CEO Update from Melissa
Please see the footfall stats for last week (10th-16th May) and the YTD trend below. The 7.5% week-on-week decline seen the previous week was overturned with a 7.5% rise, taking us back over 120k. We’re still tracking at about 66% of normal footfall for this time of year.
So far this week (Mon 17th-Fri 21st) footfall is about 5% lower than we saw in Step 2 of reopening from Mon 12th-Fri 16th April, but it’s up about 6% on the same period last week and is likely to be Newbury’s second busiest week since retail, hospitality and leisure businesses started to reopen.
The busiest day of last week was Saturday 15th with footfall of 23,693 – the busiest Saturday we’ve had in Newbury since early December.
Alison has provided a very thorough update (below) of the many things that have been going on in the BID world this week! We’re very much forging ahead with plans for the rest of the year now that we can have some confidence that the reopening roadmap is going to plan. We’re so excited to finally be able to bring a programme of events and activities to draw people into town and ensure they have a fantastic experience whilst they’re here!
On Thursday 27th May, I’ve been invited to speak at a 60 minute webinar exploring Eagle Quarter, the proposed new development on the site of the Kennet Centre, with owners Lochailort and their key advisors. This free event is open to all and you can book your spot here.
Operations Update from Alison
Wow – what a week! So this week I have been firming up details for our summer events calendar! Given that Step 4 on 21 June now looks highly likely to go ahead we can actually start planning and booking in events! However Covid-19 will still be with us then unfortunately, and the Safety Advisory Group require a minimum of 3 months to review and agree event plans. Therefore, we are proposing a summer full of markets, music on the square and children’s family fun to attract increased visitor footfall and provide you with excellent opportunities for business engagement and promotion!
ACTION: Summer Sundays Series – I’m looking for local artists / musicians / bands to perform in the Market Square on Sundays. If you have any suggestions or recommendations please do get in touch with me!
Looking ahead to the Autumn and Winter, we held a meeting with Newbury Town Council this week to propose a 3 day Food Festival in September and a 3 day Victorian Christmas Fayre in December – watch this space whilst our negotiations around use of the Market Place continue. These will both be fantastic and exciting events to look forward to and will be amazing opportunities for all our BID levy payers to get involved and create incredible weekend experiences for visitors!
ACTION: Our Chocolate Trail at Half Term goes live next Friday 28 May and runs until Sunday 6 June. Congratulations to our lucky BID levy payers who were quick enough to submit their interest to me and are now included in the Chocolate Trail! For all other BID levy payers, please do note that there will be an increased footfall in the town centre from this activity, so we recommend you maximise the opportunity and showcase your businesses! Perhaps consider how you can benefit from, for example, having a chocolate themed window display to compliment the Chocolate Trail? Food for thought – or rather chocolate for thought!
ACTION: As per last week’s comms, please do get in touch if you would like to join my Events Committee that I will set up later in the summer to start planning ahead collectively for great events – this is your town centre and we want you to be part of it and work with us so we can deliver what YOU want as our levy payers!
This week, I have also attended WBC’s Safety Advisory Group and presented on the upcoming monthly Artisan Market (restarting next Sunday 30th May), the Rotary Club’s Boules in the Square event (Sunday 18th July) and the return of the Vegan Market (Sunday 8th August) – so you can now get all these fantastic events booked into your calendar! I have also held Business 1:1’s with Costa Coffee (along with Melissa), and Hogan Music and also had a meeting with the Watermill Theatre to explore ideas for the future! It was so great to meet even more of our members and local contacts. Along with Parkway and Kennet, we also held a useful site meeting yesterday with a local children’s entertainment company looking at how we will deliver the family fun days – watch this space for more information!
ACTION: We have just received the promotional material for the Artisan Market and we need your support to publicise its return! Please let us know if you would like leaflets or posters to be displayed in your premises and Shaun our Senior Town Ranger can drop some to you in the week!
This week, as part of our BusinessWatch crime reduction scheme, we held our monthly Shopsafe meeting on Monday and our monthly PubWatch meeting n Thursday, chaired by Warwick from The Catherine Wheel & The Spare Wheel! I’ve also attended the national Events Industry Form that I sit on and it was really useful to get the latest national inside information! The test pilot events recently run have gone very well but there were a few logistical challenges in terms of managing Track & Trace and lateral flow testing onsite at large events that DCMS are currently working through…
I’m on annual leave next week (use it or lose it!) but please contact any of the team in my absence for anything urgent, otherwise I will be back in contact from 1st June onwards!
The Great Christmas Carnival event proposal for Newbury Racecourse – further to their recent pre-application consultation (details were emailed out in one of our updates earlier in the year), the racecourse have now submitted their planning application for this event. The planning application reference is 21/01079/COMIND and the application can be viewed by clicking here. Comments can be made directly through the website, by email (to: firstname.lastname@example.org) quoting the planning application reference number, or by writing to the Council. Further details on commenting on a planning application are provided on the Council’s website – here (West Berkshire Council – Objecting to or Supporting a Planning Application – Information).
Marketing Update from Kirsty
ACTION: If you have not yet sent over your business update for reopening, please email the details to me via email@example.com as soon as possible. Please help to support the campaign and drive visitors back to Newbury by sharing our content and engaging with our @VisitNewbury social platforms and website.
