Supporting – Our Achievements

Supporting BID businesses

Objective: To deliver business support and efficiency savings, be a voice for local business and play an active role influencing the wider agenda.

BID Leamington is committed to providing on-going support to the businesses within the town and influencing the future direction as the town develops. We recognise that your business’ success also means the success of Royal Leamington Spa, and vice versa, so it’s by working together and supporting each other that we can bring mutually tangible results.

In support of businesses in the BID area, BID Leamington delivers 1:1 meetings, workshops, networking events, open meetings with guest speakers, and our “Toolbox Tips” via newsletters and this website.

Please explore this section to learn about our business support services. If there are any local issues that are affecting your business or you have ideas about how we can support your organisation, please contact us.

How BID Leamington supports your business:

  • Organises training courses
  • Provides information and access to business cost saving initiatives
  • Provides a range of tools to motivate, inspire and learn from
  • Offers business advice via 1:1 meetings, workshops, networking meetings and talks
  • Represents your collective voice on local business issues
  • Listens and acts on your concerns
  • Offers town planning advice and organises surgeries with WDC planners

2017/2018 Key Achievements & Activities

  • Represented businesses on the SME sub-group of the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and
    supported the new ‘retail sector’ representative at LEP Board level.
  • An active founding member of the Warwickshire Towns Network.
  • Provided bespoke support on issues such as business rates, planning and digital support to large and small businesses, and offered new businesses our ‘Business Launch Pack’ (available to anyone) which includes key business and media contacts, marketing tips, demographic information and launch event ideas.
  • Monitored town centre health using footfall, parking and vacancy rate data. The town centre is performing better than other West Midlands locations and the vacancy rate is consistently below the national average.
  • Defended the town against further unrestricted A1 out of town retail development. This included making representation at Council Planning Meetings and to the Planning Inspectorate during an appeal hearing. This work continues as further applications have come forward.
  • Represented business interests in managing the impact of proposed new developments in the town:
    • The 600 space Covent Garden Carpark redevelopment in the town centre beginning in February 2019.
    • The £1 million Heritage Lottery funded renovation of the Pump Room Gardens began in September 2017. BID is on the steering group.
    • The District Council has now announced a development partner for the Old Town Cultural Quarter.
  • Welcomed over 100 businesses to the ‘Place Part 2’ BID Business Meeting which started the consultation process for the new BID term 2018-23, Christmas Business Meeting and BID Launch Business Meeting. All aimed at informing businesses of the new BID Term and highlighting opportunities to get involved, swap ideas and find out about local issues.
  • Active member of the Warwickshire Retail Crime Initiative, Retail Radio Scheme and Safer Neighbourhood Forum. Regularly monitored crime and reported activity on behalf of BID members.
  • Monitored antisocial behavior and begging. We work in partnership with the Warwickshire Police and numerous local charities to tackle the issue of people begging and shop lifting.
  • Worked in partnership with the District Council, Police and Musicians Union to monitor and develop policy and guidance on ‘Town Centre Busking’.
  • Actively engaged with the District Council and County Council to ensure town centre car parking prices did not increase. Parking Angels were also deployed at Christmas. This work is on-going.
  • Contributed to a strategic group to address issues around vacant units in partnership with Invest Warwickshire.
  • Contributed to an update to the town planning / shop signage information brochure and provided advice to a number of businesses.
  • Further developed the Business Toolbox in the BID Newsletters and on the BID Website.

2015/2016 Key Achievements & Activities

  • Welcomed 39 new businesses into the town throughout the year and offered them the  ‘New Business Launch Pack’ (available to anyone) which includes key business and media contacts, marketing tips, demographic information and launch event ideas and key contacts to invite.
  • Monitored town centre health using footfall and vacancy rate data in the town centre. The average vacancy rate in the BID area is currently 3.9% which is half the national average and 1.3% less than last year.
  • Continue to represent business interests in respect to managing the impact of proposed new development in the town centre. In the past year the District Council has announced plans to develop the 600 space Covent Garden Carpark in the town centre, as well as a significant area of land including the Pump Rooms and part of the Old Town. This work is ongoing.
  • Worked to successfully defend the town against further unrestricted A1 out of town retail development. This included making representation at Council Planning Meetings and making representation to the Planning Inspectorate during an appeal hearing. This work also continues as further applications have come forward.
  • Welcomed around 50 businesses to the ‘Prepare for a Cracking Christmas’ Open Meeting in October 2015 and the ‘Love Leam’ Business Connect Meeting hosted at Deasil in partnership with the Chamber of Trade in March 2016. The aim was to connect businesses, highlight opportunities to get involved, swap ideas and find out about local issues.
  • Activity monitored antisocial behaviour and begging and helped relaunch the campaign to address these issues. Now called ‘Think Before Your Give’ we work in partnership with the Warwickshire Police and numerous local charities to tackle the issue of people begging. This includes public engagement, the production of posters and flyers as well as providing advice on responsible ways to help vulnerable people. Since relaunching we have seen the numbers of people begging reduce and an increase in those seeking help.
  • Working in partnership with the District Council, Police and Musicians Union to monitor and develop an appropriate policy and guidance on ‘Town Centre Busking’.
  • Further developed the Business Toolbox on the BID Website.
  • Actively engaged with the District Council and County Council to ensure town centre car parking prices did not increase. Spent a great deal of time working to address issues that have arisen as a result of the privatisation of the on-street parking enforcement.  This included the deployment of Parking Angels at Christmas and we have since welcomed the introduction of Ringo – pay by phone. This work is on-going.
  • Continued to support the Friends of the Pump Room Gardens on the successful Heritage Lottery Fund application to restore the Pump Room Gardens including the bandstand. This will see over one million pounds invested over five years, and the delivery of an enhanced ‘activity plan’ of events.
  • Provided town planning / shop signage information and advice.
  • Continued to work in partnerships with many town centre stakeholders to support project delivery. This included: The Chamber of Trade, Federation of Small Businesses, Warwickshire Police, The Shop Mobility Scheme, Leamington in Bloom, The Leamington History Group, The Leamington Society, Friends of the Pump Room Gardens, The Leamington Spa Town Council, the Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership, Community Arts Workshop and others.

