The Business Improvement District (BID) for Lowestoft fired the starting gun earlier this week (27 March) to secure another five years in which to further boost the success of the town centre.
Since 2013 Lowestoft Vision, which is managed by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, has been working with its BID businesses and other partners to make the town centre more appealing, more attractive, more influential and more secure.
Over 40 businesses from the BID area were joined by other businesses, public sector partners and Lowestoft Vision staff for a cheese and wine reception at Hoseasons’ headquarters.
They heard about the arrangements for Lowestoft Vision to renew its contract and carry on delivering its many great initiatives, including the Christmas lights and trees, the part-funding of a town centre-based Police Community Support Officer, the town security radio scheme, Cardboard collection, the hanging basket displays and the many special events such as the 1940s weekend, Christmas lights switch on, Freddie the fish trail, Pancake day race, Spooky Saturday and many more.
All levy-paying businesses within the Lowestoft Vision BID area will be sent a ballot paper in the post from 23 April, with voting beginning on 27 April. This ballot closes on the 24 May and the outcome announced soon afterwards once the papers have been counted.
John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber, spoke at the event and focused on the 2.9% increase in footfall achieved in the BID since 2013.
“When this figure is compared to the general decline in high street business in that time and for the years before and after – then a trend-bucking 2.9% is a massive proof point in favour of what Lowestoft Vision has achieved and an indication of what it will achieve over the next five years if our mandate is renewed.”
Matt Griggs, store manager of Coes in Bevan Street East added “our business here is one of the fastest growing branches in our company across East Anglia. Why?
“Because Lowestoft is slowly becoming a place where there is shopping, events and things to see and there is a purpose to visit. Lowestoft Vision has already set down the foundations of a town that is enjoyable to be in and a pleasure to visit.”
Lowestoft Vision chair, Danny Steel, detailed the many initiatives that had contributed to this success and urged a ‘yes’ vote to allow another five years of work to be undertaken.
“To allow Lowestoft Vision to deliver even more footfall-increasing schemes, we need a simple majority of the votes cast. It is important to bear in mind that a ‘no’ vote will mean that Lowestoft Vision will cease to exist as a company along with all the benefits of its various projects and services.”
Amie Mullen Lowestoft Vision's Business Co ordinator said “It was a great, positive evening and we feel that we are really starting to put our mark on Lowestoft. We are here to improve the overall experience of our town, whether you are a visitor, a business or a resident. It’s really as simple as this, if we are not successful, then everything will completely come to an end, all the wonderful events, our town centre PCSO, the list is endless.”
Lowestoft Vision has produced a new business plan setting out its objectives should it successfully renew its mandate in May which will be circulated to BID levy-payers next month, and available on their website from mid-April.
Part Funded Police Community Support Officer
In 2015 Lowestoft Vision, on behalf of BID businesses, began to part-fund a full-time Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) to work solely within the BID area.
As part of the agreement with Suffolk Constabulary, Lowestoft Vision is able to set the priories each quarter for the PCSO that are based on the needs of our businesses within the BID area. These priorities included reducing crime, reducing street drinking and street begging and to enforce parking restrictions.
Because of this, from April 2015 to April 2017 there has been a 23.8% reduction of shop thefts in the BID area. Anti-social behaviour has been reduced by 34.5% from April 2015 to April 2017. 778 Parking notices have been issued by BID PCSO from April 2015 to April 2017 and over 2390 PCSO patrol hours delivered in the BID area (April 2015 – April 2017).
26th February 2018
New pedestrian signs have been installed throughout Lowestoft linking together key attractions and encouraging visitors to explore the town.
Officially unveiled on Monday 26 February, the new ‘wayfinding’ signage will guide visitors from Kensington Gardens in the south through to Sparrows Nest Gardens in the north. The signs will improve navigation around the town and highlight places of interest, interesting side streets and ‘hidden gems’. Signs also give walking times between key attractions.
Jointly funded by Waveney District Council and Lowestoft Vision, the signs are located in key positions around the town and will encourage visitors to explore the award-winning South Beach, Kirkley Village, Royal Plain, Station Square, the town centre, the historic High Street and Ness Point.
Cllr Michael Ladd, Waveney District Council’s cabinet member for Tourism and Economic Development said: “These attractive new signs will help visitors navigate the town, allowing them to discover interesting destinations such as the beach, the historic Scores and a variety of public spaces. The town has much to explore and by raising the profile of these ‘hidden’ areas, visitors will be more likely to enjoy longer stays and more frequent return visits.
“The wayfinding scheme is part of a wider vision to attract new visitors to Lowestoft and boost the local economy and sits alongside a number of other regeneration projects for the South Beach and seafront area.”
Danny Steel, Chairman of Lowestoft Vision said: “We are delighted to have been involved with this joint project with Waveney District Council. The new signage will be a great benefit to residents and visitors to Lowestoft. The project was the direct result of requests from town centre businesses to improve the information offered to the public. We have already had very positive comments from businesses."
Improved wayfinding was identified as a priority in the Lowestoft Coastal Community Team’s Seafront Strategy, after a 2015 visitor survey highlighted a need for better pedestrian signage and increased availability of displays and maps. The signs, which are one of the first projects to be delivered from the Seafront Strategy, compliment Lowestoft Vision’s existing banners in the town centre.
The new eye-catching signs, which cover an area of approximately 4 miles, carry the Discover Lowestoft branding with blue signs denoting seafront areas, pink showcasing the town centre and orange signage in the historic High Street. The signs were created by Suffolk-based Mödel Signage.
To celebrate the official launch of the wayfinding scheme, the Council and Lowestoft Vision will be running a competition to encourage residents and visitors to explore the town. Leaflets will be available from Lowestoft Library or can be downloaded from the Discover Lowestoft website here.
Hnaging baskets and Planters will be erected by Waveney Norse in late May.
For this year WaveneyNorse will included a few different species of plants.