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

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

May 2016

November 2015

January 2015

October 2014

January 2014

Archives

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

Archives

Promoting – Our Achievements

Promoting Your Business & the Town Centre

Objective: To attract customers from neighbouring areas and stop leakage to other destinations while building loyalty and fostering creativity, innovation and community spirit.

Royal Leamington Spa has a clear vision of its future direction and a strategy that places the customer at the centre of its decision making. By continuing to implement the Royal Leamington Spa ‘Story’, we actively and consistently promote the town’s offer to increase sales through events and promotions. We also help develop loyalty and pride in the town and embrace emerging technologies.

The Marketing Plan

With this in mind BID Leamington has undertaken an extensive amount of research and consultation. Following a series of 1:1 interviews with key stakeholders and a community workshop that was attended by 80 participants, BID Leamington identified Key Themes and the ‘Big Idea’ to guide promotion and future development of the town.

This research was then fed into the development of a detailed Marketing Plan including Objectives, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Identification of Key Audiences and Key Messages which inform all the Marketing and Promotional Activities. BID Leamington also developed a Graphic Language and Photographic Gallery which is now available to support BID’s promotions as well as other businesses who wish to promote themselves within Royal Leamington Spa.

Finally we identified how this research can enhance your own marketing and how everyone in the business district can help to ensure Royal Leamington Spa’s proposition is as powerful as possible. Using this information, BID Leamington’s aim is to deliver a customer-driven programme that tackles issues identified by businesses with the aim of increasing the number of people that visit, return and invest in Royal Leamington Spa.

Please read on to see our achievements …

Themes & Big Idea

Stakeholders were asked the following questions to help understand Royal Leamington Spa’s offer and strategic direction. This was distilled into 3 themes and a big idea.

  • What is Leamington Spa for?
  • Who is Leamington Spa for?
  • Why is Leamington Spa different?
  • What is Leamington Spa’s ambition?
  • What is Leamington Spa’s ‘story’ / what are we saying about the town?

2017/2018

Key Awards & Achievements

  • Over 5,500 posts have been made on social media this year, with over 400 businesses specifically mentioned. There are at least 8 posts per day on various targeted accounts.
  • 9% increase in Facebook and Twitter and a further 40% increase in Instagram followers in the last 12 months.
  • Achieved a significant annual increase in engagement across all the digital platforms we manage. This includes seven of the town’s most visited websites and six different social media platforms.
  • Monthly local and regional advertising with Live 24/7,Edge /Cornfield, Observer and Courier as well as editorial. To date 80 businesses have been specifically mentioned in copy.
  • Attracted an estimated 27,000 visitors to the spectacular Food and Drink Festival and raised over £35,000 additional revenue to support the event.
  • Delivered extensive marketing and PR campaigns monthly across a range of media (trainlines, coach operators, radio, print, digital, social media) from London to Birmingham and beyond.
  • In the four goodie bag promotions during the year, 100 businesses gave us flyers to distribute in 2000 branded cotton shoppers. This represents us distributing over 200,000 flyers on their behalf.
  • ‘Leamington Angels’ high street ambassadors returned and engaged with hundreds of customers over the Christmas trading period.
  • Around 5000 people attended the Christmas Lantern Parade. Over 200 presents were donated to Children’s Support in Holly Walk and Helping Hands.
  • Christmas campaign exceeded all targets. Events and promotions included the ‘Golden Ticket’ (over 3000 entriesreturn rate 8%).
  • Over 150 multiple and independent retailers involved in the September 2017 & May 2018 Little Book of Offers. 20,000 books printed.
  • Achieved increased participation in events and promotions with over 560 direct business engagements throughout the year.
  • Leamington on Air! – Touch Radio & Free Radio advertising campaigns in February, March, July, August, November and December as well as numerous interviews.
  • Distributed over 140,000 Maps and Visitor Guides including the ‘Taste Leamington’ Visitor Guide listing all our eateries in the Town Centre. These are distributed via local Visitor Information Centres, hotels and B&B’s throughout the region.