2016/2017 Key Achievements & Activities

  • Represented businesses on the SME sub-group of the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and led on the proposal to have ‘retail sector’ representation at LEP Board level. This work involved liaison with DCLG and others.
  • An active founding member of the Warwickshire Towns Network and key note speaker at the first annual conference.
  • Provided bespoke support on issues such as business rates, planning and digital support to large and small businesses, and offered new businesses our ‘Business Launch Pack’ (available to anyone) which includes key business and media contacts, marketing tips, demographic information, launch event ideas and key contacts to invite.
  • Monitored town centre health using footfall, parking and vacancy rate data. The town centre is performing better than other West Midlands locations and the vacancy rate is consistently below the national average.
  • Represented business interests in managing the impact of proposed new developments in the town:
    • The 600 space Covent Garden Carpark redevelopment in the town centre will begin in May 2018. We have formed a ‘parking displacement strategy group’.
    • The £1 million Heritage Lottery funded renovation of the Pump Room Gardens will begin in September 2017. BID is on the steering group.
    • The District Council will announce a development partner for the Old Town Cultural Quarter imminently.
  • Defended the town against further unrestricted A1 out of town retail development. This included making representation at Council Planning Meetings and to the Planning Inspectorate during an appeal hearing. This work continues as further applications have come forward.
  • Welcomed around 50 businesses to the ‘Spaghetti and Segways’ BID Business Meeting in July 2016 and the ‘#WDYT – Love Leam’ Business Meeting hosted in February 2017. This aimed to connect businesses, highlight opportunities to get involved, swap ideas and find out about local issues.
  • Active member of the Warwickshire Retail Crime Initiative, Retail Radio Scheme and Safer Neighbourhood Forum. Regularly monitored crime and reported activity on behalf of BID members.
  • Monitored antisocial behavior and begging and helped relaunch the ‘Think Before Your Give’ campaign. We work in partnership with the Warwickshire Police and numerous local charities to tackle the issue of people begging and shop lifting.
  • Worked in partnership with the District Council, Police and Musicians Union to monitor and develop policy and guidance on ‘Town Centre Busking’.
  • Further developed the Business Toolbox on the BID Website.
  • Actively engaged with the District Council and County Council to ensure town centre car parking prices did not increase. Spent a great deal of time working to address issues that have arisen as a result of the privatisation of the on-street parking enforcement. This included the deployment of Parking Angels at Christmas and we have since welcomed the introduction of Ringo – pay by phone. This work is on-going.
  • Launched a strategic group to address issues around vacant units in partnership with Invest Warwickshire.
  • Provided town planning / shop signage information and advice to approx 15 businesses.

2014/2015 Key Achievements & Activities

  • Welcomed 38 new businesses into the town throughout the year.
  • Produced a ‘New Business Launch Pack’ (available to anyone) which includes key business and media contacts, marketing tips, demographic information and launch event ideas and key contacts to invite.
  • Monitored town centre health using footfall and vacancy rate data in the town centre. The average vacancy rate in the BID area is 7% which is half the national average.
  • Welcomed Jo Stroud from Fabulous as a guest speaker to the very popular ‘Xmas is Coming’ Open Meeting in October 2014
  • Welcomed around 40 businesses at the ‘Love is in the Air’ Business Connect Meeting in March 2015. This aimed to connect businesses serving the wedding sector as part of the LoveLeam month.
  • Relaunched the ‘Your Kindness Could Kill’ campaign in May 2015 in partnership with the Warwickshire Police and local charities to tackle the issue of people begging. This included public engagement, the production of posters and flyers as well as collection boxes in shops to provide an alternative place to give. Income collected is donated to the Salvation Army Way Ahead Project which supports homelessness in town. This is on-going.
  • Further developed the Business Toolbox on the BID Website.
  • Actively engaged with the District Council and County Council to ensure town centre car parking prices did not increase. Worked to address issues that have arisen as a result of the privatisation of the on-street enforcement contract by the County Council. This is on-going.
  • Supported the Friends of the Pump Room Gardens on the Heritage Lottery Fund application to restore the Pump Room Gardens including the bandstand.
  • Provided town planning / shop signage information and advice.
  • Developed successful partnerships with many town centre stakeholders to support project delivery. This included Warwickshire Police, The Shop Mobility Scheme, Leamington in Bloom, The Leamington History Group, The Leamington Society, Friends of the Pump Room Gardens, The Leamington Spa Town Council, the Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership, Community Arts Workshop and others.

