Attract, Engage, Thrive


The BID explained

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a local, democratically elected organisation that focuses on delivering specific initiatives agreed on by businesses in a defined geographical local area and run for five years.

In July 2018, town centre businesses in Saffron Walden voted yes to a BID for our town.

  • BIDs invest in and deliver projects to improve the local trading environment, drive down business costs and raise the area’s profile.
  • BIDs are led and controlled by businesses; they are independent organisations with ring-fenced resources and finances.
  • The projects are funded by raising finance, principally through a levy. This levy is an investment by businesses in their future. BIDs operate for up to five years. Throughout the term they are accountable to their levy-paying businesses and must demonstrate how they make a difference.
  • After five years, a renewal ballot must be held to enable the BID to continue.
  • The BID levy will be mandatory for all liable businesses in the BID area (with a business rateable value of over £5,000) regardless of whether they chose to vote or not and if they voted in favour or not. Now the BID has been voted for it isn’t be possible for a business to ‘opt out’.
  • The Saffron Walden BID Company will monitor results and performance using measures applied to all activity. BIDs are lean organisations, designed to be flexible and agile to respond to local circumstances and areas of priority, as well as carry the credibility and resources to get things done in a cost-effective and efficient way.

The Bid area

The BID district includes 340 businesses within the boundary of the High Street, Church Street, Common Hill, Elm Grove and Gold Street. Within this area there are 278 BID levy-paying businesses.

As outlined in the Business Plan, the Saffron Walden BID will be funded by a levy on each businesses property to be paid annually, starting in September 2018.

The levy will be collected by UDC on behalf of the BID company, and will raise about £90k each year. It will be spent exclusively to deliver the projects identified by BID Businesses and managed by the BID Board. The BID will seek to attract additional funding through sponsorship and grants.

Saffron Walden BID area

The BID Board and team


  1. A new not-for-profit Company will manage the BID. We expect that the BID Steering Group established in April 2017 who have been involved with the development of the BID so far, will form the interim Board to allow for continuity as much as is possible, but we are looking for volunteers to join the team. Any levy payer or voluntary contributor can stand to be elected onto the Board during this process. All Board member positions are voluntary and do not receive payment.
  2. This Company would be Limited by Guarantee, which means the members’ liability would be limited to £1.00 each. The Directors would have their regulatory liability covered by Directors & Officers insurance.
  3. This structure would ensure that the Board of Directors will be fully accountable to BID levy-payers and would be controlled by BID levy-paying organisations. It is anticipated that senior figures within the levy payers would form part of the management of the company. All the levy paying businesses would be entitled to become the members of the company and all registered members would be entitled to vote at the AGM and those meetings would include the appointment of the Board of Directors.
  4. Within one year from the start of trading the Saffron Walden BID Steering Group will establish a procedure for electing a formal Board which shall be made up of representatives of all levy paying businesses. A suitable rotation policy will be developed. Additional members may be co-opted, as required.
  1. It is proposed that a Board would be elected from the members to create a representative, business-led group to oversee the financial, managerial and operational activities of the BID.
  2. Subject to consultation with the businesses, the Board shall have the ability to vary service delivery and expenditure allocation according to changing demands of the levy payers or when substantial changes to economic circumstances impact on the BID area. However, any change to the BID boundary or to the levy rate would require an additional ‘alteration’ ballot.
  3. The Board would meet at least six times per year and receive both management and financial reports at each meeting. They would communicate regularly with you as a levy-payer on key issues, particularly including progress against this Business Plan.
  4. All BID levy-payers would be entitled to attend meetings of the Board to raise any matter and the Board would also follow industry best-practice in the following areas:
    1. Being subject to independent, accredited, external audit, leading to the production and submission of an Annual Report, annual accounts and the submission of statutory financial and corporation tax returns
    2. Producing regular updates to BID levy-payers
    3. Allowing the rotation of Board representatives as required via elections


SWBID Business Plan


SWTC BSS - Town Hall




SWTC BSS - SW Market


SWTC BSS - Public conveniences


SWTC BSS - Christmas




SWTC BSS - Assets


SWBID Operating Agreement


Street Services BSS


Car Parking BSS


Environmental Health BSS


It’s beautiful, safe, friendly and has loads of great shops, cafés & pubs. The Saturday market especially is brilliant.