The Great Easter Egg Hunt

The Great Easter Egg Hunt

The Great Easter Egg Hunt

An Easter egg hunt in Leamington town centre this April is aiming to hatch a bit of fun while encouraging families to support their high street as lockdown restrictions ease.

Encompassing 50 shops, The Great Easter Egg Hunt will run from Thursday April 1 to Wednesday April 28 and will also introduce treasure hunters to some new businesses as well.

BID Leamington has organised two trails around the town centre where colourful eggs will be displayed in shop windows.

There are two ‘golden eggs’ to be found, one on each route. Once found, the treasure hunters just have to jot down the name of the shop onto the entry form to be entered into a grand prize draw to be in with a chance to win one of five £50 vouchers to be spent in Leamington Spa town centre shops.

There is also an adaptation of the trail online at www.loveleamington.com for those who cannot make it into the town centre.

The Great Easter Egg Hunt coincides with the planned reopening of shops on April 12, and Alison Shaw, BID Project Manager at BID Leamington, hopes it will encourage people back into the town.

She said: “We wanted to spread a bit of Easter fun around Leamington and give families a reason to come back into the town and visit our fantastic shops.

“It’s a great way for people to explore the town again, visit a wide range of retailers and enjoy themselves after what’s been a tough year.

“We hope plenty of people give The Great Easter Egg Hunt a go, and we’re looking forward to seeing our shops welcome back their customers once again.”

Treasure hunters can also view artwork from youngsters who participated in the ‘I Love Leamington’ campaign organised jointly with Go Go Makers, who asked children to create a self-portrait inside a heart – including the words ‘I Love Leamington’.

Their pictures are now on display in a selection of shop windows until April 6, and will then be displayed in the Royal Priors Shopping Centre after April 12.

Alison added: “We’re delighted with what the young artists have created. Their work and the Great Easter Egg Hunt will both help to encourage people into town as our shops reopen.”

Entry forms for the Great Easter Egg Hunt can be downloaded online at www.loveleamington.com, can be picked up from the white unit on the Lower Mall of Royal Priors, or can be found in the Leamington Observer. Forms will also be available from shops once they have re-opened. A post box for posting entries will be located at Coffee Break on the Upper Mall of Royal Priors, or entries can be posted directly to BID Leamington.

Closing date for postal and online entries is Wednesday, April 28 and the winner will be notified by Wednesday, 5 May.

Further information can be found on www.loveleamington.com.

Image: Alison Shaw (left) with Esquires owner Martin Brown.

Business Update: Restart Grant – Applications Open

Business Update: Restart Grant – Applications Open

Business Update: Restart Grant – Applications Open

We hope you are all well and able to enjoy the start of the Easter and lighter evenings …Below is some important and welcome information relating to the ‘restart grants’ you do need to apply online this time…

1.  Business ‘Restart Grant’ – Applications Now Open

The restart grant relates to the announcement of further grant funding for retail, hospitality and leisure sector businesses in the Chancellors budget on 3 March. For eligible businesses (please see the link below), there is 1 x grant per rateable premise. There are two ‘stands’ of funding, offering different lump sum amounts as follows:

  • Strand one – Non-essential retail (rated premises – please see eligibility lists)
    • RV of £15,000 or under – One off payment of £2667
    • RV of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 – One off payment of £4000
    • RV of exactly £51,000 or over – One off payment of £6000
  • Strand two – Hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym (rated premises – please see eligibility lists)
    • RV of £15,000 or under – One off payment of £8000
    • RV of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 – One off payment of £12000
    • RV of exactly £51,000 or over – One off payment of £18000

It has now been confirmed you do need to complete a new online application for this scheme.

You will see there are a number of questions, as well as some mandatory information that has been added by BEISS this time around.

Payments to businesses will begin being made after the 6th of April, 2021.

ALL WDC Information and Eligibility Criteria can be found here: https://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/info/20068/business_awards_and_grants/1683/restart_grants

The Online Application Form is here: https://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/xfp/form/244

We hope this is welcome news for many of you – but we are always conscious of those who are not eligible / excluded and fall through the funding gaps. Reflecting this, we have already reached out to WDC to make a case for additional support for these businesses and we will keep you informed, however we always welcome your thoughts.

Full government guidance on the ‘restart scheme’ can be found by clicking here (PDF) doc.