Rangers Update from Shaun
If you would like a dedicated 1:1 business visit with me, please email me via firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange.
My Rota for w/c 24th May 2021
Monday: London Road and Oxford Street including Saddlers Court
Tuesday: Northbrook Street, West Street and Weavers Walk
Wednesday: Kennet Centre, North end of Bartholomew Street, Market Place and Wharf Street
Thursday: Cheap Street, Market Street and South end of Bartholomew Street including Inches Yard
Friday: Mop up day and all over town
Business Community Updates & Shout Outs
The Chequers Hotel on Oxford Street has now reopened with its brand new al-fresco courtyard garden at the rear! The garden is beautiful and a fantastic new outdoor addition to the town centre. Please do pop along to see them and, whilst you’re there, try out their brand new menu at The Smoke House restaurant! The Chequers Hotel
Hogan Music – It’s never too late to learn! Hogan Music has launched a campaign to #TrySomethingNew and are inviting people to book a FREE music lesson try-out session, in person, at their centre on Bartholomew Street. This is the perfect opportunity to fit into your lunch break or after work! from piano and vocals to ukulele and saxophone, trumpet and guitar to drum kit and violin, the teachers at Hogan Music cover all instruments and genres. If you’d like to get involved, click here to book.
Parking spaces – One of the landlords of 51 Northbrook Street has been in contact, as he has seven parking spaces available on a long-term basis, which are accessible from Park Street. He is keen to support a local business by offering the spaces at a reasonable rent. If you would like to find out more, please email us or call us on 01635 760505 and we can put you in touch.
Newbury Town Council Update
Newbury Town Council are inviting young people to take part in a free online event following the outcomes of their Youth Voice Survey released earlier this year. Working collaboratively with Berkshire Youth, Time To Talk West Berkshire, and Community United West Berkshire, Newbury Town Council are hosting ‘Ask a Young Person’ on Thursday 17th June at 4:30pm via Zoom. Young people can find out more information, or register their interest in taking part in this event, by visiting the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ask-a-young-person-registration-153648413541
Newbury Town Council are pleased to be working with the Corn Exchange to bring outdoor events, which would usually be held indoors, to Victoria Park throughout the summer. The Corn Exchange are taking their activities outside with a full program of experiences available in Victoria Park and other venues in Newbury, which will include music, dance, early years music sessions, fine art and pottery, dance classes and summer holiday activities. You can find out more here: https://www.newbury.gov.uk/news/victoria-park-to-host-outdoor-events-program-in-partnership-with-the-corn-exchange-newbury/
West Berkshire Council Update
Welcome Back Business Grants
West Berkshire Council yesterday launched a new grant scheme designed to drive footfall into high streets and shopping areas and support our visitor economy this summer.
They are inviting businesses to apply for Welcome Back Business Grants of between £1,000 – £10,000, which can be used to implement temporary changes or host celebratory events that will allow you to welcome additional visitors and encourage new footfall.
Some examples of what could be funded are: temporary tables and chairs that allow you to seat additional visitors, gazebos to make use of outdoor space, or event activities that attract customers and celebrate reopening.
The deadline for applications is 21 June 2021, but WBC will be reviewing proposals on a rolling basis and aim to respond to everyone by 2 July.
ACTION: Please get in touch with Melissa or Alison if you would like any support in refining your ideas and submitting an application. We’d strongly encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity for additional funding to help you draw additional visitors to your business over the coming months!
Covid-19 Toolkit for Businesses
The Public Protection Partnership has put together an essential Covid-19 Toolkit for local businesses which contains logistics resources, a risk assessment template and action plan, communications and other guidance:
The Government website also contains various useful resources:
ACTION: If you don’t already receive it, we would strongly advise subscribing to West Berkshire Council’s business newsletter which contains lots of useful information and signposting. You can view the latest issue and subscribe yourself here.
Mental Health Support
Thames Valley Police Update
Lucie Gray will be leaving her role as the Town Centre Sergeant from the 1st June 2021 after being offered a fantastic opportunity to lead a project around Autism for the Force. Lucie has worked closely with us here at the BID since we joined as a new team last year and we will be very sad to see her go.
An interim acting Sergeant will oversee things until Lucie’s post is filled, which will hopefully be sometime in the summer. Town centre PC’s Katie, Ali and Emma will ensure that all town centre projects currently underway will continue, and the team have many plans to build on TVP’s successes as we move into the summer months.
Here are links to the latest updates from the Government:
- ‘Green’ claims: CMA sets out the dos and don’ts for businesses – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- PM announces plan for ‘Global Pandemic Radar’ – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Final round of tampon tax fund launched – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Government sets out new action to tackle B1.617.2 variant – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- New tariff suspension scheme tailored to UK economy – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): Health Secretary’s statement to Parliament – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Everyone in the United Kingdom with symptoms now eligible for coronavirus tests – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- One month left to join VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Oxford to play host to crucial G7 health talks – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Health and Social Care Secretary’s statement on coronavirus (COVID-19): 19 May 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- 7 in 10 UK adults receive first dose of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- More high streets set for funding boost as reopening accelerates – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Forestry Commission Chair welcomes new England Trees Action Plan to treble tree planting rates in England – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Environment Secretary to set out plans to restore nature and build back greener from the pandemic – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- UK to host its first global LGBT conference – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Events, Resources & Industry News
- 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