It’s a question often posed on social media and one where the answer demands more space than a social media response can either merit or facilitate.
We thought the information below might be helpful to people and businesses who have questions about the work of the Andover Business Improvement District (BID).
In the spirit of openness we thought it would appropriate to remind readers that at Love Andover – a BID levy payer – we firmly put our flag in the sand over the way in which a Business Improvement District appeared in Andover. It wasn’t pleasant – in fact, we, like many, thought it gruesome.
But that is firmly in the past – and as an organisation whose very existence is to engages with tens of thousands of people every week in Andover, and support its businesses and not-for-profit organisations, we – like the BID – are very much focused on the town’s future.
Today, we work with the Andover BID company as we believe it is a voice for businesses, a force for good and an enabler of the practical things we all want, which are all gift wrapped in a service that exists to ‘improve our town’.
The BID members comprise of over 200 town centre businesses ranging from independent and multiple retailers, the hospitality sector including pubs, restaurants, bars and clubs, leisure companies and the professional sector such as estate agents, solicitors and accountants.
We have spoken to many businesses that have benefited from some of the BID initiatives including the Waste Charter, the radio scheme and other various promotions which were launched last year. Some have immediately saved their business money and covered the cost of their annual BID levy payment (1.5% of rateable value, by the way).
Ahead of a longer list of some of the BID’s work over the past year, we feel we must remind ourselves that the current make-up, focus and operation of the BID is vastly different to the original steering group, indeed its founder members, who laid the foundations for this path.
The BID Manager is highly visible in the town and welcomes ideas and discussions for business initiatives. The BID board are local and are drawn from all sectors of Andover business.
We believe that the future is bright for our town. Especially if everyone works together.
A BIT OF HISTORY
Andover Business Improvement District (BID) was established in April 2019 and is one of over 250 BIDs in the UK. A BID is an arrangement whereby businesses come together in a formal way as an ideal mechanism to form and develop a dynamic business environment to promote footfall and dwell time within the town centres.
The Andover BID has a 5-year term and is funded by over 200 businesses within Andover Town Centre. The BID is an independent, not for profit company with a board of directors drawn from its members who represent levy payers. They are responsible for the governance of the company and oversee the BID strategy with funds for investment of c.£1,000,000 over the five-year period.
Andover BID works closely with its stakeholders including Test Valley Borough Council.
Appointed a BID manager, Steve Godwin – April 2019
Recruited and appointed the manager as the operational face of Andover BID, to oversee and implement the 5-year BID strategy and manage the BID affairs, accountable to the directors through the chair of BID. The BID Manager has a strong and experienced business background
Met with BID members/sought views – from April 2019 – ongoing
The BID manager has spent the first-year meeting with many businesses listening and ascertaining views on what they would like from the BID over its first five-year term..
Established a board of directors – May 2019
To ensure good governance, a board of directors has been drawn from the local business community in the town, sector specific with the purpose of the governance and strategic influence of the BID.
Established an initial & temporary BID website – May 2019
The website was built free of charge by a contact of the BID Manager at no charge to BID to enable it to get started.
Started a weekly PR & Social Media campaign – May 2019
To become a pro-active social media presence centred around BID members and promoting Andover as a centre of excellence.
Andover Food Fair – May 2019
In response to demand, BID delivered this spring event and carefully monitored the impact on businesses.
Supported the re-launch of Pubwatch – From May 2019
Pubwatch as an effective vehicle to publicans, bars and the evening and night-time economy was relaunched with a structure, committee and constitution with BID providing its insurance, and supporting the licensed industry through administration and communications.
Andover Gardening Fair – June 2019
Following requests, we delivered this summer event and carefully monitored the impact on businesses.
Facilitated letting a short-term pop-up empty retail unit – Lindy’s Boutique – May 2019
As part of its business prospectus, this is the first of an initiative to bring new businesses to the town. This business was a 6-month pop-up unit.
Initiated an Andover Independents (“Indies”) group – June 2019
BID recognised that an Andover’s town centre strengths, is the number and quality of independent businesses.. Working closely with business owners BID formed an indies group to support, promote and help to market these businesses through a range of initiatives.
Recruited a part time business support co-ordinator, Andy Hunt – July 2019
With BID supporting over 200 town centre business, a front facing and interactive role was developed to support businesses from the retail, hospitality and leisure, as well as the professional service sectors..
Launched a business Waste Charter and members saving scheme – July 2019
To support businesses and introduce a uniformed and cost saving approach to collecting business waste where nothing goes to landfill and providing high levels of competitively priced services through a long established and sustainable family business.
In the Loop 1 – Aug 2019
The first 4pp printed BID information Newsletter & e-news to members with hard copies delivered and informing businesses of the work of BID.
Sponsorship of the Andover Festival of Motoring – Aug 2019
Allowing this festival to return to the town after a gap of several years and with emphasis on driving footfall. A directly linked business offer, printed and distributed 5,000 leaflets to the public over the weekend linking special promotions to the event so that businesses could link and benefit from the additional footfall.
Let a 2nd empty retail unit – Alex McGarry Studio and Gallery – Sep 2019
Developed an opportunity to bring another new business to the town establishing a quirky online business with a high street presence, adding something new to the versatile independent offer of the town.
