What is a Business Improvement District (BID)

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a business-led and business-funded body formed to improve a defined commercial area.

In each BID’s designated commercial area, a levy is charged on all business rate payers in addition to the business rates bill. This levy is used to develop projects which will benefit businesses in the local area.

There is no limit on what projects or services can be provided through a BID. The only requirement is that all services should be additional to those provided by local authorities. Improvements may include, but are not limited to, extra safety/security, cleansing and environmental measures.

The benefits of BIDs are wide-ranging and include:

  • Businesses decide and direct what they want in their area.
  • Businesses are represented and have a voice in issues affecting their trading area.
  • BID levy money is ringfenced for use only in the BID area.
  • Increased footfall and spend.
  • Enhanced marketing and promotion
  • Forum for new ideas and innovations
  • Place-shaping vision 
  • Facilitated networking opportunities with neighbouring businesses.
  • Assistance in dealing with the Council, Police, and other public bodies.

The Worthing Business Improvement District (BID)

The Worthing Town Centre Initiative proposed that the Town Centre became a Business Improvement District in 2007.  The business plan was written, following an extensive consultation with the business community, and the postal ballot took place during June 2007.

A successful BID ballot must achieve 2 criteria: –

1) at least 50% of the number of businesses voting agreeing to the BID – Worthing achieved 57%

2) at least 50% of the rateable value of those voting agreeing to the BID – Worthing Achieved 53%

The ballot was successful and the BID launched on 1st April 2008.

The Business Improvement District funding comes from businesses trading in the Town Centre who pay an additional levy on their business rates, currently 1.25%.  Businesses are given the opportunity every 5 years to vote on an updated or new business plan to decide if the BID should continue.

There have been 2 successful renewal ballots in 2012 and 2017.

2012 Result

  1.  69% of the number of businesses voting agreed to the BID
  2. 79% of the rateable number of those voting agreed to the BID.

2017 Result

1. 82% of the number of businesses voting agreed to the BID.

2. 85% of the rateable number of those voting agreed to the BID.

Worthing BID Business Plan

“To be clean, safe and vibrant, a lively heart of the community, where visitors are engaged and businesses are inspired and prosperous.”

The BID has 4 objectives.



The Worthing BID Steering Committee is made up of representatives of the Worthing Town Centre business community each bringing their own expertise and representing BID businesses by sector, size, and location within the town.

The Steering Committee meets monthly to oversee the activity of the Town Centre Team and provide strategic direction. The Steering Committee is responsible for approving and monitoring the annual budget and the BID vision for the town and its businesses.  The Committee is made up of predominantly levy-paying businesses and includes the Local Authorities who are levy payers but also key delivery partners.

All Committee members are asked to declare any pecuniary or personal interests at each meeting and a detailed register of Directors personal interests is updated annually.

If you are a BID levy payer and would like to apply to join the Steering Committee then please contact sharon@worthingtowncentre.co.uk to find out more and register your interest. 

To see a list of Steering Committee members CLICK HERE →


The current BID term is from 1st April 2018 until 31st March 2023 with levy paying businesses liable for a levy of 1.25% of their rateable value.   Businesses within the BID area with a Rateable Value of £12,000 or above, are liable to pay the BID levy charge.

Worthing Borough Council will calculate and collect the BID levy on behalf of the Worthing Town Centre BID and then funds will be transferred, less the collection charge, to deliver the BID objectives.  Bills are due on April 1st for the full year; if the person liable for the levy changes during the year, a pro rate refund will be issued and a new bill raised for the new “Rate Payer” for the remainder of the levy period.

The Borough Council will use the same recovery procedures used for Business Rates but any business who feel they have exceptional circumstances can complete the exceptional circumstances form so Directors can consider their case. 


BID renewal 2023-2028

The 4th term BID proposal is currently being considered with the Business Survey, to identify the priorities for the next 5 years, about to take place.

The ballot will be held by post and will take place during October 2022.

This page will be updated with more information, including the business plan that will be put to the business vote, as the plans develop.