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Flowers Can Talk

 

Flowers Really Do Talk!

We all love a flower, especially in Wimbledon Town Centre, and increasing the amount of planting is a great way to bring in life, colour, nature and biodiversity. But what if there was something different to a flower bed? What if the plants could grow from a lamppost? And what if the plants could tell you when they needed watering?

Business Improvement District Love Wimbledon thought we would give it a go, after local urban greening company Scotscape contacted us about their new LivingPillar™.

A new vertical LivingPillar™ has been created in Wimbledon Town Centre, acting as a trial,  the first of its kind in South London. Packed with petunias, 84 of them and very much part of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships colour theme, the new Living Pillar™ has an irrigation system which runs on solar power using a high efficiency solar panel (at the top of the pillar) to recharge the systems battery source. Better still, it features a monitor which enables water management remotely via an App, whereby the plants are reporting when they are about to run out of water as the tank becomes empty. Scotscape monitors this and when the plants need some water and the reservoir needs topping up, it gets done! The technology ensures zero water is wasted, as any excess irrigation water is recycled.

Helen Clark Bell CEO of Love Wimbledon commented:

‘We initially set out to improve the neglected flower bed outside Evans Cycle so worked with Merton Council to get the wooden bench refurbished and the retaining wall repointed. Scotscape approached us and offered to overhaul the bed, providing new plants for the flowerbeds. We had heard of Scotscape’s innovative lamppost solution; this was the perfect place to trial a Living Pillar™ in Merton. Future planting will include air scrubbing plants helping to improve the air quality whilst also making the town greener.  Where space is limited, horizontal planting provides a very different opportunity and where tree planting is restricted, planted posts and pillars offer a  space-saving solution as well as a visual treat.’

   
 During installation of the pillar

Angus Cunningham, CEO of Scotscape added:

‘Scotscape and Love Wimbledon have aligned thoughts on improving places and spaces through planting, By introducing sustainable planting and biodiversity in tricky locations, the Living Pillar™ will do a little bit more to help with air quality and longer term the app should enable us to measure air quality in the area as well as keep our plants watered when they ask!’

   
The Evans flowerbed before and after refurbishment

Businesses are already talking about the improvements:

‘Many thanks to Love Wimbledon BID for transformation of a neglected flowerbed, into something sustainable, and great to look at.’

– Manager, Wibbas Down Inn

And that’s not all – bird, bee and insect boxes will be installed in the autumn, with the planting undergrowth acting as the perfect refuge for urban wildlife and insects. The Petunias will be replaced with plant species carefully selected for their seasonal pollen and nectar production, as well as their ability to remove polluting particulate matter from air.

The LivingPillar™ can  be found in front of Evans Cycles on Gladstone Road in Wimbledon Town Centre.

Creating Healthy, Flexible Workspaces post-Covid

Covid-19 has forced many businesses to adopt remote or hybrid working, undertake new practices around social distancing and safety, and think creatively about how to maintain a workplace culture at a disconnected time. As many offices look to return to Wimbledon Town Centre, it is clear that the workplace will need be an environment where employees feel safe, happy and comfortable to thrive in.

We heard from local office design and build experts Peldon Rose, on what considerations your workspace may need.

Enhanced collaborative and breakout spaces

As we return to work place it is crucial that we have space for informal conversations, to build upon the social capital that has been lost. Within the workspace ecosystem, breakout spaces help to encourage conversation and for us to chat and interact informally.

For Peldon Rose, our tea point and family-style dining area brings us together, it’s a place where we can enjoy a drink together after a busy week or break down those social barriers over a board game. It creates a positive atmosphere where we can celebrate business milestones or a colleague’s birthday.

Of course, we also need to create areas that will allow us to fulfil our job roles to the best of our ability. Attracting employees back to the office is a huge focus for businesses across the country at the moment and balancing different personalities and preferences will be key to success. Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert or omnivert, we must encourage smart working and collaborative thinking in a way that is inclusive of all. Collaborative spaces like breakout areas, with tables and chairs outside of regular desks or meeting rooms, can help foster an atmosphere of collaboration, while areas designed for brainstorms or for eating lunch can bring the team together in new ways and provide them with resources to create something new.

For members of the team who may be cautious about returning to the office environment an agile working environment that includes features such as quiet areas or pods, provides somewhere they can work without being in the midst of it all.

Softer, inviting, and homely atmospheres.

While our work-from-home setups have varied drastically, we have all experienced a greater level of control over the atmosphere we work in. There are those of us who work while enjoying the background noise of a radio, and others who prefer to operate in complete silence. Similarly, we’ve adapted the lighting, temperature and even the aromas of our working environment to suit our personal preferences.

