Dear BID Members,
We are living through extraordinary times and I wanted to remind you that the Plymouth Waterfront BID is here to support you as best we can. There are also a few updates I wanted to share including some operational changes and how BID Levy billing is being dealt with currently.
There are undoubtedly unprecedented business impacts arising from COVID-19. You will be all too aware of the impact on businesses in the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality sectors and that the Government has offered a number of support schemes including certain exemptions from business rates.
Regarding Levy bills, we have consulted with British BIDs, the Association of Town & City Management and The BID Foundation to seek a national view for the 326 UK BIDs. We have joined with these industry bodies to lobby the Government to extend payment exemptions to BID Levy. However, until the Government make a determination, the BID Levys still apply; therefore under the current BID Regulations, the Council is legally bound to collect them as the Government’s Regulations dictate.
BID Levy bills were circulated at the beginning of March, before the full risks from COVID-19 were known and the lockdown announced. The Council has agreed not to chase payments until the summer, to allow the Government time to reach a decision on the matter and hopefully for some form of normal business to resume. So please continue to pay your Levy and if you need to pay in stages this year, please contact the Council’s collections team to discuss this.
Your Waterfront BID is now more important than ever. We would strongly advocate that you pay your BID Levy so we can continue to support businesses through this difficult period, recruit a new CEO and Waterfront Manager and be ready for when businesses will most need support come the recovery. The BID Board are ensuring we use your Levy to best serve our Waterfront’s essential revival as soon as is practical later in the year. But it will not be business as usual, we have to rethink who our customers will be, what new behaviours they are likely to have and where visitors are likely to come from. Our marketing plans and events need to be rethought and linked closely with key partners across the city and wider region.
In the meantime, ensure you are drawing down the Government’s financial support. I would ask that you check your business eligibility for either a Small Business Grant or a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant. If you have received a letter from the Council’s Business Rates team ensure you apply.
You can check your eligibility via https://www.visitplymouth.co.uk/invest/business-support/covid-19/business-grants
The City Council has received widespread recognition for the management of these grant schemes, from which many PWP businesses will have directly benefited.
To offer practical support to help your business get through the next few weeks and months, don’t forget to make use of the BID’s media channels. If you have a service that could help other businesses or have diversified your business let us know about it and we will promote it through our BID website, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Send your offer to us via our Waterfront BID service with Eddystone Media: email@example.com or Facebook: @plymouthwaterfrontpartnership.
We are also working closely with Plymouth City Council, Destination Plymouth and the City Centre Company BID, to ensure a joined up service for all Plymouth businesses. For any business enquiry related to COVID-19 restrictions, financial support, sector specific advice and more, I would urge you to take a look at Invest in Plymouth at: www.visitplymouth.co.uk/invest/business-support/covid-19
As you will be aware our Chief Executive, Sarah Gibson, is joining the University of Plymouth Student’s Union in mid-April. With Sarah’s help we have achieved delivery of 80% of our Waterfront BID2 business plan, and since 2010, we have achieved an overall 87% delivery on some 70 projects. I am sure we all appreciate the hard work Sarah has done for us over the past ten years and whilst disappointed to be losing her from the Waterfront we are delighted for Sarah and the Student Union and wish her every success in her new role. Sarah wanted me to pass you this message:
“It’s been an absolute honour to represent our Waterfront business community and I've thoroughly enjoyed seeing the area improve through the BID’s work over the past ten years. Thank you for all your help, investments and support through the years, I’m really looking forward to seeing what you achieve together next. Wishing you every success and good health, warm wishes, Sarah Gibson.”
The Board will be working to recruit a successor to Sarah as soon as is practical and I am delighted to tell you that we have agreed an interim working arrangement with the Council. Many of you will know Patrick Knight who has supported us since the Company’s creation in 2010, Patrick understands our goals and will take up the interim role from now. If you would like to discuss how the PWP can assist your business please contact Patrick Knight, Interim CEO and Waterfront Manager, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In order to make some savings on our budget we have decided that our Business Liaison Manager, Sky Cole, will be placed in furlough until the end of May. This will not impact on our immediate activities and we will review this regularly so that Sky can return to work once practical to support us and the BID has plans for the Waterfront’s revival.
The BID is a key source of information for you and your business. I would therefore urge you to continue to regularly check our website www.waterfrontbid.co.uk and our Facebook and Twitter accounts to stay updated.
Our BIDs in Plymouth continue to play an extremely important role in keeping our City safe, secure, clean, attractive and much more and will be vital as part of the revival process once the restrictions are lifted. Our Waterfront BID has been extremely successful and has made and will continue to make a real difference. With your help and through the Waterfront BID’s work, we will bring people back to our streets, to our businesses and across our Waterfront once again.
Please stay in touch and above all stay safe during these uncertain times.
With best wishes,
Nick Buckland, OBE
Plymouth Waterfront Partnership