To check your rateable value on the VOA please click here: https://www.gov.uk/correct-your-business-rates

 

2. Other Existing Grant Schemes

‘Closed Business Grant’ Scheme (16th February to 31st March, 2021)

WDC notified us around 3rd March that they had made a bulk payment to ‘closed businesses’ for the ongoing closed grants to cover the period from 16th February to 31st March. For many businesses this payment was automatic, based on you having previously applied for earlier grants, however for those that are new or had not previously applied, you still have up to 31 May 2021 to apply (if you have not done so already).

The details of the grant scheme, including amounts and links to apply retrospectively are here: https://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/info/20068/business_awards_and_grants/1684/closed_business_payment_from_16_february_to_31_march

New ARG Grant Scheme for Taxi Drivers and Private Hire Firms

We appreciate this may not be relevant to most of our members, but if you know anyone who may benefit from their please forward on the details. There is a new ARG scheme starting at Midday Friday 9th April. This ARG part F is exclusive to taxi drivers and private hire firms only. Details and eligibility criteria are here: https://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/info/20068/business_awards_and_grants/1638/additional_restrictions_grant_arg

Any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask …

 

3. Looking Forwards 

We continue to look toward April 12th with our fingers crossed and are working on a variety of plans to support the safe opening of our town centre.

In the meantime, please reach out if there is anything we can support you with. Don’t forget you can find a range of support information contained in previous emails and on our website including:

 

Also, the Royal Leamington Spa Town Centre Facebook page, Instagramtwitter and www.loveleamington.com is where we showcase what you are now doing, so please keep us updated on your plans.

Please join our Leamington Town Centre Facebook Group if you haven’t already and share your ideas, information, promotions etc. We also post updates on the BID Leamington Facebook Page and information on our website: www.bidleamington.com.

Best wishes – please take care and stay in touch.

Best wishes – please take care and stay in touch …

Steph & Alison

Business Update: Grants, Rates, Closures, Outside Trading

Business Update: Grants, Rates, Closures, Outside Trading

Business Update: Grants, Rates, Closures, Outside Trading

Morning everyone,

I hope you are all well.

We are looking towards April 12th with our fingers crossed and working on a variety of plans to support the safe opening of our town centre. This quick update covers the following:   

  1. Grant Funding & Business Rates Relief
  2. Parade Road Closure Update
  3. Pavement & Highway Trading Licencing – Hospitality Sector
  4. Next Steps, Events, Please Stay in Touch…

 

1.  Grant Funding & Business Rates Relief

Business Restart Grant (April onwards)

WDC grant updates and information is here: https://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/info/20068/business_awards_and_grants.

Following the announcement of further grant funding for retail, hospitality and leisure sector businesses in the Chancellors budget on 3 March, WDC are still awaiting guidance from BEIS on this scheme. Accordingly they are unable to provide businesses with detailed information about applicable amounts or qualifying criteria.

The expectation is that guidance will be published on March 22nd and that no payments can be made before April. We are not yet sure if there will be an application process either. We know this support funding is urgently needed and will keep you updated.

Retail Relief for 2021/22

Also announced in the Chancellors March 3 budget, was an extension to retail relief and nursery relief. Eligible businesses will get 100% of retail or nursery relief until 30 June 2021. After this date, 66% relief will be awarded.

WDC have confirmed that businesses will not be issued with a bill for the 100% relief period until June. A new bill will be issued in June showing the 66% relief and the instalments for the rest of the financial year.

If you wish to opt out of these reliefs being applied to your account, please send an enquiry form to the business rates team, clearly stating you wish to opt out and stating your business rate reference number.

Grant Closing Dates:

Please note, all of the existing grant schemes have closing dates.

So, if you have not applied / received any grant funding to date, or know someone who has a business who has not applied, please encourage them to make contact with Warwick District Council. This is particularly relevant to new businesses. Please see this link for relevant closing dates and details: https://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/info/20068/business_awards_and_grants.

Of note, all of the LRSG payments end on 31st march for new applications, except for the payment period of 16th Feb – 31st March, which closes for new applications on 31st May. So effectively, if someone applies on 1st April for retrospective closed payments, they’ll only be able to have paid the period from 16th Feb – 31st March, regardless of if they’ve been closed since 5th November.

