19th August 2015Back to Blog
Today’s blog is on the make up of businesses in WA14. Who are the businesses that make up this great town? One of the major talking points of the BID planning was the boundaries that it covers. As it happens, these boundaries pretty much cover the heavily-dominated retail and leisure areas. You can see below that the major retail and leisure areas are included at the edge but as soon as you get towards office territory, or other forms of business, the boundary stops. It seems in terms of the BID, it literally is all about central Altrincham only. If you are in the following:
Your opinion is not valid. Are they not Altrincham? Are they not part of the identity and fabric that is part of tenet 5 of the bid? Do all those workers and business owners not live in the local area, work in the centre, spend money in the centre yet they are frozen out as the BID district only covers the retail streets? Do they not contribute thousands and thousand of pounds to the local economy? Take the very active social media companies in Altrincham who do a fantastic job of promoting events, retail openings, sales and all things going on in the area. Even they have been cut out as their offices are not on George Street!! I mean WOW, just wow. Those guys deserve the freedom of the town in my opinion and do as much for this great town as anyone. Tongue very firmly in cheek, it’s hard not to think that the RID missed a trick by not making the BID district on a 3d Map. By doing that, any offices above the retail outlets could have been trimmed. Ground floor only ;) In terms of the above boundaries, here’s an example of the make up of those businesses in terms of available data. Note: it is only a snapshot. Circa 100 are retail and leisure and what lives on AltrinchamForward.com (highlighted in yellow) from c250. The rest are dark matter. On that basis, I would expect the current BID plan to reflect this. So that’s Retail and Leisure making approx 40% of the business. The below data is not exhaustive, it misses out most self employed entities and about 40% of business due to the limitations of business data BUT it is reflective of the types of business in that area and the percentage split of industry. (CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE) If we were to include the roads just outside the BID boundary (see below) – ergo, include more of the traditional areas where the office-based industries sit (and are still very much in Altrincham) then the results show that Retail and Leisure make up 160 of 524 business. That’s Retail and Leisure making up approximately 30% of Altrincham business. If anyone would like me to email them a breakdown of those businesses, I would be delighted to. So, based on the current BID Boundaries – R&L make up approx 40% of the business but account for 78% of the survey responses which the current BID policies were created from. If the BID boundary was expanded by approximately 400 yards in each direction, then R&L make up approx only 30% of the business demographic but account for 78% of the survey responses which the current BID policies were created from. I am just providing what I think to be relevant information and letting you make your own mind up as to whether the current BID is too heavily weighted to George Street and Retail and Leisure. By definition, those survey responses would nearly show up on George Street, Regent Road and Stamford New Road as a heat map. In February 2014, Trafford released the ‘Altrincham Strategy’ which sets out a 10 year framework for planning and realising opportunities within the town. The strategy area for ‘Altrincham Strategy’ is below. The rationale for the boundary is “to support increased economic activity within the town centre and improvements to its vitality and viability”. The difference between the Trafford Council Strategy map and the BID Map is that the Strategy map includes offices. Hence you would have roughly a 30% representation of Retail and Leisure in that boundary. So, yesterday, we mentioned how 80% of all responses to the BID group list of required projects were from Retail. Today, we discussed the make up of Altrincham (it’s not all retail) and what I believe to fair boundaries of Altrincham. Tomorrow, we shall go over the BID policies in more detail to work out whether there is Retail and Leisure bias and look at the ROI of investing in the current BID before I jot down some ideas on what I believe to a balanced BID to help all business in Altrincham. What we know is that a disproportionate amount of retailers responded to the BID proposal survey compared to the economic backdrop of Altrincham. That is a fact. Is there an argument to say that payment of the levy should be in similar ratios or not? Are the policies based on 80% responses of one industry alone with that industry only accounting for 30% of Altrincham? Is that fair on all industries in the BID blast radius? All questions that we will look to provide information around for people to make their own minds up. Make no mistake, Retail and Leisure may be at the heart of Altrincham but the ‘dark matter’ of Altrincham’s B2B, services and online businesses are the lungs and we should have a voice. We should have used that voice before when it came to the survey – I don’t know why more businesses didn’t respond.