Friday, 6 September 2013

Penzance Business Improvement District (BID)

Last night the Penzance BID Steering Group met Cornwall Council’s BID Development Officer (Joseyanne Thatcher) for the first time in the Queens Hotel.  Joseyanne briefed the members on BIDs in general and the plan to guide them through the process to create a Penzance  BID.

A Penzance BID has the potential to raise ~£190,000 year for businesses to spend on measures to improve the local  trading environment. The BID has a 5 year life after which businesses can decide to renew it for a further 5 years.

The first item on the agenda was to select a Steering Group Chairman.  Eventaully, succumbing to pressure, Marcus Wilkinson (Alfred Smiths) agreed to fill the post. 
 A relatively cautious BID development timetable was agreed with the ballot of businesses expected at the end of 2014.

Click here for British BID’s concise brief on BIDs.

Click here for Josyanne Thatcher’s presentation to the Pz BID SG 5 Sep 13 (Powerpoint)


BIDs have proven to be effective mechanisms for businesses to raise funds to improve the local trading environment.  There are 5 town centre BIDs already operating in Cornwall (Truro, Falmouth, Newquay, Camborne and St Austell) with Truro have voted recently for a further 5 year BID programme.  Each BID is unique in that it is tailored by local businesses to suit their circumstances and priorities.


  1. BIDs have nothing to do with enhancing its community - it has everything to do with empowering a small elite through cronyism and patronage. Take at look at how it has failed Plymouth.

  2. Each BID is unique. Most are effective, some are outstanding and a few are rubbish. Those that fail to perform or alienate their members do not get renewed when their 5 year term runs out. So far, the BIDs in the western end of Cornwall have performed rather well with Totally Truro recently renewed and the Falmouth renewal imminent (and looking promising). As a town without a BID we feel out-competed and disadvantaged. We could do a lot with £180,000 a year.

    With regard to holding BID companies to account I suggest downloading their constitutional documents from Companies House and examining what 'reserve powers' members have. Provided you have a lot of likeminded businesses, you should be able to present a resolution to get things changed. Dick Cliffe, Chairman Penzance Chamber of Commerce