It’s going to be an interesting week, and we’re hoping that tomorrow’s announcements will give more certainty to businesses still waiting to hear when they can reopen. The outcome of the review into the possibility of reducing the physical distance between people will also be welcome.
Response to reopening of non-essential retailers
Whilst not all of our businesses are back yet, it was great to see so many non-essential retailers opening their doors last Monday. The day was met with enthusiasm from locals, with a great turnout in the town centre, suggesting visitors have confidence in the Covid-19 secure measures taken by businesses and the agencies responsible for the high street.
The BID’s footfall counter in London Road recorded a massive 82% increase in footfall compared with the previous Monday, and, whilst the initial surge levelled, there was a sustained increase for the rest of the week. It will be interesting to see how this week’s predicted good weather affects footfall in the town centre – I’ll provide the figures next Monday.
Weekly footfall comparison: BID footfall data pre and post reopening non-essential retailers
Monday 15th June: + 82%
Tuesday 16th June: +43%
Wednesday 17th June: +76%
Thursday 17th June: +45%
Friday 18th June: +39%
Saturday 19th June: +40%
Sunday 20th June: +29%
Compared to last year’s figures for the same week, footfall is down by 36 %.
We know that having more people in town doesn’t necessarily have a direct impact on your tills, but hopefully it’s been a positive reopening experience for you.
How is the BID supporting businesses right now?
Town Centre Management
In addition to making sure businesses have all of the information they need, the BID has been playing an integral role in making sure the town centre was ready for the first set of shop re-openings, and ensuring it stays that way. This has involved co-ordinating with multiple departments within Arun District Council, Sussex Police, West Sussex County Council and Bognor Regis Town Council’s Town Force Team. The agencies have been working together to co-ordinate efforts to design, produce and install signage and floor markers, and to make sure facilities are open for people to use.
The reality is that this is a long haul, and some of the recommendations the BID put forward to make Bognor Regis “Covid-19 secure” - including making more space for pedestrians - are still under consideration. It’s also highly likely that some things that are in place now will need to change as we react to new government guidance. More challenges will arise as more businesses reopen, and we are monitoring and feeding back to the right agencies to make sure any arising situations are dealt with.
Bespoke Social Distancing Campaign for Bognor Regis
Over the next few weeks you’ll start seeing a BID-led initiative with bright, colourful safety messages going up all around Bognor Regis. New banners have already gone up in London Road and High Street, and a further set will be brightening up The Arcade very soon. Over the next few weeks we’ll be installing new floor markers, lamppost wraps and window vinyls in the same design, and providing co-ordinating shop posters for any businesses that would like to display them in their windows. We’ll let you know how you can access these very soon.
This Bognor Regis-specific social distancing campaign is a partnership project between the BID and Arun District Council, with the design created by VINCO Marketing. Whilst this is a BID-led initiative, it is being entirely funded through ADC’s “Reopening Town Centres Safely” allocation from the European Regional Development Fund, and is for the benefit of all of Bognor Regis, so will be offered to all businesses in locations outside of the BID area.
Once all business have reopened safely, the BID will be leading on a secondary campaign encouraging people back into the town, emphasising the space available in Bognor Regis, and the range of small businesses offering things to enjoy whilst here. There will be an additional focus on independent retailers, highlighting the range and diversity of what Bognor Regis has to offer.
Parking – extension to two-hour parking disc scheme
With the Covid-19 secure systems in place, people are having to spend longer queuing in town than they would normally. The BID is therefore proactively working with BRTC and Arun District Council to see if we can offer a temporary extension of the parking discs from two hours to three hours.
Our proposal is to use exactly the same discs, in exactly the same car parks, but to delay enforcement until after three hours – we’ll run a marketing campaign and provide poster overlays to let people know. We’ve proposed to ADC that the scheme will run until the end of December 2020.
It’s not quite as straightforward as I’ve made it sound, as of course everything that’s agreed for Bognor Regis has to be applied equally to the other Arun Towns, and there’ll be some politics involved, and costs that will need to be covered. However, the process is underway, and I’ll let you all know as soon as we have a decision either way.
Let us know what you need
Please contact us directly if you have any concerns, ideas or observations – it’s the only way we can represent your views and take action on your behalf. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the BID’s social media channels get in touch. I know a lot of things that we could help with are raised on other social media platforms, but there are only so many hours in the day! So, if you’d like the BID to act on something, drop me a quick line, or give me a call – I’m always happy to listen and see how we can support.
Government Support Videos
The Government has updated its guidance videos about the support available to businesses affected by Coronavirus:
Extended measures to prevent struggling companies from eviction over the summer.
The Government have announced a new code which provides support to shops and local firms planning their future recovery with their landlord.
You can contact us by email: email@example.com, by phone: 07917 692690 or through Zoom meeting software. The software is free to download and works across a wide range of platforms – phones, tablets, PC’s, Macs. If you’d like a virtual face to face, please invite: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kindest regards, Heather
Heather Allen, BR BID Co-Ordinator