Why does Richmond need a BID?
Concerns expressed by businesses so far. A feasibility study was commissioned by the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames in early 2015 into the creation of a BID for Richmond Town Centre. This study explored whether a BID would be an effective mechanism to address current issues and work towards a more prosperous future for the area to better compete with the neighbouring major centres.
A sample of businesses was conducted and the majority of those interviewed were in favour of collective working through a BID – 67% supported testing the BID concept through a formal ballot.
The feasibility report identified 5 key priorities amongst business:
- Public realm issues around parking and public toilet provision
- Theft and anti-social behaviour
- Staff recruitment and retention
- Requirement for more enhanced area promotion
- Increased promotion of Richmond Card
Richmond town centre is a successful and important sub-regional centre but it operates in an extremely competitive environment for retail, tourism and other business investment. Just like any other product, it needs to carefully define itself in the minds of potential shoppers, visitors and investors if it is to not lose ground.
The borough’s Local Economic Assessment identified that Richmond has to compete with Kingston, Putney and Hounslow for sub-regional business. The town loses potential spend to its neighbours, particularly ‘comparison goods’ and in some places is experiencing lower footfall than in the past. Retail studies have shown that Richmond town centre needs more retail space to meet future needs.
Other centres are investing heavily in their future, notably Kingston and its successful BID, with very ambitious plans to expand its business and retail offer. Richmond will have to raise its game to maintain its position and a BID is the best available vehicle to achieve this.
Businesses fed into the process shaping the activity plan of the BID through a formal. Perception Analysis was conducted between January 2016 and March 2016. All relevant businesses were sent an in-depth questionnaire by hard copy in the post and the consultation survey was also available electronically.
The questionnaire was an opportunity for businesses to express their views and feed into the process. This data was then collated into a Summary Report. The key priorities identified by business within the perception analysis formed the Business Plan upon which businesses will vote on in October.
Benefits businesses can expect from the BID:
- Provide a strong unified voice for business - a seat around the table with strategic partners such as LB Richmond, Transport for London and other key public bodies
- Further develop the area into a business hub with a range of services to support both large and small businesses. To improve linkages between the large office occupier base and the other sectors represented within Richmond
- Enhance area promotion – better represent the area and its businesses through a range of marketing collateral and raise the profile of the area even further – attracting further investment into the area in the form of new businesses setting up and driving increased footfall to the town centre
- Improved public realm through sustainable investment for capital projects and services
- Improved social wellbeing for current employees along with helping employers recruit and retain the skilled staff they need to operate at the highest level