Any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

 

2.  Parade Closure Update

Thank you to those who took part in our survey. The closure of the Parade continues to divide the opinion of businesses, residents and customers. You may have seen some recent press on this – both in respect to a local petition (please click here to view) and more recently a statement from Warwickshire County Council confirming their position now and in the future.

Warwickshire County Council Statement in the Courier: https://www.warwickcourier.co.uk/news/people/parade-in-leamington-to-remain-temporarily-pedestrianised-to-support-the-safe-reopening-of-the-town-centre-in-april-3166861

In summary, County Council Officers and Local Councillors agreed that the temporary closure will remain in place, to facilitate social distancing and outdoor trading while Covid restrictions, until June 21 at the earliest. After this time, assuming the roadmap does not change, it will be removed.

Officers and Councillors are in agreement that the closure is temporary, and any discussions or options for future changes will be done separately, as there remains a large number of unresolved challenges with the current scheme. This will be developed with stakeholder input and will be widely consulted on.

If you have not completed our survey yet, we would still be grateful for your feedback. You can find it here:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/6HB8P3Q

 

3.  Pavement Licensing – Hospitality Sector

Yesterday we emailed hospitality sector businesses a PDF guide to applying to a licence to trade on the pavement or highway. Please get in touch if you missed this email, or need further support or advice.

Key points are:

  • Placing seating on the pavement or highway requires a licence from Warwick District Council (WDC).
  • In the case of highway applications (e.g. parking spaces, loading bays, vehicle lanes) we recommend you obtain pre-application advice from Warwickshire County Council (WCC) in advance of applying. Once you apply, WDC will consult Warwickshire County Council (WCC) when assessing your application.
  • Applications cost £100. This is non-refundable (even if refused) and there is no legal appeal procedure but WDC will help you as much as they can.
  • Once submitted, the process takes 10 working days.
  • Within this, there is a 5 day public consultation period, where you have to advertise your application on your window.
  • To have outdoor seating approved by April 12th, and accounting for public holidays, applications should be submitted by March 24th.
  • You require a range of supporting plans and insurance documents.
  • BID Leamington is happy to support you.

Key Links and Contacts are:

 

4.  Next Steps, Projects, Getting Involved

BID Projects – Easter, Food Festival, Opening Support:

As mentioned in our last update, we are tentatively preparing for a range of promotions and future events.

  • Our Mother’s Day online promotion is currently live and runs until 31st March.
  • Over 50 businesses have signed up to the Town Centre Easter Egg Hunt and the list is now finalised. This will be delivered via egg shaped window vinyls for those that signed up, and also online. There will be two town centre trails based around a hunt for the golden egg.
  • We are tentatively beginning preparations for the Food & Drink Festival. If permitted, it will be 11th and 12th September, 2021. If you are interested in attending, please make contact with us by the 10th of April. Please email: alison@bidleamington.com.  
  • Finally, please get in touch if you need any fresh social distancing stickers or posters.


Other Activities –
WDC Spark 2021 Online Talks:

Recently, I was pleased to deliver a presentation on local ‘placemaking’ and the role the local community can play in supporting renewal, at the Warwick District Council ‘Spark Ignite’ 2021 conference. Many fascinating talks are now available online and cover a variety of topics.


BID Support / Advice
:

In the meantime, please reach out if there is anything we can support you with. Don’t forget you can find a range of support information contained in previous emails and on our website including:

 

Also, the Royal Leamington Spa Town Centre Facebook page, Instagramtwitter and www.loveleamington.com is where we showcase what you are now doing, so please keep us updated on your plans.

Please join our Leamington Town Centre Facebook Group if you haven’t already and share your ideas, information, promotions etc. We also post updates on the BID Leamington Facebook Page and information on our website: www.bidleamington.com.

Best wishes – please take care and stay in touch.

Best wishes and stay safe,

Steph & Alison

Hospitality: Outdoor Trading Licensing …

Hospitality: Outdoor Trading Licensing …

Hospitality: Outdoor Trading Licensing …

Hi everyone, 

I hope you are well.

You are no doubt aware of the continuing restrictions facing hospitality sector businesses from April 12th until at least May 117th whereby trading is only permitted outdoors.

Alongside this, regulations licencing trading on pavements and highways have been updated and extended.

Specifically, the process for licencing businesses to trade outdoors was transferred from Warwickshire County Council (WCC) to Warwick District Council (WDC) – though WCC remains in charge of highways (parking space, loading bays, lanes etc). 