Now, after curating environments that optimise comfort, and in a lot of cases concentration, many will be anxious to leave the sanctuary of the home. This means employees will be looking to return to a workplace that feels almost like a home away from home. This was the inspiration behind one of our recent projects at The White Company. The design was centred around the concept of “going home to work ”. The team created a workplace that uses domestic design elements to create a calming atmosphere, with a variety of working destinations to cater for those who like to work in solitude, or alongside others.

In addition, we’ll see the installation of furniture that bridges the gap between home and work, stemming from a flexible attitude towards workspaces, that positions the comfort and wellbeing of employees at the centre.

Consider wellness and mental health

With a renewed awareness in the need to look after our health, workplaces are set to encourage the pursuit of physical activity. We went for walks during lockdown and witnessed first-hand the marked benefits this had on our physical and mental wellbeing and enjoyed exercising in lieu of commuting. We know that exercise exposes our brain to more oxygen, which helps to foster creative thinking and improved energy levels and  helps us to be more productive.

Whether it’s a workplace that can transform meeting rooms into a yoga studio or terrace spaces, a workplace that provides shower and bike-storage facilities, or a workplace with sit-stand desks, design should reflect and encourage physical movement. Designing a floorplan which allows occupants to navigate around the office to create their own desire paths is key to elevating physical and mental wellbeing in the office.

Calm the nerves

Our phased return to Peldon Rose HQ gave us the opportunity to test our own guidance methods, underpinned by Government guidelines to provide a safe and secure environment to support the wellbeing of our employees. Our learnings were honest and enabled us to refine our guidance for clients and in return it has provided us with knowledge of how to continue to adapt.

Due to the varying nature of workplaces across the country, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, which is why it’s vital there is a full planning process in place and time is carved out to make these changes in your physical back-to-work plan. From Perspex screens at desks, to markers indicating where people can stand in high-traffic areas and regular handwashing/sanitising stations – for many it will look like a completely different workplace to the one we left in early March 2020. Water system flushing, air ventilation checks and ensuring all lifts are in full working order are also at the top of the list, to make sure that staff are as safe as possible when it comes to returning to the office.

For members of the team who may be cautious about returning to the office environment, an agile working environment that includes features such as quiet areas or pods, provides somewhere they can work without being in the midst of it all. You also free employees from their desks allowing them to discover new places to work in proximity to potential new friendships.

Although many will be apprehensive about returning, it’s important we find a way to start the return to work. Facilities managers and those with operational oversight should remain in control of the return-to-work planning to ensure all the necessary checks and procedures are carried out before anyone physically sets foot in the building. If businesses start to think creatively and integrate their culture into these new measures and ways of working, this return to normality will certainly be a welcome one for the office.

For further information on how enhance your workplace to the benefit of both your business and your people, contact Peldon Rose.

New Vinyls to Attract Potential Businesses

As part of improving the look and feel of the Wimbledon Town Centre in preparation for businesses re-opening this April, we worked with property management company Workman to ensure that the unsightly windows on the previous PC World and O2 units were improved by using graphic vinyls of potential shops.

We are working closely with property owners in the town, to ensure that empty units are well-maintained whilst they are vacant, for the next potential businesses, and also to keep the town looking attractive and clean.

This large unit is in a highly visible spot on The Broadway which attracted anti-social behaviour. The vinyls were installed in late March and provide inspiration for businesses looking for retail space in our thriving town.

You can spot the vinyls on The Broadway in Wimbledon Town Centre.

Love Wimbledon’s response: Plan Wimbledon’s Neighbourhood Forum


Note: respond by 23rd May 2021 to have your say.

 

A community group called PlanWimbledon has applied to Merton Council to designate a proposed neighbourhood area, predominantly around Wimbledon and to become the designated Neighbourhood Forum for an area extending to around a third of Merton Borough, involving around 40,000 residents.

 

If the Council accepts this application to designate PlanWimbledon as the Neighbourhood Forum for this neighbourhood area, PlanWimbledon will be authorised to prepare a neighbourhood development plan “Neighbourhood Plan”. No other organisation may then be designated for any part of that neighbourhood area until this designation expires after five years or it is withdrawn.

 

Neighbourhood planning allows residents, employees and businesses to come together through a Neighbourhood Forum and produce a Neighbourhood Plan. Once adopted, the Neighbourhood Plan can be used to guide decisions on planning applications within the neighbourhood area.

 

Love Wimbledon is not objecting to the Forum being designated as a lead body for neighbourhood planning purposes for the wider area but is very concerned about the inclusion of Wimbledon Town Centre as the CBD within the designation application. There is currently a lack of detail in terms of the aims and aspirations of PlanWimbledon with regard to the Town Centre neither is there an understanding of the approach or relationship with the existing SPD adopted in November 2020 that has been developed through extensive consultation. There is also a lack of business involvement and say in terms of the governance structure of the proposed Forum.