2013/2014 Key Achievements & Activities

  • Welcomed 30 new businesses into the town throughout the year.
  • Welcomed Ruth Waring as a guest speaker to two very popular business Open Meetings entitled ‘Business Connect’.
  • Delivered a ‘Twitter & Linked in Skills’ workshop at our February Open Meeting. Provided Twitter & Social support to a number of local businesses.
  • Delivered the ‘Your Kindness Could Kill’ campaign in partnership with the Warwickshire Police and local charities to tackle the issue of people begging. This included public engagement, the production of posters and flyers as well as collection boxes in shops to provide an alternative place to give. The first collection yielded £139.57 which was divided between the Salvation Army and the Siloam Christian Ministry who support homelessness in town. This is on-going.
  • Helped a number of businesses save money on telecoms, energy and insurance through our partnership with Zone 4 Biz.
  • Further developed the Business Toolbox on the BID Website.
  • Actively engaged with the District Council and County Council to ensure town centre car parking prices did not increase. This is on-going.
  • Provided a town planning / shop signage information and advice service, as well as advice on Severn Trent Compensation.
  • Monitored town centre health using footfall and vacancy rate data in the town centre.
  • Developed successful partnerships with many stakeholders to support project delivery. This included Warwickshire Police, Severn Trent, The Shop Mobility Scheme, The Leamington History Group, The Leamington Spa Town Council, the Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership, Community Arts Workshop and others.

BID Newsletters

Our members receive regular updates by email as well as hand delivered newsletters which can be downloaded below.

October 2019

July 2019

February 2019

October 2018

August 2018

April 2018

January 2018

October 2017

June 2017

January 2017

July 2016

May 2016

November 2015

January 2015

October 2014

January 2014

Archives

Key Info & Downloads

Key Info & Downloads

BID Renewal Ballot 2018-2023

In March 2018, businesses will vote on the future of the Leamington Business Improvement District (BID) for the period to 2023. The BID has brought many benefits to the town and local businesses over the last ten years. Now it is time to renew your BID so we can continue to build on these assets for a further five years.

You will find information about our plans for the next five years in the Business Plan 2018-2023 which is available to view in hard copy on request and can be downloaded below. This document talks about what has been achieved, what we will do and outlines our vision and pledge to help you prosper in the future. You will also find information about the ballot process and why we think you should vote ‘YES’.

This is a critical decision for Royal Leamington Spa. Many would suggest that given the changes facing our town centre on the horizon, there has never been a more important time to have the support and representation BID Leamington provides. We cannot be complacent or think that things will not change and more importantly, it is wrong to think that the town will not suffer if this investment and focused management is lost.

There is no doubt there is more to do – but there is also no doubt there is more to lose by not investing at this crucial time in the life of our town. Please take the time to read and digest this information and call us on 01926 470 634 or email info@bidleamington.com if you have any questions.

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Dates & Documents

In the coming weeks business owners and managers will receive a number of important documents by post:

  • In early January a ‘Voter Nomination‘ letter will be posted out confirming where ballot papers will be sent. If you receive this and need your documents sent to an alternative address please complete and return the form in the envelope provided.
  • On 14th February the ‘Notice of Ballot‘ will arrive. This is for information only.
  • Finally, on the 1st March ‘Voting Papers‘ will arrive. Businesses will have 28 days to return the papers to the Electoral Reform Service (ERS) in London by post.
  • Ballot Papers must be received by ERS in London by 5pm on Wednesday 28th March for your vote to be counted.

PDF Downloads

Our Commitment 

In delivering its services BID Leamington will:

  • Serve businesses in a professional, open and transparent way
  • Be innovative and make knowledgeable, informed decisions
  • Be responsive and monitor the effectiveness of all projects
  • Support businesses and help them adapt to the changing retail environment
  • Involve businesses in voting for the BID and overseeing its operation for the benefit of all
  • Act as an advocate for businesses on important issues such as parking, planning and development

BID Launch Event 

Wednesday 7th February, 2018
5.30 for a 6pm start
House of Fraser Cafe – Angelica’s Tea & Cake

Guest speaker: Paul Shilton – Manager: House of Fraser
Plus: Covent Garden Development Update (Planning permission was granted January 9th)

We were very pleased to welcome businesses to House of Fraser for the launch of the BID Leamington renewal proposal.

Businesses learnt about how we will ensure the town centre remains a competitive, vibrant and well-managed destination in the future.

There is no doubt that given all the changes, challenges and opportunities facing the town centre, it is more important than ever that businesses have the focused delivery, representation and support that BID provides.

Among the topics, we discussed the way the town centre and consumer behaviour is changing and how with increased competition both online and in neighbouring towns and cities, the need to attract customers and enhance their experience is more important than ever. This may be through the delivery of events and marketing (valued at £160,000 per year) or the provision of enhancements such as maps, floral decorations and Christmas Lights and campaigning on issues such as parking and begging (valued at over £60,000 per year).

We covered developments that will be going on in the town centre during the next five year BID term. This includes the Covent Garden Car Park redevelopment (31% of spaces) and the Old Town Creative Quarter. Business representation is essential to ensure we successfully mitigate the impacts of this and create the right opportunities to improve the town.

More details of the evening can be found here.

BID Newsletters

Our members receive regular updates by email as well as hand delivered newsletters which can be downloaded below.

October 2019

July 2019

February 2019

October 2018

August 2018

April 2018

January 2018

October 2017

June 2017

January 2017

July 2016

May 2016

November 2015

January 2015

October 2014

January 2014

Archives

Key Info & Downloads

BID Q&A

Common Questions & Answers

We know that BIDs (Business Improvement Districts) can sometimes seem complicated so we hope these will answer some of your questions.

