About Us

What Is A Bid?

Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are an opportunity for businesses to coordinate investment in their area in a way that improves it as a place to do business.

BIDs are business-led and business-funded not-for-profit organisations working in a defined area, set up by a ballot of businesses.

There are currently more than 250 BIDs operating across the UK, including in Ipswich, Cambridge and Norwich, some of which have been around with support from local businesses for over 10 years. A new BID is also under development in Colchester. BIDs create significant sums of investment across the UK and put it in the hands of locally situated businesses. BIDs’ strong governance structure and income stream also make it easier to attract external and match funding.


  • An opportunity for businesses to make decisions about improvements in their area
  • Giving businesses a strong voice in discussions about the future of their city
  • A robust vehicle for implementing projects
  • 5-year funding stream and staff resourcing for projects that businesses want to run
  • Transparent operations and the opportunity to get involved further in a BID mean that you can be sure about where your money is being spent
  • Strong governance helps to attract external funding in addition to the funding raised through the BID levy



Chelmsford’s image is important for all its businesses. For our retailers and leisure businesses it means more visitors and more spend. For our office and commercial sector it means a more attractive offer for the talented workforce we need. We will work in the following areas to ensure Chelmsford remains seen as Essex’s number one destination for visitors and employees.


  • We will coordinate a marketing strategy that brings together and enhances the efforts of different partners in the city, including:
    • A brand and PR campaign for the city centre to cement Chelmsford as the premier destination in the region. We will ensure positive advertisement through various channels including digital, print, and outdoor media. We will help businesses to present a positive image on social media and do the same for Chelmsford as a whole.
    • A digital strategy for Chelmsford’s online presence, ensuring that key central sites such as Visit Chelmsford include extensive and up to date information, for example on ‘what’s on’
    • Filling existing gaps in printed and digital visitor information and improving the distribution of visitor information in locations across the city, particularly at entrance hubs like car parks and the train station.
    • Running an incentive scheme targeted at employees and residents with exclusive City Centre offers.
  • Chelmsford already has a number of successful events. We want to ensure that major events bring greater benefits to the City Centre. We will work with partners and big names such as V-festival and the Council to help convert local events into higher footfall, spend and profile for the city-centre, and provide opportunities for businesses to get involved
  • We will work closely with the City Council to maximise benefits from the High Street market and explore options such as temporary specialist markets.
  • We will identify gaps in the city’s events programme and organise high quality activities to fill them at key times of the year. These could include, for example, themed seasonal markets, pop-up pontoons on the rivers for performances and outdoor cinema screenings, pancake-day races, street parties for big public occasions etc. An events programme should aim to benefit a broad range of businesses in the city centre and raise Chelmsford’s profile.
Evening Economy


  • Chelmsford has a successful evening economy that already has a Best Bar None scheme and Purple Flag status. The BID will develop an ‘Evening in Chelmsford’ strategy to help smooth the transition from the day-time to night-time economy and encourage people to stay later. This could include:
    • Offers aimed at employees to encourage them to stay after work
    • Supporting and increasing promotion of Chelmsford’s Best Bar None accredited venues
    • Ensuring a buzz with regular evening events
  • We will also monitor use of the late-night-levy and work to ensure that it is well deployed to support businesses and complement these proposals
  • Our rivers can make a huge contribution to the atmosphere and culture of the city centre. They can be places for performance, floating cafes, attractive lighting and greenery. We will run an ideas competition to animate and improve access to our rivers.
  • We will work with the City Council on its Christmas lights and switch-on event to ensure the timing and locations maximise the benefit to businesses. We will organise a small number of well-coordinated and promoted late-night openings in the run up to Christmas with additional activities to add to shoppers’ experience.
Retail Diversity
  • We will put empty units to work for Chelmsford, for example by operating them as temporary spaces for pop-up concept stores or community projects, helping to incubate new businesses and animating areas
  • We will support the Council and landlords in their efforts to champion the city to new businesses


When it comes to the operations of the city centre, we want to be careful to ensure that current resources are being used well. We will work with authorities such as the council and the police to monitor outcomes for the city centre and promote ways of improving these. We will be careful to ensure that where we spend money, it is only to add additional services.


Safe & Welcoming
  • We will act as eyes and ears on the street to enhance the police and council efforts to tackle aggressive forms of begging and public realm issues, making sure issues are reported and responses monitored. We also recognise the value of intelligence from the hundreds of businesses in the city centre when it comes to tackling shoplifting or problems with the public realm, so will play a co-ordinating role to ensure intelligence from businesses is shared and that responses are coordinated. For example by running an intelligence-sharing platform such as Facewatch and coordinating responses.
  • We will bolster on-street presence at key times of the year when there are most likely to be new visitors to Chelmsford, for example during key events, and ensure the welcome is a good one. An ambassador/concierge scheme will welcome visitors and also report issues. We will review the need for a more permanent presence going forwards.
  • We have worked with the Council to outline the baseline services, such as cleaning, that they provide for Chelmsford City Centre. We will work with them to ensure these services are effective and, if necessary, we will then provide additional cleaning where required.

We want to make sure that Chelmsford is as convenient to reach and get around as possible. We will contribute to this by:

  • Working with partners across Essex to build a case for improving traffic management and reviewing the Essex Traffic Control Centre’s operating hours
  • Representing businesses to influence a transport strategy that works well for the city centre at all times of day, for staff and visitors
  • Raising awareness of different travel and parking options; encouraging the use of lesser used but cheaper car parks, for example with targeted promotions, and encouraging the use of public transport, walking and cycling where appropriate
  • Reviewing the operations of the Park & Ride and championing changes as necessary, including alternative tariffs



We will be a strong body to help support businesses in a number of ways.

  • We will create savings through a joint procurement scheme of common business services
  • We will make sure businesses have a voice in the strategic planning of Chelmsford and on specific issues like:
    • Transport issues like parking pricing strategies and the Park & Ride service
    • Provision of suitable office and commercial space
    • The Chelmsford Future Transport Network Scheme etc.
  • As business rates move towards being retained locally, we will monitor and champion effective spending and will provide support to businesses that need help with appeals
  • We will keep business up to date with a regular newsletter
  • We will provide business seminars and networking events throughout the year and help link businesses with the local community
  • We recognise that for some businesses, retention of staff can be difficult when competing with nearby centres of employment such as London. In addition to consolidating Chelmsford City Centre’s recent renaissance, we will develop employee benefits such as exclusive local offers and social-networking events to help build strong local connections.

Meet The Directors


Neil RidleyBond Street, Company Chairman
Gary RidgeonMarks & Spencer
Nick HallePubwatch / CTZN bar
Sean ManleyToni & Guy
Cllr Dick MaddenChelmsford City Council and Essex County Council
Carley Beck High Chelmer Shopping Centre
Sue PatelThe Meadows
Emma Odell A Canteen
Cllr Philip WilsonChelmsford City Council
Graham WyattJames Hallam
Jonathan BetteridgeDebenhams