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About us

Better Bankside is a Business Improvement District. Its job is to make Bankside a thriving place to work, live and visit.

We are a non-profit company limited by guarantee, run by and for our members. The company has no share capital, and any surpluses generated are reinvested into the company's services.

Better Bankside was the third BID to be established in the UK. A Business Improvement District (BID) is an independent, business-owned and led company, which seeks to improve a given location for commercial activity. Better Bankside's members are the 900+ companies in the BID area who pay its annual 'levy'. Many of these are heavily involved in the governance of the company. Every five years, member businesses vote on the continuation of the BID for another five year 'term'. Our last ballot took place in November 2019, find out more here.

In achieving its aims, Better Bankside continually seeks the comments of the membership on its services. We do this in three main ways:

  • Our board meets every six weeks to review progress
  • Eight theme groups, meeting periodically, agree the elements of the programme
  • An annual survey gauges awareness of, and satisfaction with the programme

Through the board and theme groups Better Bankside intends that over 80 local businesses are involved in the governance of the company. Get involved.

Better Bankside also invites contact with its staff at the Bankside Space, with its Bankside Wardens, at regular events, and through regular newsletters and the website. Each levy payer is eligible to become a member of the company, but does need to apply. Others can apply to join at the discretion of the board. The Annual General Meeting provides an opportunity for all members to ask questions of the board and to stand for election to it.

Better Bankside would like to extend its thanks to all those who have contributed to the operation of the company to this time.

Company Structure and Theme Groups

What is a Business Improvement District?

The legislation to create Business Improvement Districts here was approved by parliament in September 2004. Better Bankside was one of the first BIDs to be established in the UK.

Business Improvement Districts are fast becoming a global success story – there are thousands throughout the world, including 1400 in the US and growing numbers in South Africa and Canada. BID services must always be additional to those provided by the local authority and others. Better Bankside, like many other Business Improvement Districts, has a core programme which includes cleaning, greening and safety. See the full list of services available to our members in the 'Our Services' section.

A Business Improvement District can only come into existence if it is approved in a ballot. If it secures this approval, it is funded by a compulsory 'levy' on all eligible businesses within the boundaries it has set. After five years its future must be reviewed and – if it hasn't performed to businesses expectations it will not continue. Better Bankside has been approved in three ballots. The first was in 2005 and the latest ballot took place in November 2019 where we received an overwhelming 92% majority, you can see the results here.

How does this work in Bankside?

The following businesses were eligible to vote:

  • If your business fell within the Business Improvement District area (see the BID area map)
  • If the total rateable values of these business premises were £17,500 or more
  • If your business premises were not advertising rights, car parks or communications stations (e.g. mobile phone masts)

Following the ballot success, Better Bankside has a mandate to collect an annual 'levy' on eligible businesses, equivalent to 1.2% of the rateable value of their premises.

How we will invest income to improve the area 

We propose to invest in excess of £11million across the Better Bankside area over the 2020-25 term. From April 2020 the extended Better Bankside area will generate a total annual levy income of £1,957,000. Levy income is supplemented by a range of non-levy sources. 

A breakdown of the investment across themes is as follows.

View the financial statements for the year ending March 2018 accounts at the bottom of this page (downloadable PDF).

Non-levy income

In addition to the income that is derived from the levy Better Bankside is developing other sources of income:

  • Voluntary subscriptions from businesses which are non-levy paying because they are below £17,500 rateable value or outside the BID geographical area
  • Voluntary contributions to corporate social responsibility
  • Voluntary landowners contributions
  • Funding applications for projects from sources such as the GLA, local government, TfL and several others.

From April 2020 the BID boundary will extend west to Rushworth Street, south along the full length of Great Suffolk Street and east to Trinity Street . The area includes more than 900 eligible businesses.

The BID area also includes business premises in the Yards and Courts off the relevant section of Borough High Street – George Inn Yard, King's Head Yard, Maidstone Buildings Mews and White Hart Yard.

See our 2020-25 BID arrangements, terms, details and exact area inclusions.