Then on the 8th March 2021, Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick issued a letter to Local Authorities extending national guidance and making it easier and cheaper for pubs, restaurants and cafes to continue to make al fresco dining a reality with outside seating, tables and street stalls to serve food and drinks.

After reviewing the guidance, consulting WDC we have produced the attached guide. Please email us on info@bidleamington.com to receive a copy. 

This walks through the key steps, links, contacts and some helpful information to consider if you are thinking about applying for a pavement or highway trading licence and obtaining equipment.

Please note, if applying to trade on the highway we recommend you consult the highway authority (Warwickshire County Council (WCC) first. This will mean that any subsequent application to WDC (the licencing authority) will not be stopped in its tracks. We are happy to help and / or be cc’ed into any emails etc.

Key points in the attached presentation are: 

  • Placing seating on the pavement or highway requires a licence from Warwick District Council (WDC). 
  • In the case of highway applications (e.g. parking spaces, loading bays, vehicle lanes) we recommend you obtain pre-application advice from Warwickshire County Council (WCC) in advance of applying. Once you apply, WDC will formally consult WCC when assessing your application.
  • Applications cost £100. This is non-refundable (even if refused) and there is no appeal procedure, but WDC will do what they can to help you.  
  • Once submitted, the process takes 10 working days.
  • Within this, there is a 5 day public consultation period (which you must advertise on your business).
  • To have outdoor seating approved by April 12th, and accounting for public holidays, applications should be submitted by March 24th. 
  • You require a range of supporting plans and insurance documents.
  • BID Leamington is happy to support you where we can – please see within for details.

Key Links and Contacts are:

 

We appreciate this is a lot and it will not be viable for everyone, but we hope it helps. As contained within, this is a developing document, so please keep us updated with your experiences and we will update this information as required. There are also a number of parallel ongoing discussions about the use of certain green spaces and road closures, so we will keep relevant businesses updated.

As always, please drop us an email if you need support and we will do our best to help – and please keep us updated with your opening plans and preparations. 

Best wishes and stay safe,

Steph & Alison

Business Update: Budget, Road Closures, Insurance

Business Update: Budget, Road Closures, Insurance

Business Update: Budget, Road Closures, Insurance 

Morning everyone,

We hope you are safe and well.

The ground is once again moving fast as we look to understand existing and future grant funding arrangements and navigate the governments roadmap out of lockdown published on the 22nd of February. Like many, we welcomed this with a mixture of hope and caution as we map a recovery path for our town centre business community.

We are pleased to see some light at the end of the tunnel, though we are mindful there is still a long road ahead. Accordingly, following extensive industry lobbying efforts, we are eagerly awaiting further details of the Chancellors, budget announcement today. We know the furlough scheme will be extended, and there is an expectation of further grants, so we will update you with details when we know more.

Locally, we are pleased to see that the local vaccination programme is progressing, though we find recent rises in infection rates concerning. Alongside this, conversations with Warwickshire County Council about the Parade road closure are ongoing – and we welcome your feedback via the survey link here and below.

As always, there is much to digest, so please do not hesitate to reach out and please read on for further information on grants, our road closure survey, insurance claims and upcoming plans.

 

1. WDC ‘Closed Business’ Grant Information – 16th February to March 31st

All WDC Grant information and updates can be found at this link:

https://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/info/20068/business_awards_and_grants

In respect to forthcoming national lockdown grant payments, WDC have confirmed that they can make another bulk payment to closed businesses for the ongoing closed grants to cover the period from 16th February to 31st March. This process has now begun.

Amounts are below: 16 February – 31 March 2021

  • RV £15,000 or under : £2096.29
  • RV £15,001 – £50,999 : £3143.86
  • RV £51,000 and over: £4714.29

Anyone that’s already had a 2nd or 3rd lockdown payment or ongoing closed grants from WDC, does not need to reapply as you will be automatically paid.

After the 31st March … WDC will let us know and update their website when they have details of the new payment schedules for any businesses that remain legally mandated to close after that point. Please get in touch if you have any concerns or questions about your grant funding allocation as we are happy to help you look into this.

 

2. Other Grants

A new ARG-Part E’ grant is now open. This is for businesses who are mandated to be ‘open’, but who are suffering hardship as a result of this lockdown (please see below).

