Formed in 2007, Ipswich Central is the Business Improvement District Company for Ipswich. A BID is a defined geographical area and within it, businesses opt (via a vote) to pay an additional amount to provide services in that area that they, as a group of businesses want to have.

A BID company has a maximum of five years before asking businesses if they want the BID to continue.

In 2017, businesses voted with a firm yes for Ipswich Central to continue to act on their behalf until 2022. In fact, the BID company received the highest aggregate first ballot results in the UK. The result was announced by Ipswich Borough Council, who independently collated and verified the returned ballot papers. The turnout was high at 64%, [with 95% in favour by number and 95% in favour by rateable value].

Ipswich Central recognises the need to drive forward a strong Vision for Ipswich town centre, focusing on a Strong Foundation and a Stronger Future.

Ipswich Central’s third term lasts from 2017-2022 and revolves around the need to drive forward a strong Vision for Ipswich town centre, focusing on a Strong Foundation and a Stronger Future.


The first UK BID was formed in January 2005. Since then, over 240 BIDs have been established, including London, Newcastle, Swansea, Nottingham, Brighton, Liverpool and Edinburgh. Locally, Great Yarmouth, Bury St Edmunds, Norwich, Cambridge and Lowestoft have benefited from BIDs. Ipswich Central is an exemplar model held in high regard, both locally and nationally.

BIDs succeed because they are focused, entrepreneurial and cost-efficient, providing a powerful, and fast response to business needs. They are not a replacement for local authority and police services, but provide an additional resource. They are funded by businesses through a small levy, normally applied to the rateable value of commercial premises. BIDs are created by a ballot amongst participating businesses, and have a maximum term of five years before they have to return to their electorate in order to be renewed.

With public finances under pressure, BIDs are increasingly seen as the way in which those locations fortunate enough to have one, can surge ahead. If BIDs across the UK are not sustained, current national business trends indicate a gradual, sustained decline of commercial profitability in many town centres like Ipswich.

For more info on BIDs in the UK, visit www.britishbids.info

For more information on BID support and advice for BID development and renewal, visit Central Management Solutions.


  • In the UK, the majority of BIDs exist in town centres, however they are also in industrial, commercial and mixed-use locations.
  • The BID mechanism allows for a large degree of flexibility and, as a result, BIDs vary greatly in ‘shape’ and size.
  • The average size of a BID is 300-400 premises, with some of the smallest having fewer than 50 and the largest at over 1,000.
  • Annual income is typically £200,000-£600,000 but can be as little as £50,000 or as much as £2 million per annum.
  • Legislation enabling the formation of BIDs was passed in 2003 in England, with subsequent regulations published in 2004 and 2005 respectively.
  • BIDs were first established in Canada in the 1970s and now exist across the globe, including in America, South Africa, Germany, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.