Business News coronavirus

BID Manager: High Street Q&A

Andover BID Dave Stanbridge Tip Top

Throughout lockdown, the manager of Andover’s Business Improvement District has been keeping residents and business owners up-to-date with coronavirus developments that affect our high street.

Daily social media posts, online and printed articles plus a daily update on Andover Radio have all been leading to yesterday’s re-opening of the high street.

BID Manager Steve Godwin is available for questions from businesses through the Andover BID website.

We have fielded some questions from people to Mr Godwin about what to expect in our high street:

Andover opening again?

“Andover town centre has started to open again after nearly 12 weeks of lockdown and as restrictions begin to lift, safety has been our number one consideration and a huge amount of background work has gone in to preparing and ensuring that it is a safe and easy for people to return to.

“The BID has worked closely with Test Valley Borough Council and local businesses to ensure that we are prepared.”

What can people expect?

“Yesterday was the first day when many non-essential businesses were open, others are opening today and as the week goes on. As people visit town, they will find retailers are well prepared.

“Many have taken advantage of a professional health & safety risk assessment & signage that BID has facilitated, and we have systems in place and good clear signage so that customers are aware of how to shop in individual stores and stay safe.

“We are so fortunate in Andover to have large areas of pedestrianisation and plenty of room unlike some of the larger town and cities around us that can’t offer that safety. The High Street and Chantry Centre have made plans of how people should safely distance and we have plenty of car parking which TVBC have made completely free for the first two hours.”

The future for Andover?

“It’s an interesting question and one that we as BID have been giving a great deal of thought to over the last few weeks. There is no doubt that retail is changing, and coronavirus has accelerated the changes. There is likely to be less retail but what we have will be of high quality where choice and customer service is vital.

“Many of our businesses have already adapted their business models and can offer an online presence and BID has just announced that it is facilitating a FREE customer delivery service for the independent in the town. This means that the people of Andover have the best of all worlds, retail where they can see the products, online and a delivery service which includes the villages around as far as Ludgershall.

“As a small Hampshire market town, we are perfectly placed for a healthy future. Coronavirus has changed our lives”

Shop Andover?

“For the consumer, local is becoming more important. BID is working hard with businesses and stakeholders to support Andover. We all have a social conscience, so this is a real window of opportunity for the high street. Statistics are saying people don’t want to travel and want to buy locally.

“Local businesses are embracing the opportunities and challenges and we know that community and connection are vitally important to a town centre. When you think of how conveniently placed Andover is with ample and low-cost parking, we compete so well with larger town centres who may suffer. We have seen that recently with the demise of several big brand names, and the closing of departmental stores and that includes including Debenhams and others.

“Andover is fighting back though, and our local high street has a great future when local, safety, ease of access and enjoyment is high on everyone’s agenda.”

Andover BID is behind a new marketing platform called In Andover which will be unveiled over the coming weeks. Already they have facilitated the start of a large cash giveaway promotion and the opportunity to win thousands of pounds of #ShopAndover vouchers.

Andover BID have also orchestrated £35,000 of free advertising for local businesses in the high street area.

Andover Unlocked In Andover

About the author

David Harber

David Harber is the founder and Managing Director of Love Andover, including the Love Andover Observer newspaper and 95.9FM Andover Radio. He is a fellow at the Royal Society of Arts and a card carrying member of the Nation Union of Journalists.