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.

Covent Garden Car Park Meeting

Covent Garden Car Park Meeting

A public meeting is to be held on the high-profile redevelopment of Covent Garden Car Park in Leamington.

The event will give local businesses, employees, customers and residents the chance to put forward their questions on the development of new headquarters for Warwick District Council, new multi-storey car park and apartments on the site.

It is being jointly organised by BID Leamington and Leamington Chamber of Trade on behalf of the town’s business community and will take place at The Studio in the Royal Spa Centre on Tuesday, June 19, at 6pm.

It is hoped that the meeting will enable greater engagement and opportunity for the wider community to have their questions answered by key local authority representatives including Bill Hunt, deputy chief executive of Warwick District Council.

BID Leamington is concerned that insufficient provision has been made for the loss of parking and that the new multi-storey will not be able to meet increased demand from the new headquarters and apartments.

Stephanie Kerr, executive director of BID Leamington, said: “The Covent Garden Car Park redevelopment will greatly impact on local businesses, their staff and customers.

“As their collective voice, BID Leamington has been actively lobbying on the scheme for over a year, particularly in relation to the displacement plan for parking.

“As part of that, we met with Cllr Andrew Mobbs, leader of Warwick District Council, in early February when we set out the concerns of 200 businesses which included 27 emails that we had received from individual retailers.

“With around 25,000 vehicles per month affected, local businesses are worried that a shortage of parking spaces, within an acceptable distance, during the two-year development will deter shoppers and significantly diminish footfall particularly in the north of the town centre where businesses will also notice the loss in passing foot traffic.

“We are committed to working with Warwick District Council not only to improve parking in the long-term but to attract the right kind of investment to take the town forward.

“However, we feel that this needs to be delivered in a way that responsibly mitigates any disruption to businesses as the high street is already facing significant challenges.

“The public meeting will be an opportunity to hopefully have questions answered and we would urge businesses, and anyone in the local community with interest and concerns, to attend.”

Anyone who is unable to attend the meeting or would like a question posed on their behalf is invited to email info@bidleamington.com

To view the plans for the development, please visit the Warwick District Council website by clicking here.

More details can also be found on the invitation by clicking on the images below.

The New BID Town Centre Facebook Group is HERE!

The New BID Town Centre Facebook Group is HERE!

We would love you to join us on our new Facebook Group and join in the conversation today! 

At BID Leamington, we want to hear what is happening inside your business and would love to have more communication with all of our retailers. Facebook is a great way of doing this so we have set up a closed Facebook Group for all of our retailers to join.

What is the aim of this group?

We will be using the group to share information, ideas, collaboration opportunities, member offers and generally keep up to date. It is also a safe place for you to talk about issues and challenges you are facing and a space for people to give advice about different ideas they have.

We will be updating you with:

  • Regular news and updates about the work that we are doing.
  • Regular Facebook Lives from the BID Leamington Office.
  • Interviews with business holders to give you ideas to help grow your business.
  • A space to talk openly about issues you are facing with people who have gone through the same.

We would love for you to share with the group:

  • Any news and updates on offers and discounts available at your store.
  • Information about events happening within your company or in-store.
  • Hints and Tips that you wanted to share with other retailers.
  • Any successes that you want to share with others!.

If you would like to join our group and be a part of our community, please CLICK HERE! 

Summer is in the Air

Summer is in the Air

Summer is nearly here and along with warmer temperatures and longer days, we continue to see a period of unprecedented political and economic change as well as big changes to business rates across the town. While these things are unsettling and not easy to influence, there are things we can do to navigate change and create opportunity by working together in the town centre.

Building on our strong DNA, we continue to actively promote our beautiful town centre. Extending into the digital space, we have attracted over 17,000 followers across social media streams and regularly get 30,000 visits per month to our www.royal-leamington-spa.co.uk website. We have also just launched ‘Taste Leamington’ a new branded website to promote the Food & Drink sector.

All of this helps to foster loyalty and offer customers a spectacular experience, which combined with the work local businesses are doing is very much part of the culture of ‘working together’ that we all nurture.

We are once again looking forward to our ‘Summer of Fun’ – an exciting calendar of events delivered by both BID Leamington and a huge number of volunteers. These events attract thousands of visitors every year.

Fostering a healthy trading environment has to be backed up so we are doing lots of work supporting businesses on issues such as crime, shoplifting, begging, waste management, parking, planning and enforcement.

We are also representing business interests in the face of emerging development challenges – such as the Covent Garden Carpark Development proposals. This will see the town’s largest 600 space car park developed as a mixed use site – with parking, offices and dwellings. To address potential issues we have formed a ‘Development Strategy Group’ with representation from key businesses (which is open to all) and support from WDC officers.

All of this helps the town centre and its community to remain resilient and well placed to navigate change.

However, we know that even small changes to footfall, spend and currency can impact businesses, particularly our smaller ones. That is why we continue to support businesses to stay nimble and where needed act in new ways such as embracing new technologies, building unique bundles of products and services, utilising email databases, promoting your expertise and to work together in imaginative ways.

With a number of activities and events coming up, here are a few ideas about how to capitalise on the captive audience they bring …

Making the most of events, marketing & promotions …

  • Would you like to feature in the next photo shoot … just let us know?
  • Do you have any news or offers for the royal-leamington-spa.co.uk – just email them through to info@bidleamington.com anytime .Host a themed event in your shop.
  • We will promote it on the ‘Royal Leamington Spa’ website and in local papers.
  • Give us flyers or offers to distribute at events. We often have a stall and staff on standby to help you get involved in some way.
  • Tweet it Up! Look out for the relevant hashtags –  #LoveLeam #TasteLeam #LeamFoodFest
  • Help us bring the town alive with fabulous themed window displays…how about a cycling theme for the upcoming Woman’s Cycle Tour? (June 9th).

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to know more.

Stephanie Kerr
May 2017