Good News on Grants! Plus Additional Info

Good News on Grants! Plus Additional Info

Good news on Grants!

Late this afternoon we received notification from Warwick District Council that they have begun the process of distributing grant funds, which is sooner than expected. Some businesses may also have received notification directly. We are advised that this is a manual process and the team will make their way through the list of eligible businesses as quickly and securely as they can. I will continue to give updates on progress as needed. Details of eligibility are on our website and theirs.
For those that have not registered yet, don’t worry – here is the link: https://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/info/20827/coronavirus/1553/coronavirus_information_for_businesses/2

Grants – VAT and Corporation Tax

We sought advice from our accountants on the question of if grants are subject to VAT.
The answer we received is: “As we currently understand it, there will be no conditions attached to this grant and therefore it should be classed as outside of the scope of VAT. Based on this there would be no VAT to pay on the grant income. However, our current understanding (as of the 31 March) is that the grant will be classed as income in the accounts and therefore will be subject to corporation tax”.
If you are at all unsure about this, we would recommend you flag this with your accountants, or direct any other questions back to us and we will try to help. With many of these things, business specific advice is required.

Business Survey (Please complete)

We are working with a number of partner organisations to understand business concerns and lobby for additional support.
Below is a link to a survey that I would be very grateful if you could complete. The questions were formulated at a regional level and we have adapted them. Your answers will only be seen by Stephanie Kerr, Executive Director (BID Leamington), and then they will be anonymised. The outcome will help us to direct our support to you and the fully anonymised and collated data will be shared with regional and national policy makers, politicians and local authorities, so they can understand the challenges you may be facing. All personal data will be destroyed once it has been collated.

Love Leamington & Leam Delivers!

The www.loveleamington.com website is now live. We are constantly updating it so please let us know if you are not there and want to be. For now we are listing essential information on the homepage, but all town centre businesses who are trading online, via a website, facebook or other are listed within the site. We will be supporting this with social media promotion.
As well as #LoveLeam, we are also using #LeamDelivers. Please let us know if you would like our new Leam Delivers Logo to use on or within your own material if you are delivering from Leam!

Business Support

Over the last week we have been supporting our members on a number of business critical matters. To date we have arranged professional HR, Legal and Financial advice at no cost to the business, and are arranging support for those who need help with property negotiations. Please get in touch if any of these things are worrying you and we will try our best to help.
We will be providing you with a more detailed update in the next day or two. This will cover topics such as the job retention scheme (80% wage relief), the stop on evictions, business critical issues we are lobbying on, emerging guidance e.g. disposing of beer, BID activities that you can get involved in and ideas we are developing.

Other advice and support from previous emails / posts can be found on our website by clicking these links:

Alternatively, please join our Leamington Town Centre Facebook Group if you haven’t already. We will also post updates on the BID Leamington Facebook Page – and the Royal Leamington Spa Town Centre Facebook page is where we will showcase what you are now doing.

Please keep in touch and share your ideas with us, as we are stronger together!
#LoveLeam #LeamDelivers 
WDC Registration Opens for Business Grants

WDC Registration Opens for Business Grants

Please be advised that Warwick District Council (WDC) have now posted a link online for businesses who are eligible for the government £10,000 and £25,000 grants to register their details.

Please see here: https://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/info/20827/coronavirus/1553/coronavirus_information_for_businesses/2

Please note: At the time of writing (March 26th), we are advised that WDC are not yet in receipt of the funds. However, they are in the process of collating business information so that once they are in a position to distribute the funds, this can be done as efficiently as possible. The distribution part of the process will likely begin week commencing Monday 6th April. Of course, if it can be done sooner then it will. Please bookmark their webpage for updates.

Please also note: this relates to those businesses with a Rateable Value under £51,000 that meet the eligibility criteria detailed below. The grant funding that is awarded to eligible businesses, does not have to be paid back.

Eligibility Criteria and Further Information

In general, this grant scheme incudes:

  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief;
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

Detailed guidance and criteria for this can be found at this link and below:

  • The Small Business Grants Fund (£10K) (SBGF): Hereditaments included in this scheme are those which on the 11 March 2020 were eligible for relief under the business rate Small Business Rate Relief Scheme (including those with a Rateable Value between £12,000 and £15,000 which receive tapered relief).
  • The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (25K) (RHLGF): Hereditaments which on the 11 March 2020 had a rateable value of less than £51,000 and would have been eligible for a discount under the business rates Expanded Retail Discount Scheme had that scheme been in force for that date are eligible for the grant. Please see below.
  • PDF Document

Details of the Expanded Retail Discount 2020/21:

Local Authority Guidance can be found below. This details the type of businesses that are included in the rates relief scheme – and are eligible for the grants detailed above. Please note this was extended yesterday to include a wider range of businesses, such as estate agents, lettings agents, betting shops etc. Further details of the types of business that are included can be found at this link and below.