1. When and how was BID Leamington established?
BID Leamington was established in 2008 by the majority vote of businesses at the time for a 5-year term. The vision was to make ‘the crown in Royal Leamington Spa Sparkle’ by promoting and supporting businesses in the town centre and raising the profile of the town nationally. There was a ballot in 2013 and BID Leamington was renewed for a further 5 years.

In March 2018 businesses will be invited to support its continuation for a further 5 years. If the BID is not supported for a third term it will be disbanded by 30th June 2018 and all BID activities and services as set out within this website will cease.

2. Has the area the BID covers changed?
No, the BID area is the same as when it was set up in 2008 and can be viewed in the Business Plan on the ‘BID Ballot’ page (available February 7th).

3. Who votes on BID and what happens if you don’t vote?
In accordance with BID Regulations 2004, businesses that are subject to the mandatory levy are entitled to 1 vote per hereditament (legal definition “a unit of property”). The BID will be renewed if there is a majority by number AND by rateable value. This means, there must be more votes cast in favour than against (by number) AND of those, the total size (by RV) of hereditaments in favour must also be greater than those voting against. Like any democratic election, if you do not vote your voice will not be heard so we would encourage you to do so, and once established the outcome will apply to all eligible hereditaments as per the BID proposal.

4. Is the ballot process independent and neutral?
Yes, the ballot will be run by the Electoral Reform Service, on behalf of Warwick District Council who is the legal ‘accountable authority’. Whilst the Council does not influence BID activities in any way, they do have a legal obligation to run the ballot in accordance with the BID Regulations 2004. BID Leamington staff have no contact with ballot papers and will not find out the way a vote is cast.

5. Does the BID replace Council Services?
No, all projects and services delivered by BID are in addition to those delivered by the Council and would not be delivered otherwise. This is ensured by a legally binding baseline agreement which is available to view. In some cases the BID will enhance existing services e.g. the Christmas Lights. If the BID is not renewed, the Council will not pick up these services as they are under increasing pressure to make savings and generate more revenue.

6. Do towns with BIDs perform better than those without?
The evidence suggests that towns with BIDs are more prosperous and well managed than those without. There are now over 280 BIDs in the UK and at renewal we have seen a 91% success rate, which demonstrates private sector support for the concept. The majority of our neighbouring towns have established BIDs including Stratford, Rugby, Solihull, Banbury (newly established) and Coventry City Centre. There are now many BIDs operating in different parts of Birmingham.

Nearby towns without BIDs have tried to secure funding from other sources for projects that a BID would otherwise deliver, so it is clear that investment in our high streets is needed. We have seen the concept supported at the national level, with Government recommending that BIDs take on further responsibilities. Many established BIDs successfully secure additional funding, demonstrating the commitment other partners have to supporting towns that are prepared to invest in themselves.

This is an important decision. 10 years of focused investment and management has delivered measurable results and enabled the town to prosper in a tough economic climate. Looking forward there are big opportunities and challenges ahead and other towns are continuing to invest so it is important that Leamington does not stand still and remains a competitive, vibrant and well-managed destination.

7. How much do I pay?
This varies in different places and is set out in the Business Plan. In Leamington, retail and leisure businesses in the BID area with a ratable value (RV) of £15,000 and above are subject to the BID Levy. This is proportionate to the size of the business and calculated at 1.6% of the RV. For example, a business with an RV of £15,000 will pay £240 for the year. Our biggest levy payer contributes just over £10,000 per year. In total businesses contribute £300,000 per year. Each year, the BID team also generates an average of £90,000 of additional income from sponsorship, events and grants to support BID services. This means the funding that businesses contribute goes directly in activities and services. On average this additional revenue equates to around 32%. The BID team consists of 2 full time staff who serve almost 400 members.

8. How is the BID Levy collected?
The BID Levy is collected by Warwick District Council in July each year. This is a legal requirement to ensure collection is evenly applied across all businesses in the BID area and ensures neutrality (as business owners and managers who are part of the BID, also govern the BID). Normal financial collection processes apply and are set out in a legal ‘operating agreement’ which is available to view on request. Once collected the full amount is passed over to the BID to deliver agreed activities and services. Businesses can discuss payment options with the Council and BID staff will work very closely with businesses to ensure they are able to meet their obligations and get maximum return on investment.

9. How does the voluntary membership scheme work?
Smaller businesses that have a rateable value below £15,000 can choose to contribute and benefit from BID services as a voluntary member on a year by year basis. They pay the same proportionate sum as those who pay the mandatory levy with a minimum payment of £100 per year. As this is not mandatory they are not entitled to vote, however they are entitled to representation on the Board of Directors so can influence decisions. The threshold is based on a number of factors that are ultimately about ensuring maximum value for money from BID services for all involved. It is set out in the Business Plan and cannot be altered during the term of the BID.

10. What do I get for my money?
The BID Business Plan sets out exactly what services you will receive. It is informed by extensive consultation with local businesses and market research. Businesses benefit from the collective investment in marketing, enhancements, support and management and all are listed on the website and in promotional literature. However in general, the more you get involved with BID activities the more you can benefit. We find businesses benefit in different ways and, for many, this can cover the cost of their levy contribution. This may be through participating in events, offers, representation on our website and in directories, training or cost savings and more. At a strategic level, we are also ensuring the town is well managed and attracting increasing numbers of visitors. Your individual contribution also generates a lot of additional investment in the town.

