Agenda item


Members of the partnership are requested to notify the clerk of any items to be discussed at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.


Zoe Griffiths – Your Bromley BID Company informed Members that the town centre had a successful start to the summer and lifting of restrictions – lots of events had taken place, and even more were planned. Over the last few weeks the Floral Fest Competition had taken place, which saw 30 primary schools having their planters displayed on Bromley High Street. Celebrity gardener, Charlie Dimmock, had helped judge the competition entries and over 4,000 votes were registered from the public. A large screen had also been installed to broadcast the two weeks of Wimbledon. In response to a question from the Chairman, Zoe Griffiths said that footfall in Bromley town centre for June 2021 was at a similar level to the same period in 2019, with some days being even higher – they hoped to sustain this and increase footfall even further.


An event would be run at the weekend which was aimed at reducing single-use plastic, which Your Bromley BID Company had made a commitment to in its Business Plan. Businesses would be encouraged to sign up to Refill London, and in turn this would be promoted, and children’s workshops would also be held. Meetings were taking place with key stakeholders regarding Christmas to ensure that the messages were consistent – a successful Christmas period was needed more than ever, and contingency planning was also being considered to prepare for any future periods of lockdown.


Longer term work was also being undertaken in relation to rebranding Your Bromley BID Company and creating a new website. Market research had been commissioned to look at what people thought about Bromley town centre – feedback received so far indicated that shopping was key, and other positive comments related to green spaces and connectivity. Further work relating to this would be undertaken in the coming months. Your Bromley BID Company had also commissioned 10 book benches, which looked like open books, and would be located in the town centre for eight weeks. Three of these benches would be bespoke to Bromley – Charles Darwin, Enid Blyton and David Bowie. In response to questions from Lee Thomas, Zoe Griffiths said that Your Bromley BID Company had collaborated with the Acorn Book Club, promoting drop off and collection points to residents. It was noted that other themes had been considered for the book benches, but only three could be selected.


Sharon Baldwin – Orpington 1st BID Company said that Orpington High Street was performing well. Vacancy rates were the lowest they had been in a long time and they had a list of prospective tenants for when properties became available. A central London office had recently relocated to the town centre and as a commuter town it was anticipated that this trend would continue. Footfall continued to bounce back well due to the strong hospitality offer in the town centre.


With regards to the Walnuts Shopping Centre, as properties were becoming vacant ahead of the redevelopment, these were units that were being used for the project on meanwhile spaces. The London in Bloom judges had recently visited the town centre and had been impressed with the large collaborative business and community scheme on display. The first literacy festival, Ways With Words, had also been held, both online and face to face over a two-week period, and the Food Festival would be launched with BR6 in September 2021.


Zoe Carr – Beckenham Together BID Company & Penge SE20 BID Company noted that Penge town centre had performed well throughout the periods of lockdown as it was where local residents went to shop. A couple of new hospitality / take away businesses had recently opened and were doing well. Planning was underway for ‘Pengefest’ which would take place at the end of the summer and work was also being undertaken to map out locations for electric charging points in both Penge and Beckenham. Members were advised that adverts for McDonald’s and Renault had recently been filmed in Penge and Beckenham, and a contribution from this would be received by the BIDs.


With regards to Beckenham town centre, which had a large hospitality and leisure offer, Zoe Carr noted that there had been a number of issues as restrictions lifted with premises “stepping over the line”. They had been working in collaboration with the police and street rangers had been put in place on Friday and Saturday evenings to offer advice and guidance. Vacancy rates in the town centre were low, and anything that became available was quickly taken. A couple of new businesses had recently opened; however a few businesses were still suffering from the impact of the pandemic. A screen had been installed on the green, which had broadcast the Wimbledon tennis championships, and a number a future events were planned.


Mike Lewis – Michael Rogers LLP advised Members that the commercial property market was continually improving. Since the last meeting, three of the four floors at Threadneedle – T Building (formerly Wren Court) had now been let in record time. Good rents were being received, with the latest letting having been agreed at £35 per sq. ft. It was noted that the ground floor of the smaller building was also under offer. Around £150 per sq. ft. had been spent on the refurbishment of the building, which was proving the right thing to do – office space usually remined empty when it was not of the right quality. With regards to the industrial property market, it was highlighted that they had experienced their best ever year in terms of acquisitions and disposals.


Katy Woolcott – London Biggin Hill Airport (LBHA) said that for the year to date, the airport was performing better than the previous year, however they were significantly behind their 2019 budget, This was mainly due to the airport not receiving the larger, heavier American air traffic.


Significant investment had been made to the airport’s infrastructure, including upgrading the taxiway system in support of becoming London’s preeminent business aviation airport. With regards to the hotel, the final planning consent had been received and contactors for the build would soon be formally appointed.


The Bombardier development, which was just under 250,000 sq. ft., was continuing well and it was anticipated that it would be completed ahead of target (April 2022). LBHA had recruited 5 new apprentices and Bombardier had recruited 16 new apprentices – it was noted that their employment figures would increase further once the new development was complete. Two Air Traffic Controllers were being upskilled to become Air Traffic Control Officers, a firefighter had been promoted to Watch Manager and the General Manager for the hotel had been appointed.


Chandra Sharma attended the meeting representing the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). The FSB had been working closely with businesses to help them prepare for reopening from 19th July 2021. A number of webinars would be held in the coming weeks, including Kick-start Your Year and Pay As You Grow. It was considered that the winding down of furlough and business grants would be a ‘flash point’ for which support would be provided to businesses. An e-newsletter had been circulated to all London boroughs outlining the work undertaken by the FSB and the FSB had also requested to be notified of any consultations regarding major planning applications.


The previous week, a walkaround of Beckenham had been undertaken to see how businesses were fairing – they had met with around 15 businesses, which had been extremely useful. A walkaround of Shortlands was planned for the following week. Members were reminded that the FSB held two networking events per month in the borough. It was noted that proposals had been provided in relation to the use of the additional grants funding to support small businesses, and the FSB were pleased to see that Enterprise Hubs would be introduced from the autumn.


Donald Mars – Jobcentre Plus informed Members that their claimant figures had improved slightly as more people moved into employment, and they wanted to increase this further. There was still an opportunity for employers to participate in the Kickstart scheme, which was aimed at helping those aged 18-24 years into employment. It was noted that it was now easier for smaller organisations to participate in the scheme.


Lee Thomas – Fairlight Group said that following a quick pick-up, enquiries for flexible workspace had now gone flat. It was anticipated that once people returned to working in their offices these spaces would fill up quickly.


Gary Hillman – N. Hillman & Sons informed Members that the restoration of the front of the Royal Bell building had been completed. A garden bar had been created at the rear of the property, which had been a huge success. Between 1,200-1,500 people were coming through the doors on a Friday and Saturday, and children’s events would be held on the following Sunday between 12.00pm-4.00pm. The venue would be open 12.00pm-12.00am on Thursday’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s and 12.00pm-11.00pm the rest of the week.


RESOLVED that the updates be noted.