, after which there’ll be the opportunity to vote again.
Penrith BID includes and is funded by the businesses in the defined zone which have a rateable value of more than £3,000. That means local traders and businesses are investing in improving the town, for everyone’s benefit – for themselves, their staff and their customers.
Penrith BID is led by the business community, bringing local businesses together to agree on their priorities for improvements, to make decisions and run projects that will improve the trading environment.
The BID’s work is guided by an enthusiastic board of eight local business people and representatives of Eden District Council.
For the Penrith BID there are five key objectives, all of which aim to improve business and trade in the town centre:
To market and promote Penrith as a service centre and shopping destination offering a distinctive choice of shops, festivals & events, and the location of choice for visitors exploring Cumbria and the Lake District.
To make access to Penrith town centre hassle-free and with minimum cost to staff, customers and visitors throughout the day.
To promote viable businesses in Penrith where there are the opportunities for businesses to benefit from economies of scale and vacant units are filled.
To take pride in Penrith by maintaining a bright, safe and customer-friendly environment that residents can be proud of, and visitors can enjoy.
To continue to build, through the BID, an effective partnership between the town’s businesses, organisations and local authorities for the benefit of Penrith town centre.