11. How do you know what is good for my business?
The BID delivery team is qualified and brings extensive retail experience. In the last 6 years they have won multiple awards and accolades and their commitment to best practice, collaboration, innovation and transparency is recognised far beyond the town centre. They also answer to the elected Board of Directors which is made of up of a cross section of skilled and passionate business owners and managers in the BID area who represent different sectors such as major retail, property, marketing, finance, independent retail etc. Where necessary the Board will also bring in expert advisors.

12. Where can I find more information about the costs and other details?
Full details of the BID area, costs, breakdown of streets covered by BID and the levy arrangements are detailed in the BID Business Plan 2018-2023, which can be found with other information on this website. Alternatively please call 01926 470 634 and we will be happy to post you a copy or help with any further information.

Full details of BID Leamington activities, results and achievements can be found under the relevant tabs on this website:

Each year, BID Leamington prepares an Annual Report which can be downloaded here.

BID Newsletters

Our members receive regular updates by email as well as hand delivered newsletters which can be downloaded below.

October 2019

July 2019

February 2019

October 2018

August 2018

April 2018

January 2018

October 2017

June 2017

January 2017

July 2016

May 2016

November 2015

January 2015

October 2014

January 2014

Archives

Enhancing – Our Achievements

Providing a Warm Welcome

Objective: To ensure Royal Leamington Spa offers a beautiful, welcoming and safe environment where customers can easily discover and enjoy the unique offer.

It is predicted that by 2020 more than half of all non-food retail sales will be made online. This will drastically affect consumer habits, traditional face-to-face retail sales and town centre footfall. Also, attracting customers through great marketing can only be successful if we are able to back up our message when they arrive.

With this in mind, BID Leamington seeks to pro-actively buck the trend by ensuring that Royal Leamington Spa is seen as somewhere to have a great experience as well as shop. This will not only attract people but increase dwell time, spend, and encourage return visits.

Experiencing Royal Leamington Spa is about the whole package on offer – from first impressions, the welcome upon arrival, the way visitors get around and the things they do when they are here to the messages visitors take away and tell their friends about. It is also part of how we develop a commitment to the town – loyalty and pride.

To enhance the Royal Leamington Spa experience, BID Leamington aims to provide:

  • Street scene: Implement a calendar of beautification through street scene enhancements.
  • Way-finding: Ensure people can find what they are looking for, and raise awareness of the daytime and night-time offer so customers can explore and experience the whole town.
  • Leamington Ambassadors: Volunteers and supporters to help communicate what the town has to offer.
  • Think Before You Give Campaign: Encouraging people to give responsibly when faced with people who are begging in the local area.
  • The Purple Flag Scheme: Meeting the standards of evening and night-time economy management to offer ‘a better night out’ to visitors.

2017/2018 Highlights

  • Partnered with the ‘Royal Leamington Spa Town Council’ to support Leamington in Bloom.
  • Provided 250 beautiful floral baskets throughout the town.
  • Once again wowed approximately 10,000 visitors to the town’s Christmas Light switch-on with BID funded Christmas lights.
  • Uniformed Town Centre ‘Ambassadors’ were deployed in Leamington Spa during key events including the Food & Drink Festival, Christmas and the ‘Love Leam’ month in February.
  • Delivered improved signage in the Town Centre including a monolith on Parade and at the Train Station. This was a complex partnership project delivered jointly with Warwick District Council and the Town Council.
  • Provided guides and information to the Leamington History Group, Shop Mobility Scheme, Tourist Information and other groups who provide tours and visitor services.
  • Deployed uniformed Town Centre ‘Ambassadors’  in Leamington Spa during key events including the Food & Drink Festival, Christmas and the ‘Love Leam’ month in February.

2015/2016 Highlights

  • Partnered with ‘Leamington in Bloom’ and the ‘Royal Leamington Spa Town Council’ to launch a ‘Commercial Town Centre Floral Window’ competition as well as a photography competition and mosaic workshops to carry out ‘Well Dressing’ of the historic ‘Spa’.
  • Provided 250 beautiful floral baskets throughout the town.
  • Once again wowed approximately 10,000 visitors to the town’s Christmas Light switch-on with BID funded Christmas lights.
  • Uniformed Town Centre Ambassadors’ were deployed in Leamington Spa during key events including the Food & Drink Festival, Christmas and the ‘Love Leam’ month in February.
  • Received £10,000 from the Warwickshire County Council to contribute towards improved signage in the Town Centre. This is a complex partnership project to be delivered jointly with Warwick District Council and the Town Council. To date the audit, stakeholder survey and identification of actions is complete. We aim to implement physical infrastructure this coming year.

2014/2015 Highlights

  • Awarded Patricia Huckval from HM Graphics and Siddiqi Qamar and Hassanein Ahmed from the Royal Priors Shopping Centre Security Team, the ‘Town Centre Retail Hero’ individual and team award respectively. Nominated by store owners or managers that recognised employees who had gone the extra mile for their customers during the year. Other businesses whose staff got special recognition included Café Rouge, Cook, East, Ella’s Toy Shop, Fabulous, Indigo Hair, Louie Noir Lingerie, Royal Pug and Whittard of Chelsea.
  • Provided 250 beautiful floral baskets throughout the town.
  • Once again wowed approximately 10,000 visitors to the town’s Christmas Light switch-on with BID funded Christmas lights.
  • Received £5000 from Warwickshire County Council to support the development of a ‘Town Centre Ambassadors’ scheme in Leamington Spa. This was piloted during the ‘Love Leam’ month in February. Volunteers are now being recruited and trained ready for a formal launch later in the summer.
  • Received £5000 from the Royal Leamington Spa Town Council to contribute towards improved signage in the Town Centre. This is a complex partnership project to be delivered jointly with Warwick District Council and Warwickshire County Council.

