The Worthing Business Improvement District (BID) was first proposed to Worthing Businesses in July 2007; and in its first five year term over £1million has been invested on additional services to deliver improvements to Worthing Town Centre and its trading environment.
Through consultation the business community agreed that the priorites of the BID would be :-
- a cleaner and well maintained town centre
- a safe and welcoming town centre
- a vibrant and well-marketed town centre
BIDs can only be voted in for a maximum term of 5 years and with 2012/3 being the fifth year of the BID a renewal Ballot will be held during October with the results being available on 2nd November 2012.
Businesses with a rateable value of more than £10,000 currently contribute a 1% levy on their business rates and this money is collected by Worthing Borough Council; this money is ring fenced and spent locally on additional services within the BID area. BID levy payers decide how the money should be invested and the Business Plan and daily operations are overseen by a Steering Committee made up of BID levy payers.
The main focus on the Business Plan is to protect footfall and keep people visiting Worthing Town Centre. The UK trend in footfall to Town Centres is downwards with many people using the internet or out of town shopping areas. The actions being delivered by the Business Improvement District are helping to protect footfall and in 2011 footfall grew by 10.4% whereas the national average was a decline in footfall of 1.1%.
Chris Spratt Chairman of the Worthing Town Centre Initiative stated:
“Worthing is not just about one business. The reason that our customers choose to visit the town is to enjoy the whole offer. It is important to ensure that the visitor experience is memorable and encourages repeat visits. If everyone works together this can be achieved and Worthing can continue to be a thriving, vibrant and interesting town centre”.
Achievements of the BID - A Cleaner well Maintained Worthing
Montague Street and South Street receive 2 deep cleans with full chewing gum removal each year and ad hoc cleans of areas that are highlighted as needing improvement have also been arranged.
Where we can get building owner permissions we cover vacant units with vinyls on the windows, but where we can’t get approval we arrange for the windows to be cleaned and any flyposting removed.
The Rangers hand out portable ashtrays to the public and make sure that premises with outside seating have supplies that they can give to their customers free of charge.
Graffiti protection was provided for the underpass artwork that a community group completed to improve the route from the station to the town centre.
Christmas Light installation and removal is not included in the BID but improvements to the display have been provided from the BID fund.
The hanging basket trees that were not provided as part of the West End project have been funded and flowers for the West End from Crescent Road to Heene Road are paid for by the Business Improvement District.
The Pavilion Roundabout is given a fabulous floral display all year round.
Various small projects such as replacing the tree at the junction of Marine Parade and Montague Place have also been undertaken.
Achievments of the BID - A safe and welcoming Worthing
Town Centre Rangers – 2 Rangers patrol the Town helping with enquiries from the businesses and the Public, they also help to reduce business stock losses and minimise the fear of crime. These Ambassadors for the Town also patrol to ensure that any maintenance or cleansing issues are reported for a quick resolution.
Shopwatch – all BID levy payers can join the scheme free of charge with the only cost being for a radio if one is needed. Shopwatch members share intelligence and help each other should an incident occur. All members can apply for access to our website where details of persons of interest and details of store bans and Anti social behavior orders can be found along with Business Crime Reduction advice. The Police attend Shopwatch meetings and where possible carry a Shopwatch radio while on Town Centre patrol.
Achievements of the BID - A vibrant, well-marketed Worthing
Worthing Birdman – without the BID monies this event would now be in Brighton. The weekend delivers between 15,000 and 20,000 spectators and gains publicity from all over the world. The Gadget Show and CBBC’s all over the place have competed and episodes produced on the event
Worthing Ice Rink – This is a great winter event and brings between 17,000 and 26,000 skaters to Worthing. The Ice Rink attracts visitors to Worthing outside of our Retail catchment many of whom spend the day.
The BID has also funded smaller events to increase the dwell time for shoppers and these have included a High School Musical Event, Bjorn the Polar Bear at Christmas, Spongebob Squarepants, Scooby Doo’s Halloween, Easter Street Performers and activity day, World Cup Weekend.
The BID has funded a Taxi and Poster at Victoria Station to help encourage commuters to the coast for a day or weekend; there has also been a Shopping by the Sea poster campaign to attract the affluent shoppers from Mid Sussex to the town. A radio campaign on Heart FM delivered an increase in footfall during April 2011 of 23.8%; this campaign was repeated during July and other campaigns focusing on attracting shoppers from Mid Sussex are planned.
Press Releases on the positive news stories have been produced and other marketing materials such as pocket guides and information leaflets have been produced and circulated.
The Worthing Town Centre website www.worthingtowncentre.co.uk has been developed to include business listings and more information to encourage visitors including a comprehensive events calendar. This website is being marketed at major events and on the Town Centre Poster Sites.
Business Plan for 2012/13 Financial Year
- The Rangers will continue their patrols and will start to carry out work to develop the BID re-ballot business plan
- The Worthing International Birdman competition will take place over the weekend of 15th / 16th August
- There will be a Sunny Worthing Day weekend to celebrate Worthing and its lovely location on July 14th & 15th
- The first Food and Drink Festival will launch with Food Demo’s and talks in South Street on July 7th & 8th
- Montague Street and South Street will have 2 full chewing gum removal and deep cleans
- The Pavilion Roundabout will be maintained and the new plinth will display local artists work
- Hanging Baskets for the West End will continue to be funded
- Christmas Lights improvements will be implemented in Chapel Road
- A radio campaign on Bright FM will take place to encourage potential shoppers from our hinterland into Worthing to Shop by the Sea and a Heart FM campaign will also be funded
- We will continue to operate the Civic Centre Car Pak and will promote this for great value shopper parking
- After the first Christmas Ice Rink options for a private operator to take this over will be explored
- Improve the Banners on the Gateways to Town
- Support and organise events and activities to encoruage people to Worthing during the Queens Diamon Jubilee / the Olympics and the Olympic flames visit to Worthing
BID Renewal Ballot for a second term
The BID was voted in for the period of 5 years starting on 1st April 2008 and so the businesses within the BID area will have the opportunity to reconsider the Business Improvement District in Autumn 2012. This process will include a formal ballot of those businesses that will be liable for the levy as well as a full review of what the town needs. There are now 125 BIDs throughout the UK delivering bespoke business plans for the area they have been voted in. Locally Brighton and Chichester are both BIDs both with a focus on attracting footfall from the Worthing area.
The date completion of the Ballot has now been set at 1st November 2012 and the business plan and consultation is being planned at the moment. A new focus for the 2nd term of the BID will be Car Parking with some funds being used to tender to take over the Car Parks from NCP when their contract expires in 2014.
Click here for the 2nd Term Business Plan
The 4 Priorities for the second term of the BID are:
- To create an environment that is clean and well-maintained
- To provide a safe and welcoming town centre
- To add vitality and drive footfall through markeing and a varied events programme
- To improve transport, parking, orientation and accessibility