 

Whilst there is no theoretical limit to the size of a neighbourhood planning area, with over 100 Forums now established in the GLA area, we note that most are in the 10-20,000 population bracket. There are exceptions such as Mill Hill (27,000), Finsbury Park and Stroud Green (30,000), Isle of Dogs (28,000), but these do not include centres of the same planning status as Wimbledon.

 

The proposed physical boundary and resulting population is of a large ‘town’ rather than a ‘neighbourhood’ size & larger than any other neighbourhood area of which we are aware. Whilst populations of 40,000 are more common outside of metropolitan areas – for example in market towns, these are mostly led by Town Councils with a long track record of engagement and delivery.

 

Love Wimbledon BID welcomes and supports the view of Plan Wimbledon that the Town Centre is vital for accessing local services, shops, workplaces, hospitality, transport and hubs.  Over the last 9 years Love Wimbledon BID has invested significant effort to widely consult and influence the development of the masterplan and subsequent SPD.  Whilst we don’t consider the masterplan to be perfect, we understand the SPD guidance, together with the Local Plan policy framework for the centre, namely policies CS.6, CS.7, CS14 and CS18-20 are all strategic policies and therefore provide a strong statutory basis for planning purposes, with which any neighbourhood plan would have to be in conformity and yet this document is not referred to within the PlanWimbledon proposal.

 

Further, Wimbledon Town Centre is designated as a Major Centre in the London Plan and indeed is Merton’s only Major Centre. It is also designated as a GLA Opportunity Area with Colliers Wood and South Wimbledon in the emerging London Plan. Its role therefore is significant beyond Wimbledon. Having invested so much time and effort relating to the centre’s strategic as well as our local role, Love Wimbledon wants to build on what is already there in terms of the SPD Guidance and Local Plan Policies.

 

We are determined therefore, working with Merton Council, property owners, businesses, service providers and residents, to maximise our influence over the future spatial development of the Town Centre (i.e. Love Wimbledon BID’s agreed boundary) and how the existing 2020 masterplan develops out. Hence our desire to pursue a business-led Neighbourhood Forum and Plan which truly reflects business as well as residential issues.

 

A business-led Neighbourhood Forum and Plan, proposed by Love Wimbledon BID would need support from both residents and businesses in a referendum. The current proposition would not require this, and businesses could only have a say via their employees if they lived locally and, significantly, would not incorporate the views of the real estate property owners. Many existing business-led Neighbourhood Forums have a balance of business and resident representation on their steering groups (e.g. Hyde Park and Paddington, Central Ealing, Mayfair, Spitalfields). We also feel, as an existing community organisation, and through our extensive business network, that Love Wimbledon is very well placed to facilitate a dynamic dialogue between residents, businesses, and real estate interests. We are currently in the process of surveying key sectors we work with to explore this further. In terms of the Plan Wimbledon constitution, whilst businesses can join they do not appear to have a vote on the plan as businesses as a sector, and there appears to be no recognition of property owners or asset managers, which we find surprising given that the proposition to include a major metropolitan centre, but once again most likely relates to the unwieldy size of the proposed area.

 

The consultation launch date of 12th April is unfortunate with so many businesses just emerging from lockdown and as mentioned above, we are currently polling a cross section of businesses and property owners to get their views.  Early indications are that 90% of businesses from a range of commercial interests do not support this resident led neighbourhood plan including the Town Centre and verbal feedback from a recent Strategic Leaders Forum also supported this view.

 

We are receiving comments such as: –

“There is adequate planning control exercised by LB Merton. Further layers of control will add to an already lengthy process and will make Wimbledon a less attractive place in which to invest.”

“There is already in place a planning framework, it may not be perfect, but it is fair and provides the local neighbourhood an opportunity to put forward their concerns.”

 

Whilst we therefore do not support the inclusion of the Town Centre, we have offered to work with Plan Wimbledon using the significant technical support that is available from the Locality Aecom National Support Programme to try and identify areas of agreement between us and PlanWimbledon which could then be written up into a ‘Statement of Common Aims’.

 

Love Wimbledon is an established community organisation with a defined border and extensive relationships built up over the last nine years. We have invested significant time and resources working through the complex issues with CBD stakeholders relating to the spatial future of the CBD and believe that we are best placed to explore the opportunity of organising a business-led Neighbourhood Forum for Wimbledon Town Centre.

 

We urge all of our businesses to have their say by responding to Plan Wimbledon’s proposals here.

Fortius Clinic Joins Wimbledon

Love Wimbledon are delighted to have Fortius Clinic join the Wimbledon business community.

Recognised as global leaders in sports and musculoskeletal medicine, Fortius Clinic are bringing world-leading doctors and state-of-the-art facilities to the heart of Wimbledon. The new outpatient, diagnostic and treatment centre will offer rapid access to orthopaedic and sports injury treatment for residents living and working in Wimbledon and the surrounding areas.

