Middlefield Industrial Estate is one of the most significant employment areas in eastern Bedfordshire.
Located on the eastern side of Sandy, it has approximately 100 acres of industrial space and is home to approximately 120 companies, many involved in engineering or the construction industry. A few are part of national companies, but many are independent with a national and international customer base. It is estimated that currently there are around 1,000 people employed on the estate.
Despite its importance, Middlefield Industrial Estate currently has no profile, little support and faces increasing challenges, with many businesses still suffering from the recession.
Businesses on the estate formed a steering group to explore options for improvements. Over the past year, the steering group have been supported by the Council, and with assistance from external consultants, Partnerships for Better Business, worked towards the introduction of a Business Improvement District (BID).
What is a Business Improvement District?
A Business Improvement District (BID) is an area in which businesses pay a levy to fund additional services to benefit themselves and the local community.
Each business pays according to its size by rateable value with all money collected being used to deliver a schedule of activities outlined in a business plan. Businesses within the defined geographical area decide whether to form a BID through an official ballot. For a BID to be approved, two criteria have to be met:
- 51% of businesses who return their ballot papers must vote yes
- the aggregate rateable value of those who vote 'yes' must be greater than that of those that vote 'no'
All businesses within the BID area are obliged to pay the levy, regardless of whether or how they vote in the ballot.
In March 2015, businesses on the Middlefield Industrial Estate voted on the proposal to establish a Business Improvement District on the estate.
62 votes were cast in total, of which 26 voted in favour of a Business Improvement District and 36 voted against. Consequently, a Business Improvement District will not be introduced on Middlefield.
The Middlefield BID Steering Group are now exploring alternative ways forward, and are looking for views and suggestions from other businesses on the estate.
Telephone: 0300 300 8272