'The community of businesses in Cheltenham is truly special'

Cheltenham BID is a great example of team spirit and its work bringing local businesses together has made a huge difference to firms and visitors. SoGlos finds out how the town's Business Improvement District has been changing things for the better.

By Emma Luther  |  Published
Cheltenham BID focuses on supporting businesses, marketing and promoting the town to visitors.

Cheltenham BID counts the spectacular Light Up Cheltenham and popular observation wheel as some of its biggest successes. And it's brought in thousands of visitors to see the town's enhanced Christmas lights.

SoGlos caught up with Cheltenham BID's chief executive Heath Gunter to find out more about the organisation that's championing the town and what it's achieved since it was set up in 2016.

For those who haven't a clue, what is Cheltenham BID?

Cheltenham BID stands for Cheltenham Business Improvement District. It is an initiative led by local businesses that aims to enhance and promote Cheltenham town centre.

The BID is funded through a levy on businesses within the BID zone, which is used to provide additional services and amenities to the area. It includes more than 700 businesses ranging from retail stores, restaurants, cafes, hotels, and professional services.

What does Cheltenham BID offer?

The BID's focus is on supporting businesses, marketing and promoting Cheltenham, organising events to increase footfall into the town centre and enhancing the townscape.

Just some of the initiatives we run include networking events, training courses, enhanced cleaning including graffiti removal, discounted parking for town centre staff, the Cheltenham Gift Card and numerous events for the public including the Wimbledon Big Screen and the Cheltenham Observation Wheel.

How can businesses get involved?

All businesses in the BID zone with a rateable value of £7,500 and over are automatically Cheltenham BID businesses and they pay a levy based on their rateable value. 

Every five years, the businesses have the opportunity to vote for or against the BID continuing. In 2021, the BID was voted in for a second term with an 86 per cent yes vote.

We do have an opportunity for businesses who do not qualify as Cheltenham BID businesses to become voluntary contributors.  More details can be found on our website.

How can people get in touch for more information?

Our website is the best place to find out more information, where you will also be able to download our five-year business plan. 

If you’re a Cheltenham BID business, you can request a visit by one of our ambassadors who will happily chat through our latest initiatives and assist you with any questions you may have.

What are some BID highlights from over the years?

Some of our highlights over the years include Light Up Cheltenham, the Cheltenham Observation Wheel, multiple events at Christmas and the enhanced Christmas lights around the town from 2020 onwards.

We're pleased to be a founding partner of Marketing Cheltenham and are proud of the Public Hearts Campaign, the annual BID in Bloom flower baskets, supporting businesses through the pandemic, Cheltenham Food and Drink Week and our recent partnership with Cheltenham Guardians. 

What are you most proud of in relation to BID?

The community of businesses in Cheltenham is truly special. The BID aims to bring people and businesses together and it makes all our work worthwhile when we see businesses working together. 

Is there anything about BID you’d like to highlight?

Cheltenham BID is business-led and business-controlled. This means the board of directors that oversees the BID is made up of representatives from local businesses.

This ensures the BID is accountable to the businesses it serves and activities reflect their priorities and needs. 

The BID is an independent organisation, although we work closely with both Cheltenham Borough Council and Gloucestershire County Council to deliver our objectives. 

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