Also, we are aware that a recent Warwick County Council grant closed almost as fast as it opened, causing some frustration. We have fed this back to the County and will continue to notify you if we see other opportunities open.

ARG Scheme E:

For information:

  • The full list of businesses mandated to ‘close’ can be found by clicking here (please click).

 

3.  Road Closure Survey – Please help us by responding

As you know, the Parade and associated side streets (Regent and Warwick Street) have been closed to vehicular traffic and buses since June 2020. This was implemented as a temporary measure by Warwickshire County Council to facilitate Covid social distancing in high footfall areas.

We have been collecting business and customer feedback for some time (thank you to those who have fed back!), and regularly provide feedback to the County Council. We have learnt that whilst some customers, residents and businesses welcomed the changes, there are also significant unresolved challenges, particularly around bus stops, disabled access, amenities, impact on businesses on side streets and deliveries. Also, many cafes and restaurants who might benefit from additional road space for alfresco dining, are located beyond the closed area.

Another review of the scheme is being undertaken next week, so we wanted to update our understanding of your needs and views. It is very important that we can accurately speak on your behalf, so thank you in advance. This should take no longer than 5 minutes…

Please complete our short road closure survey here (please click below):

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/6HB8P3Q

We are also aware of a local petition seeking the retention of the Parade closure in the future, and attracting a mixed response on the Leamington Courier Facebook page. At this point, Warwickshire County Council have confirmed to us that current measures are temporary, and any future changes must go through a formal process of stakeholder consultation taking full account of business and community needs and views.

Reflecting this and the complexity of the issue, we will monitor this and other development plans (detailed below) closely. On balance, we support a consultative approach and feel that future changes to the highway and public realm must be carefully considered, as part of a renewed vision and strategy for our town. This must include a sustainable town-wide transport, parking and logistics strategy that is consulted on, designed and costed alongside other critical town centre needs.

Your views and thoughts are gratefully appreciated.

 

4. Insurance Claims – Business Interruption

Recently, the UK Supreme Court has handed down its judgment in the Financial Conduct Authority’s COVID-19 business interruption insurance test case, providing much-needed clarity regarding the coverage generally afforded to businesses for their COVID-19 related financial losses.This is a complicated area of insurance law and not something we have expertise in, however we have been researching avenues for your to find out more. The two most useful sources of information we can see are as follows:

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB):

The FSB have some useful summary details and webinar links found below and offer an advice service to members:


The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA):

The FCA have produce a policy checker tool below and the attached draft guidance (found here – please click).

We know of at least one business looking into this and are interested to know if there are more? … also, please remember to review and update your existing polices if you make changes to how your business is operating.

 

5.  Upcoming Plans & Activity

BID Projects:

Alison and I are preparing our spring / summer marketing and events programme. This will include a range of creative and inspiring online and town centre based promotions and activities designed to:

  • Thank our local community for supporting local businesses;
  • Showcase new and existing town centre businesses;
  • Welcome back customers and support relevant sectors to open, in accordance with government guidance;
  • Further develop the town’s online and social media presence; and
  • Prepare for the return of future events, so we can safely attract and welcome visitors with open arms.

Coming up is our Mother’s Day online promotion and our Town Centre Easter Egg Hunt, so please look out for Alison’s emails with more details on how to get involved.

Other Activities:

We continue to represent business interests with respect to a large amount of development and activity around the region and town centre, which we hope will support job creation and economic stability. This includes the possible development of the UK’s first Gigafactory, the Coventry City of Culture programme, and in Leamington a mega-lab for testing, works around the town centre in advance of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, development in the Town Hall and south town as a part of the Future High Street Fund.

Recently, I was also pleased to deliver a presentation on local ‘placemaking’ and the role the local community can play in supporting renewal, at the Warwick District Council ‘Spark Ignite’ 2021 conference. This will be available to view online soon.

BID Support / Advice:

In the meantime, please reach out if there is anything we can support you with. Don’t forget you can find a range of support information contained in previous emails and on our website including:

Also, the Royal Leamington Spa Town Centre Facebook page, Instagramtwitter and www.loveleamington.com is where we showcase what you are now doing, so please keep us updated on your plans.

Please join our Leamington Town Centre Facebook Group if you haven’t already and share your ideas, information, promotions etc. We also post updates on the BID Leamington Facebook Page and information on our website: www.bidleamington.com.

Best wishes – please take care and stay in touch.

Steph & Alison