2015/2016

Key Awards & Achievements

  • Runner-up in British BIDs 2015 National ‘Proud Project’ Place Marketing Awards for the Food & Drink Festival 2015. BID Leamington also won this in 2012 and 2014 and was runner up in 2013.
  • Shortlisted for the BCSC Purple Apple Marketing Awards in 2016 for the ‘Experience a Magical Christmas’ campaign delivered in partnership with the Royal Priors Shopping Centre.
  • Secured £21,000 of additional funding to deliver free WIFI within a key part of the town centre. This will also offer a bespoke landing page to promote activities in the town, footfall data and user data.
  • Leamington Angels was featured on BBC Midlands Today (6pm & 10pm News).
  • Christmas campaign exceeded all targets and attracted £590,000 of press coverage in the local and national media.
  • Achieved a significant annual increase in engagement and reach across all the digital platforms we manage. This includes seven of the town’s most visited websites and six different social media platforms.
  • Over 5000 posts have been made on social media, with over 400 businesses specifically mentioned. There are at least 8 posts per day on various targeted accounts.
  • Monthly local and regional advertising with Live 24/7, Edge, Observer and Courier as well as editorial. To date 100 businesses have been specifically mentioned in copy.
  • Developed an ‘Augmented Reality’ Christmas window using the ‘Layar’ App which brought the window to life with moving animations. This was the first of its kind in the UK and though the use of Royal Priors WIFI, resulted in an additional 3,000 email contacts.
  • Achieved increased organic social media growth including a 24.7% increase in Facebook likes (4,523 likes) a 33.8% increase in Twitter followers (7,787 followers) and 211% increase in Instagram followers (791 followers) in the last 12 months.
  • Attracted an estimated 30,000 visitors to the spectacular Food Drink Festival and raised over £30,000 additional revenue to support the event. Launched the ‘Great Leamington Bake Off’ and generated PR with an equivalent advertising value (EAV) of almost £100,000.
  • Over 5000 people attended the Christmas Lantern Parade. This was a 150 % increase on the previous year and the Facebook ‘event page’ had over 5800 engagements.
  • The ‘Golden Ticket’ promotion had a strong return rate of 8.4% with 3376 entries.
  • Over 111 multiple and independent retailers involved in the September 2015 & May 2016 Little Book of Offers. 25,000 books printed.
  • Achieved increased participation with over 560 direct business engagements in events and promotions throughout the year.
  • In each of the four goodie bag promotions 25-35 businesses gave us flyers to distribute in 500-1000 branded cotton shoppers. This represents us distributing over 40,000 fliers on behalf of around 100 local businesses.
  • Leamington on Air! – Touch Radio & Free Radio advertising campaigns in February, August, November and December as well as numerous interviews.
  • Distributed over 40,000 Maps and Visitor Guides including the ‘Late Night Leam’ Visitor Guide listing evening economy businesses. These are distributed via local Visitor Information Centres, hotels and B&B’s throughout the region.

2013/2014

Key Awards & Achievements

  • Runner up for the British BIDs 2013 National ‘Proud Project’ Award for the Leamington Lantern Parade, following the success of winning the award in 2012 for the ‘Golden Ticket’.
  • Attracted an estimated 25,000 visitors to the spectacular Food Drink Festival and raised over £18,000 additional revenue to support the event. Showcased 15 businesses via the Taste Trail with 1000 tickets sold.
  • Achieved a strong Christmas trading period particularly in the Royal Priors Shopping Centre where 67% of retailers achieved or exceeded their targets foot fall was up 2% on last year in the Christmas period and up by 5% in sale week (Boxing Day – New Year).
  • Continued to implement Royal Leamington Spa ‘Story’ and delivered powerful marketing and promotions across a range of indoor and outdoor media.
  • Over 80 multiple and independent retailers involved in the September 2013 & May 2014 Little Book of Offers. 25,000 books printed.
  • Achieved a massive 13% response rate to the Christmas Golden Ticket promotion with over 6000 entries from in-store visits plus valuable postcode data and 1000 new email addresses collected.
  • Received £8500 from the County Council operation footfall grant and launched the ‘Love Leam’ month of activities in February. This included promoting 35 events and 6 competitions on behalf of local businesses. Sammy’s Elephant Trail had 55 entries, ‘Tell us Why You Love Leam’ poetry competition had 24 entries. We launched the ‘Love Leam Challenge’ and distributed 5000 ‘Love Leam’ postcards plus 2000 ‘Vintage Leam’ flyers. This was backed up by a month of local regional advertising in papers, magazines and on the radio.
  • Launched the LoveLeamington.com website including the #loveleam homepage to showcase local tweets, events and offers. The website had 6910 hits during February and now gets an average of 1300 visitors per month.
  • Launched a ‘Fashion on the Move’ event in February. 15 fashion retailers took part and 2000 ‘love leam’ goodies bags were distributed containing offers from 25 businesses.
  • Continued to update and improve the new Royal-Leamington-Spa.co.uk website. It gets an average of 23,000 visitors per month.
  • Launched the ‘Late Night Leam’ Visitor Guide listing evening economy businesses – 5,000 distributed locally.
  • Continued to develop the Leamington Spa’kle Loyalty Card Scheme. Distributed a further 1000 cards to pre-registered customers.
  • A 53% increase in Facebook ‘likes’ (3126 likes) and a 93% increase in twitter ‘followers’ (4061 followers) in the last 12 months.
  • Over 1000 torch-lit lanterns carried by over 2000 people lit up Leamington during the Christmas Lantern Parade.