With over 80 specialists practising at clinics and surgical centres throughout Central London, the move out of the Central London market marks an important strategic step for the business and Wimbledon offers a natural location for the clinic, given the large number of high performance athletes in the area.

The £4.5million state-of-the-art clinic in Worple Road will allow private patients to see London’s leading surgeons and physicians for a wide range of orthopaedic conditions, sports and recreational injuries, and joint replacements. The clinic features a fully equipped imaging suite with the latest technology including 3T MRI scanning, X-Ray and Ultrasound.

Jim McAvoy, Fortius Chief Executive says;

“We are delighted to be bringing Fortius to South West London. Wimbledon has been on our radar for some time and we are excited to be providing facilities that will provide world-class care and first-class service to patients and referring doctors. We have a well-earned reputation for excellence, and we look forward to serving the needs of the private patient population in Wimbledon and beyond.”

Fortius Clinic Wimbledon is located on 22 Worple Road in Wimbledon Town Centre. 

Eight Weeks to Save the Nation’s High Streets

UK High Streets are on the brink of collapse as the eight-week countdown to the next quarterly rent instalment begins today, according to the #RaiseTheBar campaign.

Figures released today by #RaiseTheBar show 54,638 businesses from pubs to shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels, galleries and gyms are currently unable to access the £25,000 RHLG grant due to their business rates valuation falling between £51,000 – £150,000.

As part of the RHLG guidance, only those in the retail, hospitality, leisure sectors with a rateable value of up to £51,000 can access the vital grant, leaving tens of thousands of businesses stranded. The #RaiseTheBar campaign, launched on 21 April 2020, is calling on the Government to raise the arbitrary £51,000 business rates threshold cap to £150,000, allowing over 54,638 businesses in these sectors the chance to survive. The campaign has secured cross-party support including:

  • 86 Conservative MPs wrote to the Chancellor on Friday 1 May, in an open letter calling for the business rates threshold to be increased
  • The Shadow Chancellor Rt. Hon. Anneliese Dodds MP has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rt. Hon. Rishi Sunak MP, to bring to his attention the #RaiseTheBar campaign
  • Rt. Hon. Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, committed to discuss the need to increase the business rates threshold with the Chancellor following a question in the daily Government briefing on Monday 27 April

Love Wimbledon is supporting the #RaiseTheBar campaign which believes access to the £25,000 is the difference between survival and bankruptcy for businesses on High Streets across England and Wales. The grant will enable businesses to mitigate significant stock losses and cashflow challenges, including rent, that wage subsidies do not address. Many businesses are not in a position to take on further debt or have serious misgivings about being able to survive the recovery and service loans. Other cash pressures include suppliers, service charges and the cost of re-opening to repurchase stock and ongoing running costs.

“Teokath of London has built up a reputation as one of the best bridal retail shops in the UK. We are about delivering on the dreams of our brides and feel a massive responsibility to making sure they have their once in a lifetime dress. It means everything. Our business is our family, we all live, work and breath it – it’s our passion. With no income, we need access to a grant to pay suppliers and give us the breathing space we need to survive – without it we face the daunting prospect of folding.”

Steve Sotiriou, Teokath of London (Wimbledon)

The #RaiseTheBar campaign estimates a maximum of £1.365bn in Government support is needed to enable the RHLG grant to support all 54,638 businesses falling within a business rates threshold of £51,000 to £150,000.

Matthew Sims, CEO, Croydon BID and co-founder of #RaiseTheBar campaign said, “Access to the RHLG grant is a ticking time bomb for tens of thousands of businesses on our High Streets and in our local communities. There are just eight weeks until rent is due and the prospect of going under is an uncomfortable truth the Government needs to hear and act upon now. The consequences of failing to increase the business rates threshold are too grim to bear.”

Night Czar for the Greater London Authority, Amy Lamé said, “London’s night time economy makes a huge contribution to life in our capital, but so many of these local businesses are under threat because of the impact of the coronavirus. They have rightly closed their doors to play their part in tackling this health crisis, but too many are not being supported by the government despite losing their entire income. It’s essential the Government raises the bar so that these treasured businesses can get the support they need so they are able to open their doors again when the time comes.”

To support the campaign individually whether you work in the sectors or not, you can sign the Petition to show your support. SIGN HERE

 

NOTE TO EDITORS

The #RaiseTheBar campaign was founded by Croydon Business Improvement District and Mr Fox pub in Croydon and launched on 21 April with an open letter to Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma MP Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

A change.org petition is calling on the public to help save the nation’s High Streets. The petition needs to reach 10,000 signatures to be recognised by Government.

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.

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.