Welcome to your fortnightly update from the Newbury BID team, including the latest news from the business community, Newbury Town Council, West Berkshire Council, Thames Valley Police, and the Government. Look out for actions highlighted below!
CEO Update from Melissa
Sadly I’m unable to give you an update yet on last week’s footfall figures, as there has been a technical hitch with the data from Springboard, who provide our footfall camera. This is frustrating as we know there were a huge number of visitors in town over the weekend for the Victorian Christmas Fayre. We are, however, working with Springboard to resolve the issue and we hope to be able to report the figures next week!
The Victorian Christmas Fayre was introduced this year as part of our long-term strategy to re-position Newbury as one of the key Christmas destinations in the South-East of England. We know it attracted tens of thousands of visitors to the town, and our hope is that they will all return on a regular basis to experience everything Newbury has to offer.
With the Government’s announcement of the move to Plan B this week, and the hit on consumer confidence we’ve already started to see over the past couple of weeks since the media started obsessing about the Omicron variant, I sadly predict that footfall will not continue to track 2019 levels during December after finally starting to in November.
It’s the worst possible timing for consumer confidence to be hit. I know many of you were starting to see light at the end of the tunnel after a positive November. Now, workers are being encouraged to stay at home again, Christmas parties are being cancelled, face masks are back in play in most indoor venues, and the Covid Pass is being introduced.
Our colleagues at British BIDs and The BID Foundation are campaigning for much needed support for high street businesses, and they are currently speaking with the Government and policymakers, including the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, about the situation. I’ll be joining a Plan B support session with The BID Foundation next Wednesday to shares ideas, challenges, and best practice with other BIDs from across the UK.
If you are unsure what the new Plan B means for your business, or if you need any specific help or support, please do get in touch with us. If we don’t have the answers, we can help to find them for you. You’ll find an update from West Berkshire Council about Plan B in their section below.
Boxing Day Opening
Some of our Board Members have been sharing their Boxing Day plans with us to help businesses throughout the town centre coordinate their own opening plans. The Kennet Centre will be fully closed on Boxing Day, and only seven retailers within Parkway Shopping will be opening. Please let us know your plans via email to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can publicise the businesses that will be open on Boxing Day to our Visit Newbury audience.
Town Centre Masterplan
I have been speaking with our BID representative from West Berkshire Council, Katharine Makant, to understand where we are with the Newbury Town Centre Masterplan that Hemingway Design have been working on this year. The final draft is now being reviewed and will soon be presented to West Berkshire Council’s Executive, ready to be published in the New Year. Provided we are voted in for a further 5 years in February, we will be a key delivery partner for the Masterplan over the coming months and years, ensuring the local business community has a strong voice in the future of the town centre.
This week, we posted a letter to all levy payers with further information about the BID Ballot, which is taking place from 27th January 2022. We are currently finalising the full 5-year Business Plan, and this will be distributed to every voter along with a Notice of Ballot on 10th January 2022.
You’ll receive plenty of communications from us in the lead up to the ballot to help you make an informed decision about your vote when your ballot paper arrives in the post. As a reminder, please watch this 7-minute video to find out more about the Ballot and how to have your say. You can view our draft proposals for 2022-27 online here.
And finally...Merry Christmas from us all at the BID
Operations Update from Alison
I’m delighted to confirm that we have appointed a new CCTV supplier for a brand new WIFI based CCTV solution for the town centre! Scion who are a local CCTV specialist based in Thatcham will commence the installation this Monday 13 December. The BID agreed to take on the management of CCTV back in 2017 when no-one managed it and there was no CCTV in-place but after I started here at the BID last year, I discovered that the system was not fit for purpose and too costly (s it is core funded by TVP and Newbury Town Council and we then provide our management time in addition for free) so I have ensured we now have a cost effective but fantastic CCTV system to ensure the safety of the town centre.
Victorian Christmas Fayre: Friday 3 – Sunday 5 December
So, the Victorian Christmas Fayre that was held last weekend was a huge success! The Fayre which was the first of its kind event for Newbury attracted tens of thousands into the town from both near and far
Hopefully you spotted our BID Members who successfully had a free stall: Monkey Tree Café (Fusion Delhi), Colline’s Kitchen, Willow & Bloom, Valarie Jerome Optometrist and Cote Restaurant!
ACTION: Please provide me with any feedback from the event so if we get revoted in again early next year in our Ballot, we will bring back the Fayre again next year and make it even bigger and better!
Christmas Lights Switch On Festival – Saturday 20 November
ACTION: Following the most successful switch-on event ever in Newbury, I’m currently finalising our Evaluation Report with recommendations for next year so please do get in touch with me asap with feedback if not done so already. Your feedback is crucial to us improving everything so the event benefits you as best as it can! This will then assist with developing the festival into something even more special next year (if we get revoted in again of course by you all).
ACTION: I shall shortly start planning for next year’s events and activities in January (on the basis that we will get revoted in again and be here post June 2022!) so please do get in touch with any ideas, suggestions or collaborative partnership incentives!
For those on the free cardboard collection scheme, Bri will collect the cardboard next week on Wednesday 15th December between 9am – 2pm so please leave out before 9am. If you are interested in joining this FREE scheme, please contact me directly!