 

 

 

 

2016/2017

Key Awards & Achievements

  • Won £10,000 of bus advertising from Exterion Media in the 2016 ‘StreetReach’ competition. This was used to promote the ‘Summer of Fun’. Buses were seen as far away as Birmingham.
  • Secured £5,000 of additional funding to deliver free town centre WIFI  – with a bespoke landing page to promote activities in the town, and gather user data.
  • Secured £5,000 of additional funding to host the ‘Leamington Star-Eaters’ event. This attracted over 80 participants and directly involved 15 businesses on the trail.
  • Launched the ‘Taste Leamington’ brand and www.tasteleamington.com website which features a directory of 100 businesses, events, news, reviews, blogs and vlogs.
  • Working in partnership with GFirst LEP, launched the #WDYT #LoveLeam digital campaign. Leamington is now in the top 30 of the UK Digital Influence Indexrising from 189 to 28 and putting it above rivals including Coventry (33), Stratford (208) and Warwick (322).
  • Over 5,000 posts have been made on social media this year, with over 400 businesses specifically mentioned. There
    are at least 8 posts per day on various targeted accounts.
  • Achieved increased organic social media growth including a 26.7% increase in Facebook likes (5731 likes) a 53.4% increase in Twitter followers (11,942 followers) and 53% increase in Instagram followers in the last 12 months.
  • Achieved a significant annual increase in engagement across all the digital platforms we manage. This includes seven of the town’s most visited websites and six different social media platforms.
  • Monthly local and regional advertising with Live 24/7, Edge /Cornfield, Observer and Courier as well as editorial. To date 100 businesses have been specifically mentioned in copy.
  • Attracted an estimated 25,000 visitors to the spectacular Food and Drink Festival and raised over £35,000 additional revenue to support the event.
  • Generated PR with an equivalent advertising value (EAV) of almost £100,000.
  • In each of the four goodie bag promotions 25-35 businesses gave us flyers to distribute in 500-1000 branded cotton
    shoppers. This represents us distributing over 40,000 flyers on behalf of around 100 local businesses.
  • ‘Leamington Angel’ high street ambassadors returned and engaged with hundreds of customers over the Christmas trading period.
  • Around 5000 people attended the Christmas Lantern Parade. Over 200 presents were donated to Children’s Support in Holly Walk and Helping Hands.
  • Christmas campaign exceeded all targets. Events and promotions included the ‘Golden Ticket’ (over 3000 entries return rate 10.9%), the Nutcracker Trail, the Myton Santa Dash (2000 Santas).
  • Over 150 multiple and independent retailers involved in the September 2016 & May 2017 Little Book of Offers. 20,000 books printed.
  • Achieved increased participation with over 560 direct business engagements in events and promotions throughout the year.
  • Leamington on Air! – Touch Radio & Free Radio advertising campaigns in February, March, July, August, November and
    December as well as numerous interviews.
  • Distributed over 40,000 Maps and Visitor Guides including the ‘Taste Leamington’ Visitor Guide listing all our eateries in the Town Centre. These are distributed via local Visitor Information Centres, hotels and B&B’s throughout the region.

2014/2015

Key Awards & Achievements

  • Winner of the British BIDs 2014 National ‘Proud Project’ Place Marketing Award for the Royal Leamington Spa RHS Chelsea 2014 project. BID Leamington also won this in 2012 and was runner up in 2013.
  • Attracted an estimated 25,000 visitors to the spectacular Food Drink Festival and raised over £30,000 additional revenue to support the event. Launch the ‘Home Cook of the Year’ Competition generating PR with an equivalent advertising value (EAV) of almost £100,000.
  • Continued to implement Royal Leamington Spa ‘Story’ and delivered powerful marketing and promotions across a range of indoor and outdoor media.
  • Over 80 multiple and independent retailers involved in the September 2014 & May 2015 Little Book of Offers. 25,000 books printed.
  • Once again, achieved a massive 13% response rate to the Christmas Golden Ticket promotion with over 6000 entries from in-store visits plus valuable postcode data and email addresses collected. 96 gifts were donated from 75 businesses with a value of over £5000.
  • The ‘Love Leam’ month of activities in February grew in popularity and impact. The hashtag #LoveLeam is now firmly embedded into the narrative of the town. Events and competitions included the ‘Red Windows’ Competition with 11 entries, the distribution of 200 ‘Treat Someone Special Today’ balloons on Valentine’s Day, and ‘Fashion on the Move’ where 12 fashion retailers took part and 2000 ‘love leam’ goody bags were distributed containing offers from 25 businesses. This was backed up by a month of local and regional advertising in papers, magazines and on the radio inviting the town to take the ‘Love Leam Challenge’.
  • The LoveLeamington.com website– including the #loveleam homepage to showcase local tweets, events and offers had 6910 hits/ engagements during February and now gets an average of 1300 visitors per month.
  • Updated and launched a new responsive Royal-Leamington-Spa.co.uk website. It gets an average of 28,000 visitors per month.
  • Leamington on Air! Touch Radio & Free Radio advertising campaigns in February, August, November and December.
  • Distributed the full range of over 80,000 Maps and Business Guides including the ‘Late Night Leam’ Visitor Guide listing evening economy businesses.
  • Launched a Royal Leamington Spa Instagram account and a Royal Leamington Spa ‘You Tube Channel’ with two short films.
  • Achieved steady organic social media growth including a 16% increase in Facebook likes (3625 likes) and a 44% increase in twitter ‘followers’ (5821 followers) in the last 12 months.
  • Over 1000 torch-lit lanterns illuminated up Leamington during the Christmas Lantern Parade.

 

 

 

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