Canterbury Bid

The Future of Your BID – AGM Overview

An audience of people awaiting a Canterbury BID conference

 The Annual General Meeting and Conference for The Future of Your BID was held last night in Canterbury to focus minds ahead of the ballot taking place in the city from 13th June to 11th July 2019.

Canterbury BID (Business Improvement District) was established by ballot in 2014, the first in Kent, as an independent, business-led, not-for-profit initiative to ensure investment in the city centre based on the priorities of the business community. The ballot will determine whether Canterbury BID will be re-elected to serve for another five years.

In the first BID term (2014-2019), the BID raised 20% on top of the levy through sponsorship, commercial income and voluntary contributions, totalling £430,000 over the five years, bringing the total amount invested to over £2.9 million. To date, 142 million people have been reached through BID-funded marketing campaigns and many well-loved features, such as the annual Christmas lights and summertime hanging baskets, have taken place to enhance the shopping experience and encourage people to linger longer in the city.

The BID’s mission is to help make Canterbury a vibrant, exciting, well connected and successful business community. All the money raised by the BID, from the levy, voluntary contributions, sponsorship and commercial income, is invested directly back into Canterbury city centre.

The session was led by Clive Relf, Canterbury BID Chair, and key speakers included Diane Wehrle, Marketing and Insights Director at Springboard as well as panel of levy-payers from across the city of Canterbury to talk about their experiences with the BID.

Diane Wehrle is regarded as one of the leading experts on retail and retail destinations, with an unparalleled knowledge and expertise in understanding current and emerging retail issues and consumer trends. Diane used the platform to share her views on the changing high street and the crucial role of a BID and the positive impact that it has on a city.

Diane Wehrle, Marketing and Insights Director at Springboard said,

“I like to use the term BB (Before BID) to describe the difficult trading environment as there was a lack of co-ordinated funding, vision, strategy, accountability and call to action to support local businesses. With a BID in place, you can rely on a cohesive central management who provide the backbone operation and possess a concrete vision and clear remit about how they can help retailers and traders thrive within a city. Despite the fluctuating trends within the retail world, the High Street is in a better place thanks to a BID.”

Lisa Carlson, Canterbury BID Chief Executive, also spoke at the event and talked through the future of the next Canterbury BID, subject to a successful ballot. Plans will include reinstatement of deep street cleaning throughout the city and investment in better connectivity through city centre WiFi. The BID will also be working closely with Kent Police on solutions to shoplifting and anti-social behaviour, as well as many other benefits, to support its mission to make Canterbury clean, safe and enjoyable for those who work, live, visit and study in Canterbury.

Lisa Carlson, Canterbury BID Chief Executive said,

“We are delighted to welcome everybody to our AGM and have a two-way conversation about how we can continue to deliver investment in the city centre based on the priorities of the business community. We recently invited all BID businesses to take part in a consultation with us, so we could listen to their needs and redefine our business plan in accordance to what they would like to happen in the city. Should the BID ballot be successful, we will invest £2.9 million into the city centre over the next five years which we believe will make a hugely significant positive impact on the city and the businesses that operate here. Our aim is to deliver a better-connected city that is safer, cleaner as well as a prosperous and attractive destination for traders and visitors alike.”

Peter Allinson, Founder of Whirligig and member of the Panel said,

“Our unique toy shops are positioned in four different Business Improvement Districts in the South East and I have been highly impressed by the level and scope of work that has been achieved by the BID team in Canterbury. For us, one of the BID’s biggest assets are the Ambassadors who know all of our staff members and fully embrace what we do so I am hugely confident that they will recommend our store, amongst others, to visitors coming to Canterbury which adds significant value to our business.”


The session closed with a panel including the following local businesses: Iain Oliver, McDonalds; Rachel Sanders, BoConcept; Peter Allinson, Whirligig; Amy Harris, Fat Face; Zoe Rodda, Lily’s Bistro and Simon Ludden, Tarvos Wealth plus a Q&A and closing remarks from Canterbury BID Chair, Clive Relf.


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