Love Wimbledon Joins #RaiseTheBar Campaign

 

These are unprecedented times for our economy at a local, regional and national level. Industry leaders, political figures and Business Improvement Districts are calling on the Government to support businesses within the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors who have a rateable value of more than £51,000.  

Love Wimbledon is proud to join a #RaiseTheBar campaign being led by Croydon BID, asking Central Government to expand the rateable value threshold for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses from £51,000 to any business with a rateable value up to and including £150,000, allowing businesses the opportunity to access the £25,000 grant in order to survive. Our campaign is supported by industry wide bodies that represent over 100,000 businesses across the UK.  

The retail, hospitality and leisure sector is vital to the UK economy and must be protected at all costs. The retail industry alone generated £394 billion worth of sales in 2019 with 306,655 units across the UK. In 2019, the UK leisure sector reached over £111 billion in sales. The UK hospitality employs over 3.2 million people, that is 11% of UK jobs, making it the third largest sector in the UK, accounting for £130 billion in revenue, 6% of all businesses and 5% GDP.   

In London alone, there are 19,000 businesses with a rateable value of more than £51,000 and therefore with no access to the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant. We believe strongly that the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant provision and, in particular, the threshold of £51,000 to be far too low to provide adequate support to these businesses in their time of need. In raising the threshold to £150,000, over 13,000 businesses in London will benefit.  

Whether these businesses are independent or operating from more than one location, we forget those with a rateable value of £51,000 or more at our peril. Feedback suggests that they are carrying significant stock losses and are still facing immediate cash flow challenges that wage subsidies will not address. Many are not in a position to take on further debt or have serious concerns about being able to survive the recovery. 

To date, 80% of our businesses have been excluded from government loan support schemes due to their size or European Union State Aid rules. These are some of our most adaptable businesses and the economy will need them to stave off the threat of cessation so that they can play their role in rejuvenating the economy and contributing to community wellbeing. 

 

“Our high streets have been adapting over the past few years to the increased demand in leisure and hospitality alongside retail. The high level of the rateable values of these properties needs to be recognised. By increasing thsomewhat arbitrary threshold from £51k to £150k an additional 180 businesses in Wimbledon would be supported, representing 5,600 jobs, around 30% of the employment in the town.”

Helen Clark Bell, Chief Excecutive, Love Wimbledon

 

Matthew Sims, Chief Executive of Croydon BID said: “We acknowledge that by increasing the RHLG threshold up to and including £150,000 will increase the burden on central and local government. This is a price we believe is worth paying to ensure businesses are given the opportunity to become part of the greater push to mobilise our economy, rather than leaving premises empty, growing unemployment with or without the job retention scheme and sectors contracting across the board”.  

Bill Addy, Chief Executive of Liverpool BID and Chair of The BID Foundation said: “We cannot underestimate the importance of our Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sectors and not just to what they bring to our economy but the people that are employed within them. That is why the Business Improvement Districts across the UK are supporting the #RaiseTheBar Campaign in asking Government to increase the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure rateable value threshold from £51k to £150k. In doing so, more business will have access to a £25k grant supporting their fight to survive and to allow them to play their central role in kick-starting our economy.”  

It is obvious that even with an expansion of the cap, that not all businesses will benefit. What we believe to be important is that the grant scheme is reasonably extended as critically, this will help thousands of businesses to adapt to the challenges ahead.   

Our request supported by many industry leaders and businesses will, for most, offer the single biggest difference in their personal commercial fight against this crisis.  

This is a collective campaign designed to support the people that work for and run businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Across the UK, there are individual, personal concerns and uncertainties surrounding the economy and the effect that COVID-19 will have on them. In amending the rateable value from £51,000 to £150,000, we not only save businesses but we also save jobs.  

 

To support the campaign individually whether you work in the sectors or not, you can visit www.raisethebarcampaign.co.uk and sign up to make a positive change.  Plus, sign the Petition to show your support SIGN HERE

 

Read more about how Love Wimbledon is lobbying for businesses in Wimbledon Town Centre here.

Love Wimbledon Lobbying For You

‘Unprecedented’ a word now so widely used and very pertinent to the challenging environment currently facing businesses in Wimbledon Town Centre and Love Wimbledon BID is committed to supporting you and our community through these times.

Through our conversations and communications with the businesses of Wimbledon, we are working to mitigate the impact of coronavirus and provide businesses with the information and support you need so we are in a strong position for recovery. The support from central government has been extremely prompt and generous but there are some businesses that are not eligible and we are drawing these issues to their attention.

