Canterbury Bid

Renewal Ballot 2024

As a Business Improvement District, our mission is to represent the local community and to enable the city to be a vibrant, connected, successful and profitable place in which to do business. This benefits everyone – owners and managers, their staff, clients and customers, which includes residents, students and tourists. We want everyone to make the most of our beautiful city.

Who we are – by business, for business

Voted for, supported by and working with local businesses and organisations, Canterbury BID is a not-for-profit company with a passionate team, governed by local volunteers from the surrounding business community, with the sole purpose of improving our local area as a place to work, visit and live.

Every 5 years there is a ballot, where all businesses and organisations have a vote. Canterbury BID’s next ballot starts in June 2024, and, if successful, we will start our third term from October 2024.

10 Years – Canterbury BID’s achievements so far

Return on Investment

By sourcing additional income streams and encouraging voluntary contributors, the BID increased the levy investment into the city by 20% for a total investment of £5.6 million over the last ten years, which includes over £1 million on top of the statutory levy.

Supported Businesses

BID Ambassadors walk the city streets 7 days a week, all seasons, and all weathers. Over the last five years, they made 600 visits per year totaling 3,000 business visits over 5 years. It means around 6,000 interactions through visits, meetings, conversations on the streets and emails. Graffiti, litter, ASB and any other issues are reported and monitored daily with 1,200 issues reported in the last 5 years.

In 2023 Canterbury BID funded a Business Cost Reduction Programme, which has seen 40+ businesses benefit from identifying £162,000 of savings and supporting the city’s journey towards net zero. Since 2019 we are also part of the Canterbury Climate Action Partnership, supporting and encouraging business decarbonisation audits and sponsoring their annual awards.

Over the last 10 years 6,233 people have attended BID funded networking and training events, with a combination of in-person and virtual events, providing much-needed business support and showcasing 122 businesses. Our Training and Accreditation programmes have grown from one event in 2017 to 10+ per year. Networking attendance has grown from 200 to 750 per year.

Improved the Experience

Cleaning: Using a Low Carbon Grant, we purchased our own street cleaning machine (‘The Becket’). BID Ambassadors spent over 100 hours cleaning vacant doorways and areas not covered by the council’s cleaning schedule, and also to meet immediate business needs.

Safe & Secure: In addition to Purple Flag accreditation we have established a new Safety & Security Roundtable to help resolve retail crime and anti-social behaviour. Delivered Zero Tolerance against harassment training and accreditation. Audited the city’s Safe Havens and supported Best Bar None accreditation, hosting the annual awards event and delivering assessments.

Over the last 10 years Canterbury BID has dressed the city with a total of 60 miles of Christmas lights. Decorated Canterbury with 380 baskets per year from June to September (3,750 flower baskets over 10 years). Funded the vinyling of 250 windows since Covid, and introduced new lamp-post banners along the King’s Mile, festive bunting across the whole city.

Promoted Canterbury

Reached over 30 million people per year through BID-funded marketing campaigns. BID oversees both MyCanterbury (district-wide marketing platform) and Visit Canterbury (national and international marketing platform) with 3 newsletter databases, 8 social media channels and a mailing list of over 14,000. We have also produced and distributed 413,000 City Guides and 70,000 Shopping Maps in the last 10 years.

The Canterbury Gift Card keeps money circulating in the local economy. This free service has resulted in £152,000 of ring-fenced expenditure with some businesses making their levy back on gift card redemptions alone. MyCanterbury Local Offers Card re-launched in August 2021 with new, recyclable, pink cards. Since then, BID has issued 3,186 cards to local residents (CT postcode) and currently has 28 deals and discounts.

Invested over £500,000 in funding events and festivals, bringing locals, international visitors and national press, including Pride Canterbury, City Sound Project in the Park, Canterbury Shakespeare Festival, The Gin Fling, Canterbury Wine Festival, Canterbury Festival and more. We also deliver the annual Medieval Pageant and Family Trail which in 2023 recorded 12,286 visits over the course of the 6 hour family trail.