2016/2017 Highlights

  • Partnered with the ‘Royal Leamington Spa Town Council’ to support Leamington in Bloom.
  • Provided 250 beautiful floral baskets throughout the town.
  • Once again wowed approximately 10,000 visitors to the town’s Christmas Light switch-on with BID funded Christmas lights.
  • Uniformed Town Centre ‘Ambassadors’ were deployed in Leamington Spa during key events including the Food & Drink Festival, Christmas and the ‘Love Leam’ month in February.
  • Secured £10,000 funding from the Warwickshire County Council to contribute towards improved signage in the Town Centre. This will include a monolith on Parade and at the Train Station. This is a complex partnership project to be delivered jointly with Warwick District Council and the Town Council. We aim to implement physical infrastructure this coming year.
  • Provided guides and information to the Leamington History Group, Shop Mobility Scheme, Tourist Information and other groups who provide tours and visitor services.
  • Implemented and managed the town’s new WIFI service.

RHS Chelsea 2014 – Highlights 

This ambitious project was aimed at showcasing the town nationally and bringing together the local business community. It was totally community funded and we are as proud of that as we are of the exhibit itself. The garden captured the town’s imagination; from schools to tradesmen and even a local film-maker and it brought together businesses and people who are at the heart of the community who want to do something lasting and amazing for their town.

Key Achievements

  • Secured a spot to showcase the town at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014 and won a coveted ‘RHS Chelsea Silver’ medal.
  • Raised over £60,000 of in-kind and financial contributions to deliver the project from over 80 businesses in the BID area and beyond.
  • Successfully engaged the local community in the project with 32 blooming buddies, 35 entries to the children’s ‘Dream Garden’ competition in February, 2000 visits to the Blooming Leamington website and 519 new Twitter Followers @BloomingLeam.
  • Achieved an estimated advertising value of £150,000 from PR generated. The project was showcased in regional and national publications every week in the three months prior to the show.
  • Television coverage included BBC Midlands Today, ITV Central News and BBC North West Today when the garden was featured 14 times over 2 weeks for a total time of approximately 18 minutes. The estimated advertising value of this was in the region of £80,000.
  • Radio coverage included 6 interviews on a number of BBC regional stations which equated to over 15 minutes on air.
  • The team distributed 8000 copies of the 28 page high quality Royal Leamington Spa exhibit documents at the show and 2000 copies locally. The print for this was kindly sponsored by Emmerson Press.
  • The project will leave a lasting legacy as the beautiful hand-made arbour designed by Clive Sanderson from Charles Branson Design is to be installed in the local gardens.

2013/2014 Highlights

  • Provided 250 beautiful floral baskets throughout the town.
  • Once again wowed approximately 10,000 visitors to the town’s Christmas Light switch-on with BID funded Christmas lights which were new this year.

Current Projects

The calendar of events, street scene improvements and way-finding activities can be found in the Marketing Plan, under Marketing and Promotional Activities.

Archive of Projects

Please contact us if you would like to view the records of projects delivered in previous years since the BID was established in July 2008.

BID Newsletters

Our members receive regular updates by email as well as hand delivered newsletters which can be downloaded below.

October 2019

July 2019

February 2019

October 2018

August 2018

April 2018

January 2018

October 2017

June 2017

January 2017

July 2016

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November 2015

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October 2014

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Town Centre Developments

Town Centre Developments

Town Centre Development

New developments in the town centre present both an exciting opportunity to go forward as well as challenges around managing the transition. BID is a key stakeholder representing business interests and is currently engaging on behalf of our members on the following development plans:

  • The Covent Garden Car Park (468 spaces) – due to be developed in early 2019.
  • A masterplan to regenerate the ‘Old Town’ (Cultural Quarter).
  • The Town Centre Vision and Neighbourhood Plan.

We actively monitor the health of the town centre and can provide information on footfall, car park use and vacancies. We also work in partnership with other stakeholders including the District and County Council, the Royal Priors Shopping Centre, Regent Court Shopping Centre, the Royal Leamington Spa Chamber of Trade and others.

We are very happy to meet prospective tennants, property owners and investors to discuss ideas or plans and to share information and experience. Please contact us on 01926 470 634 to make an appointment.

Covent Garden Car Park Development

 

Background: August 2016 – December 2018

The Covent Garden Car Park has been earmarked for renewal or redevelopment since 2012, as it has fallen into a state of disrepair. It is made up of a surface car parking area (81 spaces) used by people parking for less than 4 hours and a multi-storey car park (511 spaces) used for short and long stay parking. This is a popular place to park with ‘ticket sales’ averaging over 800 users per day (25,000 per month) made up of roughly 50% visitors/customers (short stay) and 50% town centre employees (long stay). There are also 132 permit holders using it.

In August 2016, the top two levels of the multi-storey car park were closed, bringing the total number of spaces from 592 to 468 spaces, which is the current capacity. Around this time, BID Leamington in partnership with the Royal Leamington Spa Chamber of Trade began actively speaking to Warwick District Council (WDC) about their redevelopment plans and welcomed the idea of new people working and living in town as well as investment in the car park.

