CEO Update from Melissa
Please see the footfall stats for last week (14th – 20th June) and the YTD trend below. Visitor numbers were down slightly by 1.4% week-on-week, and footfall was at 77% of the numbers we saw in the same week two years ago. High streets across the UK saw a 5.4% week-on-week drop on average, so once again Newbury is faring favourably in comparison.
We have been hovering around the 75-80% of normal footfall levels since Stage 2 of reopening commenced on 12th April. My thoughts are that we are unlikely to see an increase until social contact restrictions are further eased and office workers start to return to the town centre. Even then, we know there are a number of local businesses which will be adopting a hybrid working model, with fewer people working full-time in the office.
In the short- to mid-term, this is going to continue to pose a challenge for Newbury as with many other towns, but in the longer term I feel very optimistic about the outlook. There is lots to feel positive about, including the level of current interest from businesses considering Newbury as their destination of choice, the work that’s being done to develop a vision for the future of Newbury town centre (see below for a Masterplan update), and the significant investment developers are proposing to make to regenerate and repurpose outdated areas of the town. Bringing more residents, workers, and a broad mix of businesses and community facilities into the town centre is key to its ongoing sustainability and there are a number of parties working closely in partnership to achieve this.
For this week so far, footfall is down 2.8% on the same period last week. We’re hoping the week will finish well though, with the Artisan Market in town on Sunday, which will have c. 40 stalls this month (compared to 25 in May).
The busiest day of last week was Saturday 19th with footfall of 26,728 (a very busy Saturday!), with peak numbers of visitors seen at around midday.
The key news to update you on this week is with regards to the next steps of the Newbury Town Centre Masterplan Study.
The Newbury Town Centre Working Group, which I sit on, met yesterday to receive a presentation from Hemingway Design and GL Hearn with regards to the draft Newbury Vision, which has been produced following analysis of the results of the initial Masterplan public survey. The survey received over 4,000 responses and has helped to shape this draft vision for the future of Newbury town centre.
ACTION: Please share the Newbury Vision with colleagues and within your professional and personal networks to help generate as many survey responses as possible. The final Newbury Vision will provide a blueprint for planning decisions going forward and it is vital that it reflects what people who live in, work in, and visit the town want and need. Please take this opportunity to have your say.
ACTION: We’ve been busy this week updating the Events section of the Visit Newbury website with more than 90 public events taking place in and around Newbury throughout the summer and autumn: https://visitnewbury.org.uk/enjoy/events/ Please share a link to this page with your networks to help spread the word and make people aware of the many great reasons to visit Newbury over the coming months. If there are any public events you’d like added to the section, please send an image, details, and a website link to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add the event for you.
Operations Update from Alison
This week I’ve been busy working on our Summer events programme! Our fingers are all crossed for Step 4 and for restrictions to be lifted on 19th July so that our summer events can finally commence!
Dates for your diary:
- The Family Fun Days will include shows and performances at the Market Place, Kennet Centre and Parkway Shopping and will take place on: Wednesday 28 July, Wednesday 11 August and Tuesday 24 August
- The Summer Series (Music in the Market Place) will be on: Sunday 25 July, Sunday 1 August, Sunday 15 August and Sunday 29 August
I shall be in touch with all the Market Place operators/businesses over the next few days to arrange to chat through the plans directly with everyone there.
ACTION: If you would like to get involved in any way or wish to hold an activity or promotion as part of the Family Fun Days, please do get in touch with me asap so we can discuss and include you in the programme of activities!
This week I have also been liaising with CAMRA to hopefully produce a Newbury Pub Guide – more information to follow! I have also hosted our monthly Events Meeting with the town centre stakeholders, met with the Town Council to continue our discussions for a 3 day Victorian Christmas Fayre, held meetings with an operator to discuss a potential Food Festival in September and met with Newbury’s Station Manager at Berkshire Fire & Rescue to see how we can work together on promoting community safety at events and in the town to businesses. I’ve also held a Business 1:1 with Plum & Grain and it was lovely to meet Kathryn there!
I’ve also attended my national LAEOG and EIF events meetings to explore contingencies for the summer events season and today had a follow up CCTV meeting to progress a new system for the town centre. More news to follow on that soon.
ACTION: Don’t forget that this Sunday sees the Artisan Market return after their successful relaunch last month! Well done to Natures Corner who we have arranged a free stall for. Please do promote and share the event page across your social media platforms by clicking here.
