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In February 2013, businesses in Orpington town Centre voted Yes to setting up the borough's first Business Improvement District, Orpington 1st, a not for profit limited company, for a 5 year term ending in March 2018. Businesses with premises within Orpington's BID boundary pay 1.5% of their premises rateable value into the BID company, which reinvests the funds into the town centre, supporting a range of projects aiming to make Orpington Better for Business.
Orpington 1st BID is governed by a board of directors made up of business owners and managers in the town centre. In October 2017, eligible businesses will be asked to vote to continue this investment for a second five year term.
A Business Improvement District (BID) is a defined area within which businesses pay a levy in order to fund projects within the district's boundaries. The BID is often funded primarily through the levy but can also draw on other public and private funding streams. If voted in by local businesses, the BID levy is an extension to existing non-domestic business-rates. In the UK, for a BID to go ahead the ballot must be won on two counts: straight majority and majority of rateable value. This ensures that the interests of large and small businesses are protected.