Reading town centre businesses vote in favour of a double BID

The business vote renews Reading Central BID and creates a new Abbey Quarter Commercial District

Businesses based in Reading town centre have voted to invest in Reading town centre by renewing Reading Central Business Improvement District¹ (BID) and creating a new Abbey Quarter Commercial District. Both will run for five years, starting on 1 April 2019.

Reading Central BID result

80% of businesses by number and 94% of businesses by rateable value voted in favour of the proposals put forward by Reading UK.

Abbey Quarter BID result

87% of businesses by number and 87% of businesses by rateable value voted in favour of the proposals put forward by Reading UK.

Reading Borough Council, as ballot holder in accordance with its electoral role under the Local Government Act 2003, has today declared the result of the ballot on its website. 

BIDlaunch group mediumAdam Jacobs, Chair of Reading UK, said: “Reading businesses have recognised the value that the BID has brought to Reading over the past 13 years. They have voted to continue that investment in the town centre which will ensure Reading both retains and grows its position as a great place to live, visit, work and do business.

“Reading UK and members of the town centre’s business community will be working hard over the next few months to pull together the detail of the five-year investment programme for the two BIDs in order to start delivering tangible benefits as soon as possible. We thank them for their confidence in a shared and ambitious vision for Reading and its fantastic community.”

Following a consultation of businesses in the town centre, the proposals for the BIDs 2019-24 were drawn up to reflect local business priorities.  

Reading Central BID

Reading Central BID has been in existence since 2006 and is focused on the streets around Broad Street, from Jacksons’ Corner to Broad Street Mall and the Oracle to the Station. This latest vote is the third time town centre businesses have renewed the BID. Over the past five years, the Central BID has provided £2.2 million extra private investment in the town centre.

Reading UK has exciting and ambitious plans for the Central BID 2019-24 aimed at making the town centre more attractive and secure for shoppers, visitors and our own business community, supporting business growth, investing in Reading’s night time economy, as well as delivering business intelligence and information to the town centre business community.

Abbey Quarter Commercial District

The new Abbey Quarter BID covers the area surrounding Reading Abbey and includes many of Reading’s new central office buildings. This is an area which has developed fast in recent years and has the potential to become a world-class business location and a great place in which to live and work. The new BID will help deliver improvements in public realm and regenerate the Kennet, support place marketing, create safer and cleaner public spaces and work with businesses to help them attract and retain the very best talent.

Examples of activity it will fund include security/warden service, events programme to animate public spaces, health and wellbeing initiatives for staff who work in the area, a staff benefits scheme, lighting schemes and creative use of the waterways.

Reading Borough Council Leader Jo Lovelock said: “I am delighted that businesses have voted to renew the Reading Central Business Improvement District (BID) and to create the new Abbey Quarter Commercial District.

"Since it was first established back in 2006 the Central BID has played a major role in helping to support the continued economic success of the town centre and of Reading as a whole. During the current BID period (2014-19), almost £2.5 million of additional funding has been raised though the BID which has helped fund a wide range of initiatives, all aimed at improving the attractiveness of the town centre and supporting its continued economic success. I am certain that both BIDS will go from strength to strength.”


Reading was the first area outside London to create a Business Improvement District in 2006 and Reading businesses had already voted twice to renew the Central BID (in 2009 and 2014). Reading UK has sponsored the two BID proposals 2019-24 on behalf of town centre businesses.

Over 850 businesses and organisations within the town centre’s two BID areas were balloted on the proposals. The proposal was subject to a 28-day postal ballot, administered by Electoral Reform Services, the designated independent electoral organisation. Under the Local Government Act 2003, Business Improvement Districts (England) Regulations 2004, Reading Borough Council, as ballot holder, has been responsible for the conduct of the ballot.

According to the legislation, in order for the BID to be established, a majority of businesses by number and rateable value needed to vote in favour of the proposals.

The new BIDs will take effect from 1 April 2019. All businesses will pay a 1% levy on their business rates. In addition, businesses in the night-time economy will pay an extra 2% levy which will support specific ring-fenced activities for that part of the economy.

For full details, including the Business Plans and maps of the areas covered by the two BIDs, visit

¹A Business Improvement District is a defined area within which the businesses have voted to invest collectively in local improvements to enhance their trading environment. This is funded via a business levy charge and delivers a range of services in addition to those services provided by the public services and local authority.

Turnout was 41% of businesses in the Central BID and 32% in the Abbey Quarter.


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