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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 is the third BID in the UK, the second in London and the first south of the river. 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 620+ 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 vote took place on 28th November 2014. 

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 70 local businesses are involved in the governance of the company. Get involved.

Better Bankside also invites contact with its staff at the Bankside Community Space, with its Bankside Wardens, through Business Club 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

As indicated, five of the theme groups include members from outside the BID area.

What is a Business Improvement District?

The legislation to create Business Improvement Districts here was only approved by parliament in September 2004. Better Bankside is the UK's third-ever Business Improvement District, the second in central London and the first south of the river.

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 two ballots. The first was in 2005 (see results below) and the second was in 2010. The latest ballot took place on 28th November 2014 where we received an overwhelming 88% majority, you can see the results here.

How does this work in Bankside?

The ballot to establish a Business Improvement District in Bankside took place in January 2005. The result was as follows:

Total number of vote cast 153
Total number of vote in favour 115 (75%)
Total rateable value of business properties represented by votes cast £18,037,820
Total rateable value of business properties represented by votes cast in favour £12,006,805 (66.6%)
Turnout of those eligible to vote 48

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 £15,000 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 1.46% of the rateable value of their premises.

How we have spent income to improve the area so far

As a result of the successful Business Improvement District ballot in January 2005, the financial basis for Better Bankside changed markedly from 1st April 2005. Previously, Better Bankside had operated as a pilot programme – one of five in central London – exploring how Business Improvement Districts might work in the UK. During this time Better Bankside derived its income partly from government through the London Development Agency, and partly from voluntary contributions from local businesses. (Audited Accounts for the year 2004 – 2005 are posted in our download area.)

When the Business Improvement District was formally established on 1st April 2005 the income to Better Bankside effectively doubled:


Levy income Collected for the company by L. B. Southwark
Total Levy collectable £524,654.90
Amount collected by 31st Dec 2005 £516,216.25
Collection rate 98.39%

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 £15,000 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, EU, local government, TfL and several others.

The BID boundary extends west to the end of Southwark Street (but does not include any of Blackfriars Road), south to Union Street (both sides) and east to Borough High Street stretching down Borough High Street to Borough Tube Station. As of 2013 it includes more than 460 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 & White Hart Yard.

Download BB services and map at a glance

See our 2010-2015 BID arrangements, terms, details and exact area inclusions.