BusinessWatch Crime Reduction Scheme
Pubwatch meeting was held this week on Tuesday 7th December; the next Pubwatch meeting will be on Wednesday 12th January at 10am
The next ShopSafe meeting will be in January – date TBC in the New Year
Marketing Update from Kirsty
Today marks one whole week since the official opening of our Victorian Christmas Fayre! While I was on annual leave Monday – Wednesday last week, I spent the remainder of the week busy focusing on finalising marketing material and last minute prep for the day in the final lead-up to the event, including liaising with the press to attend the official opening with the Mayor, Town Crier, Chair of West Berkshire Council and myself. After a lengthy conversation with the Deputy Editor of BBC South Today (which involved a series of intense questions regarding safety enhancements as a result of the new Covid variant), two reporters were secured for the morning of the fayre and we featured on the evening news at 6pm that day. Muddy Stilettos Berkshire and Newbury Weekly News were also present, of which the latter has produced a double-page spread about the event. Be sure to check it out in this weeks’ paper, on sale now!
In the follow-up of the event, I have been responding to feedback (which on the whole has been extremely positive), and am busy collating data from various third party sources, such as Great Western Rail and Newbury & District Buses, to produce a press release – hopefully next week – about the success of the event. We also have a BID Board meeting next week for which I am gathering data from our Christmas in Newbury marketing campaign for a brief evaluation.
This week we had our final half page advert in Newbury Weekly News for our Christmas campaign, and our social media advertisements promoting the same message are rounding up nicely, reaching 170,000 people on Facebook alone since 12th November. Furthermore, the official video for our Christmas Lights Switch-On Festival – for which I created the start and end board – has been finalised and is available to view here.
Have you read our recent press release? This week I wrote a press release about the future of Newbury’s Crafty Craft. For those of you who haven’t already heard the news, Newbury Crafty Craft is seeking a new organiser for 2022 onwards! If you know of an organisation that would be interested in taking on the 47-year-old community event, please do get in touch with us by clicking here.
For the large part of this week, I have been working on a strategic communication plan for the BID Renewal: Term III 2022-2027 , for which will be full force ahead from next week.
Projects Update from Bri
We are delighted to announce that Brianna O’Sullivan has joined us this week as our new Project Assistant. Bri will be supporting all of us and she will also undertake the weekly cardboard collection going forward so say hello to her please and introduce yourselves if you see her out and about!
Business Community Updates & Shout Outs
Congratulations to 137 Gin’s beautiful new pop-up store at Parkway Shopping. The Newbury Pub team have done a fab job and we hope you take advantage of the pop-up while you can over the festive period. If you would like to book on for their upcoming Gin Tasting event, please click here.
Corn Exchange Newbury are reaching out to the small business community this Christmas to ask for support to help us recover from the impact of the pandemic and their Future Fund in the form of a small donation. From now, until the match funding pot runs out, Work for Good will match donations of up to £250 per business made through Work for Good’s platform. You can read more about it here.
Are you planning on voting ‘YES!’ to a further BID term? If so and you would be happy to provide a quote in favour for the BID remaining in situ for 2022-2027, please get in touch with us!
Newbury Town Council Update
Town Council Supports Local Charities
West Berkshire Council Update
Free bus travel to support Christmas shopping
For bus journeys starting in West Berkshire on Saturdays December 11 and 18 will be completely free.
In addition to the completely free travel for all bus journeys boarding in West Berkshire (with the exception of services to Marlborough and Swindon), it will also mean less congestion on the roads.
The scheme has been developed by West Berkshire Council in partnership with Reading Buses, Stagecoach Hampshire and Thames Travel. You can read the full press release here.
What's On Newsletter
Covid-19 Newsletter- Inclucing Plan B Guidance
Mental Health Support
Coronavirus Face Covering Posters for Businesses
We have received the following government poster through from WBC. If you would like a digital copy of this to print for your store or to upload to your website, please click here. Do also let us know if you would like physical copies and we will do what we can to arrange these for you with WBC. We expect new assets in line with the new Plan B guidance to be sent through shortly.
Here are links to the latest updates from the Government:
- Training and more testing to help people become HGV drivers – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Importing of hunting trophies banned to protect world’s threatened species – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- National flu and COVID-19 surveillance reports published – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Food Allergens Risk Assessment Part 2 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Business Secretary chairs Build Back Better Business Council meeting – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- 12 ways to ensure your Christmas won’t cost the earth! – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Government review into Storm Arwen response launched – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Over 200 employers called out for falling short of paying staff the minimum wage – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Health Secretary’s oral statement to Parliament on COVID-19 and Plan B – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Prime Minister confirms move to Plan B in England – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- PM opening statement at COVID-19 press conference: 8 December 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Review of measures for COVID-19 and flu vaccine programmes – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Self Assessment customers use monthly payment plans to pay £46 million in tax – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Government action following murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Government invests over £116 million to drive forward green innovation in the UK – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- UK Export Finance is ‘open for business’ with billions available for exporters – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Government announces £35 million for vital improvements to A40 in Oxford – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Largest ever increase in funding for drug treatment – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Tests required before travel to UK and Nigeria added to red list – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Government levels playing field for SMEs on Small Business Saturday – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Trade Secretary champions small businesses to reach their export potential – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Protecting Defence and keeping you safe this festive season – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- File Companies House accounts early and online to avoid delays – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- All adults to be offered COVID-19 boosters by end of January – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Events, Resources & Industry News
Business support during the COVID-19 crisis is available from the following organisations:
- West Berkshire Council – COVID-19 information for businesses – https://info.westberks.gov.uk/coronavirus-business
- Public Protection Partnership – advice and support on COVID guidelines and regulations – https://publicprotectionpartnership.org.uk/covid-19/
- Business Growth Hub – free COVID advice and support for businesses in Berkshire – https://www.berkshirebusinesshub.co.uk/
- Government – summary of COVID support available for businesses – https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support