  • PDF Document  – 02.04.2020
  • Please note No 16 in this document details who are NOT included e.g. Financial services, Medical services, Professional services, and Post office sorting offices.

Finally, the government has summarised some common questions and answers by clicking here.

Please let me know if you have any questions that we can help you explore. Reflecting member feedback, over the coming days we will be doing further work on the issue of commercial rent protection as we do not feel the recent announcement goes quite far enough for those having difficult conversations. We welcome further feedback on this and I will also be in touch with more information on wage relief soon.

Resources are Focused on Business Support

Resources are Focused on Business Support

BID Leamington is focusing all of its resources on supporting the town centre with the impact of Coronavirus in light of recent announcements about business closures.

As well as highlighting latest government guidance, including measures to help mitigate the financial impact, it is reaching out to businesses to fully understand their needs in order to lobby for additional support.

It is also re-launching online platforms to support business and community activities.

Stephanie Kerr, executive director of BID Leamington, said: “Whilst we welcome the government’s support measures, it is clear that more is needed, for instance, around immediate access to financial help, and commercial lease issues facing independents.

“It is therefore vital that we fully understand business needs so that we can feedback to our MP, government and relevant industry bodies about what additional support is required.

“There is a really strong sense of community in Leamington and already many examples of people working together, so we are doing all we can to help businesses and the wider community support this collective effort and adapt to these unprecedented challenges.

“Many businesses are showing their resilience and ingenuity, for instance by extending their services to support food deliveries to vulnerable people, offering online events, virtual pubs, video and phone shopping, and offering collect and delivery, and we would really encourage local people where possible to support them now more than ever.

“We have recently re-launched two websites to showcase these efforts, and will be constantly updating our social media with information on how town centre businesses are adapting and their new service offerings, so that we can all find out what is happening and get involved.”

People can visit www.loveleamington.com and www.tasteleamington.com to find out the latest information on Leamington town centre businesses including those also trading online, and offering collection or home delivery.

All town centre businesses can visit www.bidleamington.com for information and support, and are urged to make contact with the BID team for advice at info@bideaminton.com.

BID Meetings: Connect, Learn & Inspire

BID Meetings: Connect, Learn & Inspire

Last night we held one of our regular BID Business Meetings (16th October 2019), which was kindly hosted by Stevie, Lotfi and the team at the newly renovated and opened Grove Kitchen in Regent Grove who also supplied some delicious nibbles and drinks!

We are not always sure how many can attend or what cross-section of business owners will be there but regardless of if there are 20 or 50, the conversation is always interesting and inspiring. When our meetings are a little smaller as was the case last night (22 people from 17 different businesses) it offers an opportunity for everyone to introduce their business, share their ideas, successes and challenges and collectively solve problems. It is also very helpful to myself, Alison and Gary (the BID team) as we can get under the skin of the critical issues concerning our members.

Last night was brilliant, so firstly our sincere thanks to everyone who joined us and contributed. I left feeling very warmed and inspired. The topics we discussed were diverse: I introduced recent BID insights and activities (the trading environment including new business openings, Brexit, our Annual Report, the launch of Meaningful Change, upcoming Christmas promotions and our future agenda including the High St Fund (recently awarded to Leamington) and ‘Green Leamington’.

Following this, business owners and managers spent some time introducing themselves and highlighting opportunities to help each other:

  • Belvoir (pictured) kicked things off with an overview of the property sector and reminded us of their kind offer to put businesses information in the goodie bags given out to new homeowners and tenants. Just drop it into Sue and John at their office on Regent Grove.
  • Neals Yard has been carbon neutral for 11 years and Matt highlighted how much they have learnt on the journey. He has offered to help us collate this learning so it can be shared more widely.
  • Our lips were watering as Rosemary introduced us to her amazing handmade chocolate business located at Lantern Corner (Cenu Cacao). We were left wishing for winter to arrive so we can try her hot chocolate!
  • Health and wellbeing is part of the town’s DNA and is the focus of Beauty on Demand, now in Oxford Street. It was lovely to hear from Julie and learn about the wide range of services on offer from nails to massage, it is all about being pampered.
  • The Party Shop on Regent Street are here to help us shine! Rob and Mike’s business is green accredited and if you pay them a visit they are sure to make you laugh!
  • The Art’s Trail has recently moved into the Royal Priors, so it was nice to hear from Gerry who has a wide range of print and copy services on offer. You can find them on the Upper Mall.
  • Emma from Monsoon / Accessorise made us smile when she offered everyone a piercing to celebrate this is now on offer there!
  • Finally, Sarah Horne is constantly innovating and her Botanical range features her own drawings while her Flower Schools form a part of her experiential offer. She invited businesses to an exhibition this Friday October 18, which she has curated in partnership with Gerry (Arts Trail).

As always, I was struck by the passion and multi-talented nature of these business owners. They are incredible and doing it all: buying, negotiating, making and designing products, displays and windows, marketing, on social media, serving customers, doing accounts, HR and more. It is incredible to see such cross-section of talent in one person … yet we interact with it daily. This calls for huge respect.  