Given it is the town’s largest car park and in peak trading periods it is often observed full, it was agreed that the disruption could be managed provided that a strong plan was in place prior to closure, to identify and communicate alternative parking for town centre visitors and staff. Accordingly, WDC gave assurances to the business community that a ‘displacement plan’ would be agreed prior to submitting planning permission for any future scheme.

In addition, existing town centre parking constraints were highlighted as well as evidence to suggest that future demand may grow by 17%, so more parking (not less) was suggested. Finally, it was felt, any future development should ideally be innovative and seek to solve some local issues. For example, improving the pedestrian link to the Upper Parade area, perhaps a waste management facility for businesses or some community office space for co-working.

Recognising the challenge that closing this car park presented, BID Leamington began helping WDC officers solve the car park displacement problem. This included research into demand, user profiles, the identification of alternative sites and innovative ways to support implementation and communication. We quite quickly realised that the core challenge is both finding spaces that are located suitably to support the type of visit (shopping, visitors, working etc) and then helping visitors to find the spaces whilst managing capacity, as it involves moving people from one very large car park, into many small ones that will fill up quickly.

Planning permission was submitted in September 2017 (and granted Jan 18) for the redevelopment of the site for new offices, housing and car parking. However, at this time there was still no displacement plan in place and there were a number of other design challenges, including an on-balance reduction in car parking spaces for the future and the loss of the pedestrian link. 

After much research and feedback from over 200 member businesses, in November 2017 BID Leamington formally wrote to WDC’s Chief Executive, to set out our concerns and request they consider adding levels to another nearby surface car park called Chandos St. It was felt the investment could be recovered in approximately five years and the additional parking would support future demand, including the Commonwealth Games in 2022. It would also help solve the challenge of where to move around 400 ‘short stay’ (shoppers) per day, as it would provide one well-known place to direct them to. Following this, the BID Leamington Board of Directors (alongside other key town centre stakeholders) took the unprecedented decision to lodge an objection to the planning application.

Since then and throughout 2018, we have continued to focus on the challenge of managing the imminent closure of the car park. Around July, BID Leamington suggested an independent parking consultant be engaged to help get consensus on both the need for and scale of a displacement plan, and we are grateful WDC agreed. The report was finalised recently (November 2018) and the details, including the Executive Summary are below. A full version of the report is available on request.

Press: Calls for Delay Supported

Following the completion of a report on the Covent Garden CP closure, BID Leamington and the Royal Leamington Spa Chamber of Trade are calling on Warwick District Council (WDC) to delay the closure until January 2020.

It is felt there is not enough time between now (Nov 2018) and March 2019 (the revised closure date) to implement the recommendations in the study. Given the risks of non-delivery and delay, a start date of January 2020 would allow time for the Station Approach car park (100 spaces) to be completed and open (due Dec 2019).

It is also important to ensure the closure does not go beyond two Christmas trading periods (November & December) and it is felt the proposed March 2019 start date leaves too little contingency time if the project overruns.

Please read on for more detailed information about this report, conclusions and next steps.

Please also note: Agreeing on the conclusion of this joint report, whilst an important step forward, is not the equivalent of agreeing the final displacement plan when it emerges, as there are still too many unknowns.

Press: Joint Parking Report Published

An independent review of Warwick District Council’s displacement parking plan associated with the closure of Leamington’s Covent Garden Car Park for redevelopment has reported its findings.

The high-level review was conducted by a specialist parking consultancy jointly appointed by Warwick District Council (WDC) and BID Leamington, ahead of the planned closure of Covent Garden in January 2019 for an estimated 18 months.

The review set out to agree the requirements of a displacement plan and advise on whether WDC’s displacement parking plan will be effective in accommodating users of Covent Garden during the closure, and to recommend any additional measures.

This press release is jointly agreed by BID Leamington & WDC. Please click here to read the full release. 

Please also note: Agreeing on the conclusion of this joint report, whilst an important step forward, is not the equivalent of agreeing the final displacement plan when it emerges, as there are still too many unknowns.

PDF Summary Document – The Numbers, Key Questions & Report Findings

“An important factor is the location of new spaces in respect to their suitability to the purpose of a visit. A number of proposed spaces are on the far side of Victoria Park, so would not suit ‘shoppers’. Also, the majority are in the south of the town, so a remaining challenge is how to encourage people to use them and how to manage what happens when they fill up. It is both a physical issue as access can also be difficult, and a behavioural change issue, that will take time, imagination and perhaps innovation to manage. Based on this, we feel more time is needed to work this out.”

WYG Covent Garden Closure Report

The joint independent consultancy report, draws a line under an important and challenging collaboration between BID Leamington and Warwick District Council (WDC), looking at how the closure of the Covent Garden car park for around 18 months is managed.

As this is a behavioural challenge not simply an academic one, it is important to reflect on the context explained below and within the report, rather than focusing on isolated statements or numbers.

BID Leamington are grateful for the support of WDC officers in delivering this report and where possible, look forward to supporting them as work progresses.

