In November last year, businesses with a Rateable Value [RV] of over £6,000 in Neath Town Centre Business Improvement District had the opportunity to vote in a ballot for or against the establishment of a Business Improvement District (BID). The vote for the Business Improvement District achieved a majority. Consequently, a levy of 1.25% has been applied to businesses based on the Rateable Values of their properties. This will remain in place for the next 5 years and will generate just under half a million pounds of investment for the town.
This money will be invested in a series of projects designed to help the businesses in the Business Improvement District improve their business and make the town more vibrant, attractive and more competitive with other centres, increasing footfall and employment opportunities.
Neath Port Talbot County BC has authorised Neath Inspired Limited a not for profit company limited by guarantee as the legal entity to utilise the BID levy to carry out the objectives of a Business Improvement District.
The Board of Directors has developed the overall strategic vision, is managing the company’s finances, formulating policies and procedures, directing programme planning, establishing theme groups and is reviewing & evaluating each project.
The board has set up 3 theme groups who are developing and implementing a delivery plan.
Their priority is to make Neath a distinctive, lively and rewarding destination, encouraging repeat visits and building a loyal customer base.
Each theme group has authority to act upon a clear set of devolved tasks and will deliver targeted marketing campaigns to enhance Neath’s image.
- First Theme Group – Creating a Better Experience
“Believe in Better”
A more accessible, attractive and welcoming town centre will drive up footfall, encourage prolonged dwell time and grow the number of return visits.
- A new initiative in partnership with NPTCBC is providing free parking on the 3rd floor of the multi storey car park – currently with around 60 cars utilising the free car parking every day.
- Working with traders, the Police and NPTCBC anti-social behaviour in and around the Parade and Happy Homes has seen a considerable reduction in the number of incidents and will shortly see the implementation of an Anti-social Behaviour Watch Zone.
- New directional signage is being considered
2. Second Theme Group – Promoting a Strong Identity
“Family, friends, fun and laughter”
A distinctive, lively and rewarding destination will grow a wider reputation, encourage repeat visits and build a loyal local customer base.
- A partnership between Neath Inspired Limited, The Wave and Swansea Sound has agreed a series of four new seasonal marketing campaigns, [10 weeks in all] each culminating in a Neath Town Centre/Wave Road Show. The build up to these events will inform local town centre users of the considerable retail and service mix that Neath has to offer. The first campaign “Shop till you Drop” will commence on 14th November, Welsh Week around St David’s Day 2017, “Bring a Beach to Neath” for Summer 2017 and a September 2017 campaign makes up the four.
- Neath Inspired Limited is and will support existing seasonal events including the Guitar Festival, Comedy Week, The Beer & Cider Festival, The Food and Drink Festival and Christmas in Neath by bringing in complimentary activity.
The web site is being enlarged and improved to publicise town centre businesses and seasonal town centre events more effectively.
- Third Theme Group – Growing Neath’s Businesses
Training, investing together in services, reducing costs, sharing best practice and supporting employees and the wider community will make Neath a better place to do business, a more appealing place to work
- Businesses will be offered Free Training in multi-media marketing via Facebook, & the Web and in other areas identified by a questionnaire.
- Neath Inspired Limited will be seeking out deals to reduce the cost of waste disposal, electricity and other expenses.
- Free token advertising opportunities linked to seasonal activities will be provided to Neath Inspired members
Neath Inspired Limited represent 285 businesses who pay the Business Improvement District levy, which amounts to 1.25% on their Business Rates.
These together with over 20 businesses from Neath Market & others have made voluntary contributions which makes them also Neath Inspired Limited members.
The objectives of Neath Inspired Limited are geared to supporting all businesses within the Business Improvement District area, increasing town centre vitality, footfall and competitiveness against other centres and maintaining the vitality that we have already, building on it and developing Neath’s potential into a thriving commercial hub.
Loyal local people and visitors regularly shop and use the wide variety of other town centre businesses and facilities.
The town centre is a very important place, an economic driver of major importance, with over 3,000 people employed or working here. Therefore, it is of vital importance to get the overall town centre experience “right” for all.
What’s in the mix?
- 285 Businesses represented plus other voluntary contributors
- 217 Shops, Cafés, food sellers [counting the market as 1 store]
- 52 Service businesses and local amenities
- 18 Pubs & Clubs
- 9 Banks
- 3 Hotels
There are 29 vacant properties in the Business Improvement District representing a 10% vacancy rate well below the current average in Wales of 15.5%.
What are the issues that traders and the public see as most important?
- Anti-Social Behaviour
- Street Scene
How will Neath Inspired Limited tackle the issues?
- Working in Partnership with NPT, the Police, the Town Council, the Chamber of Trade and other organisations
- Achieving marginal gains in all areas and on all issues
- Making Neath a Great Place to visit and work
- Leaving a positive legacy for the future