Business Update: Grants, Rates, Closures, Outside Trading

Morning everyone,

I hope you are all well.

We are looking towards April 12th with our fingers crossed and working on a variety of plans to support the safe opening of our town centre. This quick update covers the following:   

  1. Grant Funding & Business Rates Relief
  2. Parade Road Closure Update
  3. Pavement & Highway Trading Licencing – Hospitality Sector
  4. Next Steps, Events, Please Stay in Touch…

 

1.  Grant Funding & Business Rates Relief

Business Restart Grant (April onwards)

WDC grant updates and information is here: https://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/info/20068/business_awards_and_grants.

Following the announcement of further grant funding for retail, hospitality and leisure sector businesses in the Chancellors budget on 3 March, WDC are still awaiting guidance from BEIS on this scheme. Accordingly they are unable to provide businesses with detailed information about applicable amounts or qualifying criteria.

The expectation is that guidance will be published on March 22nd and that no payments can be made before April. We are not yet sure if there will be an application process either. We know this support funding is urgently needed and will keep you updated.

Retail Relief for 2021/22

Also announced in the Chancellors March 3 budget, was an extension to retail relief and nursery relief. Eligible businesses will get 100% of retail or nursery relief until 30 June 2021. After this date, 66% relief will be awarded.

WDC have confirmed that businesses will not be issued with a bill for the 100% relief period until June. A new bill will be issued in June showing the 66% relief and the instalments for the rest of the financial year.

If you wish to opt out of these reliefs being applied to your account, please send an enquiry form to the business rates team, clearly stating you wish to opt out and stating your business rate reference number.

Grant Closing Dates:

Please note, all of the existing grant schemes have closing dates.

So, if you have not applied / received any grant funding to date, or know someone who has a business who has not applied, please encourage them to make contact with Warwick District Council. This is particularly relevant to new businesses. Please see this link for relevant closing dates and details: https://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/info/20068/business_awards_and_grants.

Of note, all of the LRSG payments end on 31st march for new applications, except for the payment period of 16th Feb – 31st March, which closes for new applications on 31st May. So effectively, if someone applies on 1st April for retrospective closed payments, they’ll only be able to have paid the period from 16th Feb – 31st March, regardless of if they’ve been closed since 5th November.

Any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

 

2.  Parade Closure Update

Thank you to those who took part in our survey. The closure of the Parade continues to divide the opinion of businesses, residents and customers. You may have seen some recent press on this – both in respect to a local petition (please click here to view) and more recently a statement from Warwickshire County Council confirming their position now and in the future.

Warwickshire County Council Statement in the Courier: https://www.warwickcourier.co.uk/news/people/parade-in-leamington-to-remain-temporarily-pedestrianised-to-support-the-safe-reopening-of-the-town-centre-in-april-3166861

In summary, County Council Officers and Local Councillors agreed that the temporary closure will remain in place, to facilitate social distancing and outdoor trading while Covid restrictions, until June 21 at the earliest. After this time, assuming the roadmap does not change, it will be removed.

Officers and Councillors are in agreement that the closure is temporary, and any discussions or options for future changes will be done separately, as there remains a large number of unresolved challenges with the current scheme. This will be developed with stakeholder input and will be widely consulted on.

If you have not completed our survey yet, we would still be grateful for your feedback. You can find it here:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/6HB8P3Q

 

3.  Pavement Licensing – Hospitality Sector

Yesterday we emailed hospitality sector businesses a PDF guide to applying to a licence to trade on the pavement or highway. Please get in touch if you missed this email, or need further support or advice.

Key points are:

  • Placing seating on the pavement or highway requires a licence from Warwick District Council (WDC).
  • In the case of highway applications (e.g. parking spaces, loading bays, vehicle lanes) we recommend you obtain pre-application advice from Warwickshire County Council (WCC) in advance of applying. Once you apply, WDC will consult Warwickshire County Council (WCC) when assessing your application.
  • Applications cost £100. This is non-refundable (even if refused) and there is no legal appeal procedure but WDC will help you as much as they can.
  • Once submitted, the process takes 10 working days.
  • Within this, there is a 5 day public consultation period, where you have to advertise your application on your window.
  • To have outdoor seating approved by April 12th, and accounting for public holidays, applications should be submitted by March 24th.
  • You require a range of supporting plans and insurance documents.
  • BID Leamington is happy to support you.

Key Links and Contacts are:

 

4.  Next Steps, Projects, Getting Involved

BID Projects – Easter, Food Festival, Opening Support:

As mentioned in our last update, we are tentatively preparing for a range of promotions and future events.

  • Our Mother’s Day online promotion is currently live and runs until 31st March.
  • Over 50 businesses have signed up to the Town Centre Easter Egg Hunt and the list is now finalised. This will be delivered via egg shaped window vinyls for those that signed up, and also online. There will be two town centre trails based around a hunt for the golden egg.
  • We are tentatively beginning preparations for the Food & Drink Festival. If permitted, it will be 11th and 12th September, 2021. If you are interested in attending, please make contact with us by the 10th of April. Please email: alison@bidleamington.com.  
  • Finally, please get in touch if you need any fresh social distancing stickers or posters.


Other Activities –
WDC Spark 2021 Online Talks:

Recently, I was pleased to deliver a presentation on local ‘placemaking’ and the role the local community can play in supporting renewal, at the Warwick District Council ‘Spark Ignite’ 2021 conference. Many fascinating talks are now available online and cover a variety of topics.


BID Support / Advice
:

In the meantime, please reach out if there is anything we can support you with. Don’t forget you can find a range of support information contained in previous emails and on our website including:

 

Also, the Royal Leamington Spa Town Centre Facebook page, Instagramtwitter and www.loveleamington.com is where we showcase what you are now doing, so please keep us updated on your plans.

Please join our Leamington Town Centre Facebook Group if you haven’t already and share your ideas, information, promotions etc. We also post updates on the BID Leamington Facebook Page and information on our website: www.bidleamington.com.

Best wishes – please take care and stay in touch.

Best wishes and stay safe,

Steph & Alison