Agenda item

BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS AND BUSINESS SUPPORT UPDATE

Minutes:

Lorraine McQuillan, LBB Town Centre Manager gave an update on Business Improvement Districts and Business Support in Quarter 2, 2018/19.

 

The Beckenham and Penge BIDs had been established for a five year term, and Zoe Brown, BID Manager, Beckenham Together & Penge SE20 was introduced to members. It was noted that they had been two separate BIDS, and therefore different projects would be undertaken in each town centre. A feasibility study would be undertaken over the next couple of months with regards to establishing BIDs in West Wickham and Chislehurst, and a report would be produced by early 2019.

 

Work was also continuing on the Local Parades Initiative, with 22 applications for funding being received, three of which were expected to be approved imminently.

 

Business support events that had been delivered included a Successful Mums taster session on 26th September 2018 to support mums, dads and carers in returning to work after a break, or considering setting up their own business; and a Grow Bromley branding event on 11th October 2018. Both events had been well attended.

 

Ms Frances Forrest, Your Bromley BID Company advised members that events coming up included a “Trick or Treat” town centre trail, which would run between Saturday 20th and Sunday 28th October 2018, encouraging people to walk around the town centre during half term. The Christmas Lights Switch-on would take place in Bromley town centre on Sunday 18th November 2018, alongside a Christmas Market and Santa Dash.

 

Members were informed that a new parking app would be launched shortly, providing drivers with advice as to which car park was nearest to their destination, and highlighting special features such as electric charging points. It was hoped that in the future this could be developed into a ‘Bromley town centre’ app.

 

Ms Sharon Baldwin, Orpington 1st BID Company advised members that the town centre vacancy rate was currently 6.5%, which was well below the national average of 11%, and the churn rate of occupants had slowed. Most of the smaller units had been let, and a number of new businesses had opened.

 

Events had taken place in the town centre, including the ‘Flavours of Orpington’ Food Festival week which featured a comedy night, live music and a demonstration kitchen which local restaurants used to prepare dishes. The week ended with a ‘Sunday Service’ in collaboration with Churches Together Orpington, followed by a free BBQ which catered for 500 people.

 

Christmas event in the town centre would include the Christmas Lights Switch-on, taking place on Thursday 15th November; a pantomime over the weekend of the 1st and 2nd December; and a Santa Dash on Sunday 9th December 2018.

 

Members were advised that the All Party Parliamentary Group for Town Centres would be meeting to discuss business rates reform. Business rates were a huge concern as they were deterring new businesses, and ‘breaking the backs’ of long established businesses.

 

Zoe Brown, Beckenham Together & Penge SE20 informed members that she had started in post at the beginning of September, and would be working two and a half days in each BID area. Work was underway to establish BID Boards for each town centre and purchasing agreements with levy payers.

 

The Christmas Lights Switch-on would take place on Saturday 1st December in Beckenham, and Saturday 8th December 2018 in Penge town centre.

 

RESOLVED that the recent work around the Business Improvement Districts and Business Support in the 2nd quarter of 2018/19 be noted.

 

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