Astmoor Industrial Estate BID3 Summary (2018 – 2023)
Astmoor Industrial Estate is a large estate totalling 2.3 million square feet of primarily industrial space. The estate covers an area of approximately 195 acres. Located to the north east of Runcorn, the estate is situated adjacent to the Manchester Ship Canal on the south bank of the River Mersey. Astmoor is a Business Improvement District (BID), a partnership between the local authority and the local business community.
BID3 ran from 2018 to 2023 across Astmoor Industrial Estate. Throughout BID3 Halton BID continued to support BID businesses through some very challenging times and trading difficulties.
The BID continued to provide services to improve the quality of the area for the businesses, visitors and employees within it, as well as improving attractiveness to new investors. Projects included the provision of better lighting and street cleaning, as well as the creation of green spaces, crime reduction programmes, events and accessibility improvements, in addition to marketing, networking and inward investment initiatives.
Astmoor’s Financial Strategy
The BID3 Levy was based on a property/hereditament’s rateable value according to the VOA’s 2017 Rateable Value list. The BID Levy Bandings can be found on the right, alongside our income and expenditure figures. You can also find individual properties rateable value here.
Halton BID’s expenditure strategy in BID3 was to continually seek out and deliver best value, whilst realising economies of scale. This has allowed for some cost savings and additional value for money for BID businesses. There were also a number unforeseen situations, that did not form part of the original BID 3 delivery plan. During BID3 there was a national pandemic that interrupted any hope of ‘business as usual’ for all organisations and there were interruptions to capital projects set out for BID3.
Both impacted on Halton BID’s delivery and expenditure plans. As a result BID3 ended with unplanned, reserve funds. These funds have been allocated to BID4 and will be invested back into the estate over the BID4 term (2023-2027). The reserve funds, along with the unaltered, annual BID Levy will allow us to continue to deliver and build upon the projects identified in BID3.
Together we will also continue to improve the estate for the betterment of businesses, employees, visitors and customers and assist in the delivery of identified areas for additional help and support.
Capital Investment into Improved Connectivity
The FiberOptic Broadband capital project was costed and financial provision was made in the BID3 Business plan. However this project was superseded by ITS who shared their plans for digital connectivity. A consultation process was invoked with an external supplier, which took into account the changing landscape and it was recommended that Halton BID should not look to replicate what was going to be imminently, commercially available. Therefore the capital dedicated to FiberOptic Broadband was shifted to compliment the proposed Astmoor Regeneration Project.
The Astmoor BID Levy & Expenditure Strategy
All businesses within the BID area pay a set levy. This money is used to provide additional services that will benefit businesses within the area. The BID Levy is based on a property/hereditament’s rateable value according to the VOA’s Rateable Value list. The BID Levy Bandings can be found on the right, alongside our income and expenditure figures.
Due to unforeseen circumstances & Halton BID’s expenditure strategy Astmoor has been left with reserve funds which have been allocated to BID4. These reserve funds will allow for further strengthening of projects delivered in BID3. Halton BID’s expenditure strategy in BID3 was dictated by seeking out and delivering best value in addition to realising economies of scale. This has allowed for cost saving and value for money for BID businesses.
Halton Borough Council’s Astmoor Regeneration Plan
The Astmoor Regeneration Project approved by Halton Borough Council, in November 2020, and expected to be underway and delivered during the BID3 term. Unfortunately, this project has been significantly delayed and as BIDs are unable to replicate the work of local authorities investment in the estate by Astmoor BID was also curtailed. By the end of BID3 it was still uncertain what projects would take place as part of the Astmoor Regeneration Plan and as a result where additional BID monies should be invested to ensure additionality and proper BID business benefit.
To find out more about the Astmoor Regeneration Masterplan and the Discretionary Rate Relief for Astmoor please click here – https://haltonbid.co.uk/astmoor-regeneration-masterplan-2
COVID-19 & the Impact of the National Pandemic on BID3
As a result of COVID, a great deal of ground was lost, activity across Astmoor had to be curtailed in order to conform to COVID guidelines and restrictions. There was less need for targeted litter picks/street cleansing and the usual estate maintenance tasks because activity across the estate was curtailed. BID expenses were reduced as there were no face-to-face meetings and no travel allowed. The face to face training schedule had to be withdrawn and many planned events, such as the annual AGMs and networking meetings, had to be cancelled. In fact, much of the work carried out by Halton BID at that time was delivering business support and assistance, which whilst gratefully received did not result in budgeted expenditure.
Halton BID also received a small Government Grant that was not in the BID3 business plan.
To support BID members Halton BID did invest in new initiatives such as the supply of face masks and hand gel, which was particularly well received especially in the early days when it was in short supply and very expensive. The provision of online training and organised additional day time and evening patrols during periods where many businesses were shut down and the estates were quiet. These initiatives were welcomed and the support gratefully received, however, they did not require the same level of investment as the activity we had planned.
Recovery following Covid was difficult and the BID has faced a number of challenges, not least trying to connect with businesses that moved on to the estate, re-connect face to face with BID members, getting the training schedule and workshops up and running from a standing start, taking on and training new staff, getting the estate better maintained and support the businesses looking to get back up to speed. Halton BID also had to invest time and resource researching and preparing for a new, follow on, BID4 proposal and ballot
The BID research resulted in 88% of survey respondents agreeing that Astmoor has improved as a result of being part of a BID. In addition 90% of respondents intended to vote in favour of another BID term for 2023 – 2028. As a result we are looking forward to further developing and positively impacting the estate in BID4.
Despite the challenging times businesses faced during BID3, a majority of Astmoor businesses, which voted by number and by rateable value, said “YES” to Halton BID (Astmoor) continuing for a further five-year term from 1st April 2023 until 31 March 2028.
Moving Forward, and BID4
The Astmoor BID Board was keen to invest unallocated funds for the support and benefit of Astmoor BID businesses. Therefore the decision was made for the monies provisionally allocated to capital projects complimentary to Halton Borough Council’s regeneration of Astmoor be re-allocated to BID4. This has allowed Halton BID to not increase the cost of the BID levy for the duration of BID4’s five year term. The Board were particularly aware of the challenging trading conditions faced by many BID businesses, being business owners on the estate themselves. Therefore they were keen to ensure that any financial burden was kept to a minimum in light of a cost of living crisis, rising inflation and challenging trading conditions.
Astmoor Volunteer Operating Group (as of the final year of BID3 – 2023)
Jill Naylor – Director of Kenay Ltd, Astmoor Operating Group Chair
Adrian Fillingham – J Brand Ltd, Astmoor Operating Group Vice-Chair
Tim Forber – Director, Knitwire Products
Michelle Davies – HR Manager, Electron Technical Solutions Ltd
Mahine Turner – Marketing Manager, Noveayr Therapeutics
Laurence Parr – Site Manager, Howdens Joinery Ltd
Jayne Furnival – Group Property Director, Langtree
Gillian Cooke – Sales Manager, J.C. Peacock & Co Ltd