Objectives: 
  1. To determine if a car parking displacement plan is needed;
  2. To agree on the scale of the plan required to support the town centre economy;
  3. To review the draft WDC displacement plan, in terms of the number and location of spaces;
  4. To identify ways to address shortfalls and issues (recognising this would be difficult because a number of suggestions have already been explored and discounted by WDC e.g. additional level(s) on Chandos St).
Conclusions & Next Steps:
  1. On average the car park is used by over 800 people per day (25,000 per month) and currently (with two floors not operational) offers 27% of the town’s off-street parking supply.
  2. Having a Displacement Plan in place, prior to the closure, is of critical importance.
  3. The DP needs to provide for all 468 lost spaces and location is an important factor, otherwise people will not use the spaces. Based on this, the location of spaces must reflect the needs of different people, who have been defined as ‘short stay’ and ‘long stay’ users – see definitions below.
  4. Review of the existing WDC Displacement Plan (including existing ‘spare’ spaces) found, there is a shortfall of long-stay spaces (workers) during the weekday and a shortfall of short-stay spaces (shoppers) on Saturdays – which is a critical trading day. Also, communications and signage plans were not yet complete.
  5. The shortfall in car parks is accentuated until Station Approach CP opens in Dec 2019.
  6. Other challenges, largely related to location, were:
    • That new parking options in the DP are focused in the south, potentially impacting residential areas to the north, if users do not go there and choose to park on street;
    • The footfall and economies of local businesses may be impacted as shoppers park away from the Covent Garden area;
    • Moving users from one large car park into many smaller ones that are a greater distance away presents a behavioural change and communication challenge;
    • There is a heavy reliance on on-street parking which is controlled by WCC.
  7. To help mitigate this, 29 recommendations have been made to create additional parking as well as measures such as signage, communications, marketing, events and partnership working. These are welcomed and now the details need to be finalised and agreed.
  8. A number of options for new spaces are suggested. This includes Riverside House on weekdays (50) as well as weekends (260), new and re-purposing off-street spaces e.g. Archery Rd, Princes Dr and a number of changes to on-street parking layouts.
  9. A number of options are identified as high risk in terms of potential for delivery or need planning permission, so there is still some uncertainty and on-going work and assessment is needed.
  10. If all options are adopted, there will be just enough spaces however, the location related challenges remain. This includes helping people navigate to new empty spaces and ensuring distant car parks are used by the right people (e.g. not train commuters). The success of the proposed plan, also assumes full uptake of proposed options by the desired users e.g. all 94 spaces for long stay users on the far side of Victoria Park (Princes Dr).
  11. If any of the recommendations are not approved or delayed there will be a shortfall in spaces for certain users (shoppers and/or employees), so alternatives need to be found to avoid frustration, congestion and potential economic and reputational harm. The first year, with Station Approach closed, is particularly tight.
  12. Also, further measures, such as temporary park and ride services, should be considered, when demand is higher than average e.g. events, Christmas months etc.

Our view is that there is more work to do and potentially other creative and innovative ideas need to be explored, before a displacement plan can be finalised and delivered. Given planning permission and construction timeframes as well as the need to positively engage the wider community and inspire cooperation, it is likely this will require more time, than the three months available before the car park is due to close (March 2019).  

Furthermore we are mindful of the commitment that has been given to ensure construction does not go over two Christmas trading periods (November & December), so have concerns that a March 2019 or later start date may not leave sufficient contingency for potential construction delays. For this reason we support the Leamington Spa Chamber of Trade, who has requested that the start be delayed to January 2020 to enable more time to prepare. 

Assumptions & Limitations:

The consultants had to make judgements about a number of inherent challenges and assumptions, related to the use of technical data, from many sources, as well as people’s needs and behaviours. These have been outlined in the report and should be taken in to account when reviewing the conclusions.

For example, the demand for car parking spaces constantly changes in terms of the time of day, days of the week, events, seasons and physical / external changes such as, businesses opening (with staff parking needs), or edge of town development (such as new homes or road works).

Using ‘ticket sale’ data, demand was therefore based on average use over one year, at the peak time of 1pm. This means that when demand is ‘above average’ further interventions beyond those recommended in this study, will be needed to support businesses, particularly retailers, who rely on peak trading periods. Also, the figures did not account for times when the Covent Garden car park is beyond full. For example, when demand exceeds supply and drivers turn away (and don’t buy a ticket) as has been observed at Covent Garden.

Another assumption is related to parking visits, which were defined as either ‘short stay’ (less than 4 hrs) or ‘long stay’ (greater than 4 hrs). This was used to distinguish ‘shoppers’ whose visit may be shorter, but they need to be closer to their destination and ‘employees’, who stay longer and may be prepared to walk a bit further. A distance of less than 800m was used to guide what might be acceptable for a ‘shopper’ to walk and approx. 1000m for an ‘employee’. However, this does not account for specific user needs (e.g limited mobility) or how to support the change in behaviour needed, especially in winter or poor weather.

For these reasons, the assessment in this report may be considered conservative particularly prior to December 2019, when the Station Approach car park is not yet open (100 spaces).

Going Forwards:

BID Leamington will continue to monitor progress and feed the concerns of businesses back to WDC. BID Leamington are happy to facilitate further meetings with businesses and WDC as the impacts, particularly on those located closer to the site, go beyond car parking. We will also continue to identify innovative ideas, as we know it will take a ‘community approach’ to bridge the challenges related to this car park closure. 

The Report:

Our joint statement can be read above. The Executive Summary can be downloaded here. Please contact us for a copy of the full report.

BID Newsletters

Our members receive regular updates by email as well as hand delivered newsletters which can be downloaded below.

October 2019

July 2019

February 2019

October 2018

August 2018

April 2018

January 2018

October 2017

June 2017

January 2017

July 2016

May 2016

November 2015

January 2015

October 2014

January 2014

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