Love Wimbledon is lobbying central government:

  • for London waiting to be applied to the £51k rateable value threshold given the higher rateable values of property in London. This applies to the grants and the business rates support for businesses. We’ve joined the #RaiseTheBar campaign as part of our lobbying efforts.
  • with regards to concessions and sub-lets, often the younger and smaller businesses who are currently not eligible as they do not have a direct relationship with business rates
  • to define the specific categories of businesses to avoid different interpretations of the guidance between local authorities
  • to provide clarity for banks about the CBIL scheme to make it more accessible for businesses

UPDATE: Stephen Hammond MP has raised questions with HM Treasury on the London waiting and expansion of the grants and business rate holiday to include dentists, osteopaths and other services. A response is expected by 4th May.

Love Wimbledon is locally:

  • co-ordinating support for businesses that remain open, facilitating support between businesses and the local community through donations and volunteers
  • maintaining a regular street presence to reduce anti-social activity and also keeping an eye on empty premises
  • working with community groups to accommodate the homeless
  • preparing for the recovery and will be a key driver in re-opening the Town Centre
  • consolidating information from central government
  • communicating with businesses and providing resources such as the checklist for temporarily closing your business, developed with Merton Chamber of Commerce

We are hearing from some businesses that they are using this time to refine their business’ operating procedures and strengthening their marketing. Love Wimbledon can help to point you in the direction of local support, including Reach Out & Connect, a series of webinars hosted by Merton Chamber of Commerce.

Protect Your Business Against Cyber Security Threats

 

With an increase in cyber attacks related to COVID-19, and many employees now working from home using potentially more vulnerable services such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and home devices, businesses are exposed to new cyber risks.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has provided free resources for businesses and employees to help you stay protected in these times of elevated cyber risks. This includes how to prepare your organisation and staff for safe home-working.

Currently, the most prominent threat is preying on people’s concerns about the Coronavirus through email scams, also known as phishing attacks and other ways businesses are being exploited at a time when we are all feeling more vulnerable.  The NCSC has published tips for spotting signs of phishing and advice on dealing with suspicious emails and messages. There is also a wealth of information on this site about malware and using personal devices.

Another good resource is this webinar on cyber security and data protection, hosted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and on Take Five, to stop Fraud.

Please carefully consider how these risks could impact the safety of your business, and take the necessary steps to educate your employees and protect your business.

Reach Out and Connect Webinar Recording

 

On Thursday 12th April Love Wimbledon and Merton Chamber of Commerce hosted a joint webinar with Merton Council to discuss what government support is available to businesses at this time, including grants and business rates relief.

It was a great opportunity for businesses to ask questions and gain clarification about options available to them.  We’d like to thank everyone who attended and Merton Council for highlighting what is being done to help businesses recover from the Covid-19 situation.

Love Wimbledon is:

  • Consolidating information from central government
  • Lobbying for a London waiting to be applied to the £51k rateable value threshold given the higher listings in London
  • Communicating with businesses and providing resources such as the checklist if you are closing your business, worked on with Merton Chamber of Commerce
  • Co-ordinating support for businesses that remain open, facilitating support between businesses and the local community through donations and volunteers
  • Maintaining street presence to reduce anti-social activity and keeping an eye on empty premises
  • Working with community groups to accommodate the homeless
  • Preparing for the recovery and will be a key driver in re-opening the Town Centre

Click here to watch a recording of the webinar.

Download a copy of the presentation here.

Be sure to check back for future webinars and get in touch if you’d like to address a specific topic or need additional advice and support for your business.  info@lovewimbledon.org

Visit our dedicated Covid-19 page for collated resources to keep businesses up-to-date with government and financial support and public health guidance.

 

 

Securing Your Property During Closure

 

A message from Love Wimbledon and Merton Chamber of Commerce.

Is your business or workplace now closed due to COVID-19?

Are all employees working from home?

See below, a 10-point checklist to help keep your property safe and secure, during these times.

Note: we also strongly suggest that you speak with your insurance company, or broker, to ensure that you are compliant with the terms of your insurance.

Where you are able to do so safely and within the current government guidelines, you should try to ensure that:

  1. The buildings are inspected internally and externally by an authorised person once a week to check the security and general condition of the premises.
  2. All waste, refuse and other disused combustible materials are cleared from the buildings and any grounds adjacent to it.
  3. All external doors are securely locked and all opening windows are closed and locked (where fitted with locking devices).
  4. All tanks and pipes are drained down, where and when you are able to do this, and all taps, stopcocks and mains supply valves turned off. If this is not possible, because you need to maintain a central heating system, a minimum temperature of 7°C should be maintained.
  5. (A). Gas supplies should be switched off, unless to maintain a central heating system.
    (B). Electricity supplies should be switched off unless to maintain a central heating system or existing intruder alarm systems, fire protection systems, CCTV, security lighting or sprinkler systems. If the building supply needs to remain on, review the need for items like wifi routers, printers, chillers, etc. to be left plugged in.
  6. All existing physical devices for securing, or preventing access to the buildings must be kept in full and effective operation at all times and to have all keys removed from the locks and kept in a secure place away from the premises.
  7. Ensure your pest control contracts are maintained, check with your contractor to ensure continuation of service.
  8. Check your alarm notification procedures and revise your keyholders list and procedures in case of a triggering of the alarm.
  9. Review and cancel all supplier contracts – milk, waste collection, any other regular deliveries.
  10. For food businesses:
    (A). Cancel all food and drink deliveries.
    (B). Ensure rubbish is removed from the kitchen, ensure food is emptied from fridges and freezers (unless power is left on for the freezer).
    (C). Any food packing materials should be protected from contamination and if dried food is being kept in the storeroom it should be kept in pest proof containers.
    (D). Ensure the structure of the building is kept in good repair and free from gaps and holes where pest could gain access into the premises.

