Marching On in The Face of Change
We have been doing lots of reflection and planning over the last few months, so we wanted to draw your attention to some of the things we have been thinking about.
The town centre has seen significant change as it has shifted to a retail and leisure destination. This is evident by the number of new restaurants and cafes that have opened and refurbished so we’re aware that there is now far more choice and competition. Among other things, this has resulted in a change in footfall patterns, both in terms of why people visit, where people go and the times of the day the town is most active.
In the wider landscape, shoppers in the UK are now leading the charge internationally with respect to the percentage (per head of population) who shop online. We know one of the towns USP’s is the ‘independent retail’ sector, so Love Leamington was launched largely to showcase our ‘indie businesses online’ but this is just the start. We have also seen a huge increase in the amount of engagement we have had with our digital marketing and over the Christmas period posted material for more than 400 businesses, products or events.
Supporting businesses at a time of change is very important to us. This is pushing us to consider how we can support and showcase our sectors further. Other changes have also prompted us to question things like trading hours; ‘click & collect’ parking bays; a ‘Taste Leamington’ web presence; town centre WIFI; supporting the ‘digital high street’ and collective costs saving initiatives. To help us gauge your interest we invite you to complete a short survey in the ‘toolbox’.
Looking to the local newspapers, changes at a local government level are creating both opportunities and challenges. While the localism agenda aims to bring decision making back into the hands of communities, this sits alongside funding cuts forcing local authorities to look at their priorities.
This has already resulted in changes to the way car parking is delivered and looking forward there are a number of development proposals being discussed for both the Pump Rooms & Spencer’s Yard and the Covent Garden Carpark. While there are no easy answers, we are certain the business community needs to be involved in decision making and shaping future changes.
These are among the many things that the BID team and partner organisations are working on so please get in touch if you would like to find out more…
By Stephanie Kerr
01 April 2016