Huge thanks to our lead sponsor, Visit Newbury and the Newbury Business Improvement District. We are delighted that they are able to support our conference. Read on to learn from Laurie-Jane Cann, Chief Executive Officer, about their role in supporting the town and find out exactly what a BID is.
Newbury Business Improvement District (Newbury BID) is an independent, not for profit, business-led initiative voted for by the businesses of Newbury in 2012 and then again 2017.
What is a BID?
Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are primarily partnerships between local authorities and local businesses which are intended to provide additional services or improvements to a specified area. A BID must be agreed by ballot and is funded in whole or in part by a levy on those liable for non-domestic rates. This is sometimes linked to, but usually collected separately from, their business rate liability, and non-payment of the levy is subject to similar remedial action by the billing body.
Although the first BIDs in the UK only came into being in 2005, there are now over 300 of them across the UK and Ireland serving major cities, town centres, commercial and industrial areas, business parks, and more recently tourism destinations.
Our Journey So Far
In its first five-year term 2012-2017 Newbury BID put down its roots. Initiatives delivered were championed by the BID and can be mapped back to the original business plan the local businesses voted for. Highlights include Retention of a lower than Regional and National Average vacant unit rate. Installation of a footfall camera to capture key footfall data. A full programme of events in the Town Centre including each year including food festivals, late night shopping, Christmas light parade, Easter and Halloween hunts. Significant social media campaigns resulting in a strong online presence and social community for people local to Newbury and visitors and taking ownership of www.visitnewbury.org website, providing a focal point for everything in Newbury & West Berkshire.
Newbury BID was also acknowledged as an example of good practice by receiving the National British BID’s accreditation. This is an award in recognition of its approach and implementation.
Voted in for a second term in 2017 and with a new management team in place from April 2019 the BID continues to show great return on the individual businesses levy payments and additionality around activity that is funded by the Local Authorities and organisations already taking place in the Town Centre.
Here are our core focus areas and projects:
Safe, Clean & Green
- The Town centre CCTV is back up and running and now paid for and managed by the BID.
- Delivery of the Shopsafe Scheme working alongside Thames Valley Police.
- Delivery of the Pubwatch Scheme including secure partnership information sharing.
- Delivery of the Town Ranger Scheme- eyes and ears on the street
- Free Cardboard recycling.
- Free deep cleaning service including graffiti, fly posters, fly tipping, disposal of drugs paraphernalia and chewing gum removal – Grime Busting.
- Promotion of sustainable projects for the Town Centre.
- Manage and regulate buskers, peddlers and charity collectors.
- Conduct regular walks around town to identify physical deprivation of areas and report to local authorities where necessary.
- Achieving Purple Flag Status.
Marketing and Promotion
- Delivery of the Visit Newbury website, sharing all that’s great about Newbury.
- Creation of Visit Newbury social media channels, with a combined following of +15.5k.
- Marketing and promoting the Town to local, regional and national audiences.
- Delivery of free advertising and promotional opportunities and perks for our members.
- A committee to help promote independent businesses.
- Production of promotional publications for Newbury.
- Deliver and facilitate free public events in the town centre to promote businesses and town centre locations, keeping footfall rates in the Town Centre performing better than the national average.
- Christmas Events
- Puddle Jumping
- Crafty Craft
- Summer Series
- Live Music in the Square
- Halloween Events
- Artisan and Specialist Markets
Managing & Delivery
- We generate on average an additional £50k+ of commercial revenue each year which pays for staff and town centre projects.
- We pay for and manage the Christmas Lights.
- Excellent working relationships and voluntary contributions from outside organisations.
- Delivery of monthly BID Members meeting – Talk of the Town.
- A concierge service for visitors to the town.
- Liaison with Newbury Town Council and West Berkshire Council to address concerns raised by BID Members.
- Representation at a variety of community forums.
- National representation on the BID industry council
All of this, and more, is delivered by just five people - three of whom are part time. The team is led by CEO, Laurie-Jane, an experienced Place Manager and previous small businesses owner. Safe, Clean and Green Manager, Claire, an experienced Community Safety and Criminal Justice practitioner with a passion for sustainable living and recycling. Events Manager, Hannah, who is skilled in the co-ordination and delivery of Events and generally being super-organised. Jayne, our Town Ranger who is the oracle of Newbury Town Centre, she knows everything and everyone that is Newbury. Last, but not least, Jacqui, our Marketing and Promotional specialist is a marketing genius and a real foodie. As a team we are super proactive and always go the extra mile to help and to listen to any suggestions or concerns our members may have. We feel engagement is crucial, so please do contact us with any ideas or concerns you have, we are here to help.