Wimbledon Businesses Awarded Recycling Certificates

Wimbledon businesses have been awarded certificates for their amazing recycling efforts in 2019, by the award-winning, zero to landfill, recycling and waste company First Mile.

 

This is a result of a collaboration between First Mile and Love Wimbledon, which has allowed businesses in Wimbledon to make terrific savings on their waste collection and recycling schemes.

Elliott Wood Partnership and Marcus Beale Architects were awarded Gold certificates, whilst other businesses were awarded Silver, including: CarebaseWestmont Management LtdCapsticks SolicitorsLush (Wimbledon)Phokas Barbers and more.

The criteria for certification was based on company’s Recycling Rates, the number of First Mile streams adopted, the kg’s recycled and the kg of CO2 offset.

 

 

Through First Mile, we offer businesses benefits such as FREE annual allocation of mixed or cardboard recycling, reduced rates for all subsequent recycling and waste collections, food recycling – provision of a FREE starter pack to include caddies and a set of bags, daily waste and recycling collections, FREE quarterly Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling and more.

Did your business receive a Silver certificate, and would you like to Go For Gold? By simply introducing one more recycling service, such as food waste, you can increase your overall recycling rate, reduce the number of general waste sacks you order, save money and help the planet. Click here for more information on understanding Your First Mile certificate.

Display your certificate proudly on the wall of your business for all to see and tag @lovewimbledon on TwitterFacebook or Instagram, so we can help you sing about your green efforts!

If you’d like to find out more about how Love Wimbledon can support your business to be more green and improve your climate change efforts, contact info@lovewimbledon.org.

Masterplan Consultation Forum

Wimbledon Masterplan Consultation

On Wednesday 26 February we hosted the Masterplan Forum with Merton Council for businesses, landlords and agents outlining the final proposals for Merton Council’s vision for Wimbledon Town Centre. Over 70 people attended, giving the opportunity for businesses, property owners and other key stakeholders to ask questions about the proposals.

CEO Helen Clark Bell urged business owners, agents and landlords to ‘do something different and think creatively’ and work with Love Wimbledon BID to deliver the aspirations to improve the Wimbledon experience, with more things to do or see whether cultural or fun whilst making it a greener, healthier and more playful environment.  Paul McGarry, Head of Future Merton, discussed the longer term vision and some of the shorter term plans for Wimbledon Town Centre including a new public space outside New Wimbledon Theatre and improving St Mark’s Place.

 

The area covered by the masterplan stretches across the whole Love Wimbledon BID area and the full masterplan document is available on their website.

 

SEE THE FLYTHROUGH VIDEO HERE

READ THE FULL MASTERPLAN HERE 

 

Love Wimbledon will be releasing our response early next week.

 

The session provoked healthy discussions about independent businesses, landlord philanthropy and working to improve Wimbledon as a destination.

Martin Whelton, Merton Council cabinet member for regeneration, housing & transport, highlighted that the Council’s aspiration was to make Merton and Wimbledon ‘A great place to live, work and learn.’

 

Helen Clark Bell commented ‘Wimbledon is a town for all and does have an exciting future. To achieve this it requires a strong synergy between the users and owners of Wimbledon.’

 

Paul McGarry agreed, asking businesses and landlords to ‘Be brave, be creative’.

 

In the next five years new development/refurbishment is expected to be happening at:

  • The east end of The Broadway. This includes the YMCA, The Polka Theatre and Temple Place, creating a greener welcome to Wimbledon
  • Hartfield Road area (the Morrisons Car Park)
  • New Wimbledon Theatre with new public space
  • Francis Grove/St Georges Road area, where one office refurbishment has just completed and another two are likely to commence as well as some new development of tired office space
  • Around the old Bank Buildings on Wimbledon Hill, where conservation, placemaking and redevelopment come together

 

Paul McGarry commented ‘Independent retail and culture is the future of the High Street.’

 

What came out strongly is Wimbledon needs more and better commercial space, and stakeholders should consider how it supports startups and independents whether retail, food or office based in the future. What was clear from the conversation was Wimbledon is changing, ‘the car will no longer be king’ and Wimbledon is becoming a cultural centre, an aspiration supported by many.