Two-Way Digital Radio Scheme – Nov 2019
Introduced and launched a FREE to members two-way radio scheme – 50 radios initially provided providing businesses including retailers and the licensed trade the ability to communicate with each other, thus improving communications and adding to the safety of the town.
Contactless Car Parking Payment facilities and cheaper town centre car parking
Through BID lobbying Test Valley Borough Council, they made the decision to replace all the machines earlier this year, TVBC have agreed contactless machine installations which are now complete. It means payment by contactless cards, smartphones as well as cash. Two-hour car parking is now available for the price of one hour and is completely free of charge for the first two-hours at Sheperds Spring Lane Car Park
FREE public Wi-Fi – Nov 2019
At the request of businesses, a commitment was made by BID to provide FREE public space WiFi for Andover Town centre, the Chantry Centre and the Railway Station whilst an opportunity to establish footfall data collection to facilitate Andover town centre becoming a digital town. The system is currently being installed with a launch due in Feb 2020.
“INDIES” Prize Competition – Dec 2019
A popular and successful Indies Christmas prize competition aimed at promoting retail businesses in the town centre leading up to Christmas and through a competition, encouraging people to move around the town and generating footfall.
In the Loop 2’ – Nov 2019
A second 4pp printed & e BID Newsletter, delivered and circulated to town centre businesses and BID stakeholders to inform of initiatives and activities.
On-Line ‘Best’ Christmas window competition – Dec 2019
Taking an existing promotion, BID added a new twist and updated the idea to encourage footfall and movement around the town with members of the public voting on-line for the best Christmas window display. The winner received a BID cash prize and a hamper of presents from local businesses whilst the winning retailer received a voucher to spend on a meal in a local pub.
PR & Media – April/Mar
Issued more than 50 topical & timely media and PR releases promoting various businesses, initiatives and activities in the town all aimed at highlighting Andover as a centre of excellence.
Direct marketing and integrated communications – Dec 2019
BID linked to a specialist consultant to provide marketing support with the aim of generating additional footfall and a strong media presence for the town.
Master Planning Consultation – Jan 2020
Facilitated and held a designated business seminar to meet and represent Andover businesses as major consultee of the Master Planning process for the redevelopment of Andover Town Centre. The feedback from this highly attended event was communicated to TVBC and the master planning company for consideration in the plan.
Andover Indies Shopping Bag – Jan 2020
Answering the request of independent businesses, BID produced an attractive hessian Tote shopping bag listing a newly designed Andover Indies on one side with a list of the individual retailers on the reverse. The bag was produced in large quantities and distributed free of charge to the many Indies businesses in town to give away to customers.
The BID started their second year at the beginning of April 2020 amid the COVID-19 lockdown period when many town centre businesses were completely closed. During this lockdown period, Andover BID has remained proactive and supportive to the many businesses in the town who have required help and support through ensuring regular communications and bulletins with clear and consistent interpretation of the many Government schemes available to businesses.
On Andover Radio alone, the Andover BID provided over 80 separate pieces of useful information and advice to businesses. Every weekday since lockdown they have shared an average of three pieces of new information and advice for businesses on social media.
Working with the local authority and local business Saxon Safety, the BID provided a free COVID-19 Risk Assessment and Poster Service to businesses enabling them to safely reopen knowing that they are COVID-19 compliant.COVID 19 posters – A suite of retail posters, social distancing & floor posters aimed at communicating with customers.
Regular updates and support to businesses re COVID-19 government support.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, BID has worked closely with individual businesses offering them support and advice to ensure their businesses were able to continue in very difficult circumstances.
Andover Town Centre Delivery Service
Introduction of a local delivery service for independent traders in conjunction with PHAT services to SP9, SP10 & SP11 postcode areas. Offered completely free of charge to businesses for one month after which a small delivery charge of between £2 -£4 per drop will be made. The purpose of this is to enable small businesses to compete with on-line delivery platforms. And for the delivery service to continue.
The BID was also instrumental in reversing a decision which would have meant one-way walkways through the lanes like George Yard and Union Street. A change that was warmly welcomed by retailers.
Succeeded in achieving one month’s FREE 2-hour car parking in all town centre car parks from Test Valley Borough Council following the lifting of lockdown restrictions.
There are, of course, many things due to be launched, these include (but are not limited to):
- Crack the Code – A massive promotional campaign on radio, social media, leaflets and the newspaper in support of the re-opening of Andover town centre and aimed at encouraging people to come back into town after a 3-month COVID-19 lock down period. It includes the opportunity for 70 businesses to participate in £500 of free radio and social advertising.
- Launch of In Andover, a new and exciting consumer website for Andover town centre
- Launch of Andover BID – A new BID website for businesses
- Launch of Secure App to support retailers, pubs, and bars
- Continuation of Andover BID Free public Wi-Fi
- A new uniformed BID security ‘Ranger’ Service to commence in August
- The opportunity of new indoor Artisan Indoor Market
- Launch of ‘Five Deal Friday’
- #ShopAndover Voucher Scheme
- A reprint of the popular Indies bag scheme
- A range of consumer Competitions for retail businesses
Yeah. But, apart from all that… what has the BID ever done for us?