Helpful Links:

Meaningful Change Leamington

Brexit Advice Link

Upcoming BID Events

BID Annual Report

Our thanks to the businesses who joined us:

  • Arts Trail
  • Beauty on Demand
  • Belvoir
  • Cenu Cacao
  • CoOp Travel
  • Côte
  • Jaeger
  • Monsoon / Accessorise
  • Neals Yard Remedies
  • One Stop Party Shop
  • Peter Stephan Jewellers
  • Photiq
  • Royal Priors
  • Sarah Horne Flowers
  • Sharps
  • The Grove Kitchen
  • Tom Howley Kitchens

Upcoming Covent Garden Meetings

Upcoming Covent Garden Meetings

Warwick District Council (WDC) are hosting two meetings relating to the Covent Garden Car Park development, which local businesses are invited to next week. As you may know, it is proposed this car park will close in around 10 weeks for approx 18 months. We have been asked to communicate the following details to local businesses, which are below and attached:
Meeting – Option 1: Monday 12 November – Evening (Public)

Where: Royal Spa Centre, Leamington

Who: Residents and businesses invited.

When: Arrive from 6.30pm for refreshments. 7pm start.

Details: The meeting will be independently chaired by Phil Upton, of BBC CWR. Phil will take questions from the floor for the panel of Warwick District Councillors and Senior Officers responsible for the delivery of the ambitious HQ plans and car parking displacement plan during the development of Covent Garden Car Park.

Meeting – Option 2: Tuesday 13 November – Morning. Please RSVP. Businesses Only.

Where: Cote Brasserie, Regents Court, Livery St, CV32 4NG

Who: Businesses only invited.

When: 7am.

Details: You are invited you to a breakfast meeting to discuss the Council’s plans for its HQ move and car parking provision during the re-development of Covent Garden car park. A panel of Councillors and Officers will be available for you to ask questions and hear more about the proposals.

Please RSVP: business@warwickdc.gov.uk (by Wed 7th if possible)

We will attend them both – you are welcome to also. If you cannot attend and have any specific questions please let us know and we will endeavour to have them answered.

 

Please also do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to have a conversation about this – work is ongoing. For details of the work we have been doing: https://www.bidleamington.com/work-is-on-going-covent-garden/. Please feel free to pass the details on to neighbouring businesses.

Covent Garden Update – Work is Ongoing

Covent Garden Update – Work is Ongoing

Much is still to be done before a robust strategy is put in place to cover the temporary loss of one of Leamington town centre’s busiest car parks.

This is the view of BID Leamington, in response to an update from Warwick District Council on its strategy to create enough parking spaces to be in place for the 20-month period of when the 468-space Covent Garden carpark closes to be replaced by a new car park, apartments and local Local Authority headquarters on the site.

The report, which was approved by the Council Executive, follows a very well attended public meeting which was held on the 19th of June. Approximately 150 people, around 60 of which were business owners filled the Spa Centre to question Council Officers on the scheme. Among other things the questions focused on five key questions relating to car park displacement, loss of footfall, timing and future provision set out in the graphic below.

Following the 2.5 hour long meeting it was agreed that further engagement directly with the business community was urgently needed, as there were many questions that remained unanswered. It was also agreed that specialist car parking expertise is engaged to review plans.

One month on, BID Leamington are pleased to see that a number of our suggestions have been agreed in the July 25th, Executive Report. This includes funding towards a communications plan and the engagement of specialist expertise to review the WDC’s car park displacement plans.

The review, being undertaken by a specialist parking consultancy which we helped select, started this week and will look at the impact of the closure of Covent Garden Car Park, what is proposed and recommend further measures to minimise disruption and re-balance footfall in the north of the town centre. We anticipate further recommendations may need to go forward to Officers and Members following this work.

Engagement with Warwick District Council is also ongoing. We have further meetings planned in early August, with a focus on addressing the concerns of businesses in Warwick Street who will be among those impacted by the loss of footfall when the car park closes. There are also calls for a follow-up ‘business meeting’ open to all local businesses to take place when WDC plans are clearer.

We are mindful that the proposed closure date of Covent Garden Car Park of January 2019 is less than six months away and there is still a lot to do. Much of the proposed ‘additional car parking’ needs planning permission to be built or in the case of Station Approach will not be ready until late 2019, so we are seeking reassurances that the Covent Garden Car Park will not be closed until an adequate plan is ready to be delivered.

The importance of this has also been confirmed by recent ‘Institute of Place Management’ (IPM) research which identifies ‘accessibility’ as among the top two criteria impacting high street vitality, the other being ‘footfall’. This means we need to welcome and deliver investment that puts these issues and local business interests at the heart of the conversation.

Image: Covent Garden Car Park Meeting – 19th June, 2018. Key Numbers & Questions.
Prepared by BID Leamington, using figures set out in the Covent Garden Car Park Planning Application (as Approved on 9 Jan 2018) Ref: W17-1700.