Represented Business

Invested over £54,000 in supporting and launching business quarters: King’s Mile, Whitefriars, Cathedral Quarter, Castle Quarter and West End. Including ongoing support each year for events, activities, marketing, lamp post banners, vinyls and promotion through both MyCanterbury and Visit Canterbury. 

Provided 120 monthly City Centre Reports, providing essential information about the trading environment including figures on vacancy rates, footfall, sales performance, and tourism. Plus, a live footfall counter on the website and 520 weekly footfall reports, benchmarking the city’s performance against the southeast, other historic cities and the UK.

The BID is a member of the Association of Town and City Management (which BID CEO Lisa Carlson chairs), The BID Foundation (achieving BID Industry Standards accreditation in the first pilot round) and the Night Time Industries Association. In her capacity as Chair of the ATCM, Lisa also sits on the All Party Parliamentary Group for Town Centres.

Draft Priorities for 2024-2029

We are delighted to share our proposed priorities for the next 5 years with you, which are based on your feedback in surveys, sector meetings, workshops and 121 meetings over the past year.

These will form the basis for our final business plan which businesses and organisations in Canterbury city centre will vote on in June and July.

BID Board

Canterbury BID is led by a voluntary Board of Directors, representing the business sectors who operate in the city from independents to nationals including the Cathedral, Whitefriars Shopping Centre, Canterbury City Council, Higher Education, and observers from residents’ groups and Kent Police.

The composition of the Board reflects the breakdown of businesses across the city. Allowing residents groups to be observers ensures our commitment to including the voice of the wider community. Direct engagement with Kent Police at Board level ensures we keep safety and security at the heart of what we do.

Effective governance of the BID is essential for clear decision-making and the ability for businesses to have their ideas become reality. The Canterbury BID Board meets regularly to ensure best practices and best value in all that we do. Board minutes, operations reports and annual accounts are published in full on the BID website.

Key dates

  • June 2023-January 2024: Formal consultation and workshops
  • 18 March 2024: Draft proposal published
  • 9 May 2024: Final Business Plan published and Notice of Ballot information sent to all eligible voters
  • 6 June 2024: Ballot papers posted
  • 11 July 2024: Ballot closes – Ballot papers must be received at Canterbury City Council (who are responsible for the ballot) by 5pm on 11 July)
  • 12 July 2024: Ballot results announced

Canterbury BID runs regular networking events, sector group meetings and other workshops. Please join us or get in touch – we’d love to know what you think.

What happens if I don’t vote or I vote no?

A ‘no’ outcome means that none of the projects or services in our forthcoming business plan will be delivered and Canterbury BID will cease to exist on 30 September 2024.

Without a BID, Canterbury would lose £3.6 million in direct, business-led investment into the city over the next five years. The projects and services currently delivered by the BID would not be taken forward, including:

  • No Christmas lights and switch on celebration
  • No street decorations – hanging floral baskets, festive bunting, colourful window vinyls
  • No annual Medieval Pageant and Family Trail
  • No additional funding for high footfall events
  • No Ambassador support services: reporting, cleaning, safe & secure, visitor welcome
  • No city-focused business insights, research, market intelligence to assist in decision-making
  • No B2C marketing campaigns to promote the city centre via social media, websites and PR
  • No awards and accreditations to raise the profile of the city (Purple Flag / tourism / Bloom / Best Bar None Awards)
  • No printed trails, maps and wayfinding vinyls
  • No MyCanterbury printed City Guides, Local Discount Card scheme and newsletters
  • No national and international marketing campaigns through Visit Canterbury and Visit Kent
  • No Canterbury Gift Card
  • No national representation and best practice exchange through the wider BID industry
  • No cost savings project and services
  • No bespoke business training and networking
  • No financial support for our business quarters
  • No additional funding for collaborative public realm projects