Former South Wales Argus editor Kevin Ward is the new Manager of the Newport Now Business Improvement District (BID). Here he answers your questions about the BID.

What is the Newport BID and what is Newport Now?
They are the same organisation. A Business Improvement District is the term applied to a particular form of organisation which is business-led and business-funded. Newport Now is the company name. The BID provides businesses with the opportunity to take control of their commercial environment and to drive positive change in the area.

Why was the BID needed?
Businesses considered that we have seen our city centre fall behind competing areas. We want to create a better city centre which is safer, more attractive and well promoted. Achieving this will help bring more visitors, attract new businesses and create a better environment for those who work and live in our city.

How many businesses in Newport are members of Newport Now?
There are 649 business units, of which 541 are members of Newport Now.

What area does it cover?
The city centre core including the railway station frontage, the river front, East Street and Stow Hill to Kingsway and Commercial Street.

How is money generated to fund Newport Now?
Through a small business levy, which is calculated by using the rateable value of a business unit, known as a hereditament, and is initially set at 1.25% in Newport city centre. All businesses within the BID boundary and with a rateable value of more than £5,000 contribute to the levy.

How is it managed?
A board of directors made up of representatives from all sectors and sizes of BID levy payers, supported by BID manager Kevin Ward for three days per week.

Who decides what specific initiatives or areas get expenditure or support?
The BID board in conjunction with theme groups. These will be in line with the pledges and objectives contained within the BID proposal that businesses voted for at the BID ballot.

What has the money been spent on in the first two years?
The BID was tasked with delivering three key ‘themed’ areas when members approved its five-year business plan via a ballot. These are:

  • Future Newport, delivering ‘digital high street’ projects such as the Newport Explorer platform, providing a £25,000 fund for shopfront improvement grants, and finding ways to save BID members money through collaborative purchasing of energy, telecoms and merchant fees.
  • Safe and Secure Newport, providing a visible and reassuring presence on the street with our Ambassadors, working closely with the local police force, and representing our members on the Business Crime Partnership.
  • Welcome to Newport, delivering a programme of high-profile and professionally-managed city centre events to increase visitors and trade, including the Christmas lights switch-on, the recent Record Store Day, and the forthcoming Festival of Classics car show.

What’s next for the BID?
We’ll continue to deliver our five-year business plan, as businesses play their part in improving the city centre, while raising the profile of the BID among its members and the wider public. In late 2019 we will be holding a ballot among members with the aim of securing a further five-year term for Newport Now.

For more information find us on social media:
Facebook: @NewportBid
Twitter: @Newport_BID

Newport Now Manager Kevin Ward can be contacted on 07824 472543 or