ACTION: The Government consultation for the Protect Duty finishes next Friday 2 July so please do respond to this as we need a strong voice for Newbury and this will potentially impact many of you! Protect Duty – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Please see National Counter Terrorism Policing HQ (NCTPHQ) Vigilance toolkit, Phase 2, in preparation for the next stage of the lifting of restrictions – the communications toolkit has been updated with new content to encourage vigilance and to report suspicious activity. Whilst that may now be a few weeks off it does include some useful Euros digital content which some venues may wish to use immediately to help us amplify this important vigilance messaging. You can view the latest counter terrorism bulletin here.
Marketing Update from Kirsty
This week has consisted of advertising deadlines from all angles! I’ve now signed-off our Digital Advertising Exchange (DAX) audio advert, our magnificent Visit Newbury Bus Superside advert, and all 8 Digital Advertising Display adverts are now being uploading to the external advertising platform as we speak. As well as finalising many of the upcoming digital and print advert creatives, I’ve also written and proofed copy across multiple print media advertorials. I’ve provided some examples of this week’s work below so you can start to visualise our campaign and see a little of what’s going on behind the scenes!
Digital Ad Exchange
Alongside the above and providing regular business support, booking in town traders, and daily social media updates, today I had a business 1:1 with Headcase Barbers and mid-week I held a really positive marketing and communications strategy session with the market operators of the Vegan Market (coming up on the 8th August- eek!). We’ve lots of great things coming up in Newbury at the moment and it’s vital we take every opportunity to shout about it!
ACTION: Is your retail or hospitality business keen to offer any vegan-specific promotions or provide an increase of vegan-friendly products in-store exclusively for Vegan Market day? If so, please email me so these can be promoted in our Visit Newbury marketing and also on the Newbury Vegan Market events page and Vegan Fairs website.
ACTION: We’re looking for businesses happy to promote our Vegan Market by displaying posters in their store front / shop window. These will be distributed once the market operator has the copy finalised, and so please get in touch with me if you’re keen to get involved!
ACTION: A reminder that I’m looking to host a professional photoshoot within the town centre to capture a series of lifestyle imagery to promote Newbury going forward. I’m looking to cast between 10-15 people from all ethnicities, genders and ages to be in these images in the town centre. Shoot day is TBC but is due to be sometime in July. This is not a paid opportunity. I’m looking primarily for the following:
x 1 couple aged 26-32
x 1 couple aged 35-45
x 1 young family of four with primary aged children
x 1 older family of 3 or 4 with secondary school aged children
x group of 4-6 women aged between 26-45
Thanks to those who have already expressed an interest. Please get in touch with me if you’re keen to be involved. Participants must be willing to provide photos and answer a series of questions upon expressing their interest.
Rangers Update from Shaun
My Rota for w/c 28th June 2021
Monday: London Road, Oxford Street and Saddlers Court
Tuesday: Kennet Centre, north end of Bartholomew Street, Market Place and Wharf Street
Wednesday: Northbrook Street, West Street and Weavers Walk
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
West Berkshire Council Update
Health and Wellbeing Strategy
Residents of West Berkshire are being invited to review the draft Berkshire West Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2021-2030. Read more and take the survey by clicking here.
Mental Health Support
Here are links to the latest updates from the Government:
- Third round of Culture Recovery Fund to secure future of thousands of organisations – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- CMA to investigate Amazon and Google over fake reviews – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- UK travel update: Malta added to green list and green watchlist extended as plans for quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated passengers from amber list countries confirmed – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- UN Economic and Social Council: UK statement on humanitarian action and climate change – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- New advertising rules to help tackle childhood obesity – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Ministry of Justice launches legal support pilot for housing disrepair – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- New research shows 2 million people may have had long COVID – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment statement on coronavirus (COVID-19): 23 June 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- 3 in 5 UK adults receive both doses of COVID-19 vaccine – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- UK government provides highest level of support for exporters in 30 years – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- £483 million investment to boost and improve school buildings – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Incident Management – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Government announces more than 60,000 fans permitted to attend Euro 2020 semi-finals – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- English families get extended support with food and utility bills – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Updated ID checking guidelines in line with new right to work rules – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Changes to the training you need for an SIA licence – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Insolvency Service takes action against businesses abusing COVID-19 financial support – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Deliveroo to boost government efforts to tackle variants of concern – 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