 

Future Wimbledon

 

About the Consultation  

The consultation closes on 6th March so please do respond as this is an important, once in a lifetime document and could impact you.

There are FIVE emerging priorities on the masterplan: 

  • Design Quality
  • Public Realm
  • Urban Greening and Sustainability
  • Future of the High Street
  • The Station and Railway

We need to work together to deliver strong aspirations for Wimbledon in 2030 and beyond.

Love Your Local Businesses

 

Current road closures on Merton Road towards South Wimbledon, expected to last until April 2020, have affected many of our independent shops, cafes and restaurants located in this area.

Love Wimbledon is urging other businesses in Wimbledon Town Centre to think of and make a special effort to encourage their staff to take a few extra steps, travel further along The Broadway and support our range of fantastic local and independent stores during this time.

Ideas for how you can support these businesses:

Aside from the effects of these lengthy roadworks, there are a number of reasons why you as a business and consumer, should opt to shop local. As well as the huge cost to the environment when choosing to shop online, when you shop local your money stays local. In other words, your money goes into the pockets of your neighbours in the community and helps to strengthen the local economy.

Without the presence of these types of stores on our high streets, which often add a sense of character and diversity through their unique and artisan offering, there is the ever-growing fear that all UK high streets will eventually look and feel the same. With an increasing number of consumers choosing to shop online, small and independent businesses like these are becoming the real driving factor for footfall across UK retail destinations and providing a point of difference for our towns.

Wimbledon is home to a number of other small and independent businesses which you can also show your love to, including Fayre & SquareFieldersAubergine Art galleryHealth ZonePhokas Barbers and Gina Conway’s Aveda salon. Don’t forget, the Love Wimbledon monthly markets return in March, with a great range of local vendors offering up handcrafted gifts and flavourful international street food.

So show your community spirit by supporting your fellow business community and urging your employees to do the same! #LoveLocal

Wimbledon Footfall Outperforms Trend

The end of 2019 proved a difficult time for retail. Despite the holiday season typically being a strong time for retailers and shopping centres, with dedicated discount days such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day sales, there was a 2.5% drop in footfall in December across UK retail destinations. Further figures from Springboard, the leading provider of data and intelligence on customer activity in town centres, also showed high streets to have suffered the most with a 3.5% decrease in footfall.

Yet, this was not the case in Wimbledon Town Centre, where footfall was up by 0.8%.

This is a comforting figure, given the continuous challenges facing UK high streets, due to the rise in popularity of online shopping.

According to Springboard, there has been an evident shift in consumer behaviour, with more emphasis being placed on experience-based spending compared to goods-based transactions. This suggests an increased presence of Wimbledon as a destination for leisure in London – rather than just being the household name for the tennis.

Wimbledon continued to maintain a sense of variety across the high street in 2019, with independent retailers, such as Elys, demonstrating a clear understanding and willingness to adapt to changing consumer needs through enhancing consumer experiences, i.e. with their Winter Shopping Event. 2019 also saw the number of restaurants in Wimbledon grow, with the addition of artisan Lebanese grill Kababji, authentic Korean restaurant Yori and healthy eating, fast-food chain Leon, adding to the existing medley of cuisines being offered in the town. Wimbledon Town Centre is now home to a wide range of restaurants, cafés and market vendors serving up food from all over the world – Japan, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Argentina, and more. The inclusivity of the town can be felt surely through the diversity of food available here. In addition to this, the strong night-time economy in the town, through a great mix of pubs, bars and clubs has helped to keep consumers returning to Wimbledon for great social experiences.

In bucking the trend, the town centre also has the benefit of offering exceptional transport links (train, tram and tube) and is reported as the 21st busiest station in the country. Wimbledon is an attractive town for commercial offices, currently accommodating over 30 national and international Headquarter offices and cumulatively has over 15,000 employees working in the town. These employees in turn support the local retailers and hospitality, contributing significantly to the vibrancy of the town. As Wimbledon gradually upgrades the quality of it’s office accommodation, the need to maintain a strong offering to office employees is growing and it is clear that local businesses are responding.

With a significant increase in art and cultural events in Wimbledon in the past year, and a plethora of performances owing to the glittering reputation of our theatre venues, 2019 proved to be a year where community spirit could be felt by those who work in the town, visitors passing by and the residents who live here. The introduction of the UK’s first rainbow crossing created by Merton Council, a new street art feature with a powerful environmental message and popular events such as Winter Wonderland, demonstrated the town’s ability to innovate, inspire and influence.

During a challenging and vital time for retail and the high street, it is encouraging to see Wimbledon Town Centre positively beat a national trend and pave the way for change. We hope to see footfall continue to increase in 2020, and correspond to the allure of the town, bringing in more and more people to this great destination.