Helping our local businesses
The current offering in the town centre for all businesses is quite limited. These proposals are designed to solve this.
In the last few years the Council has been active in helping establish and support opportunities for existing retailers to have a collective voice. The initial Town Team continued to evolve and has now become the Wokingham Town Business Association with many of the towns national and independent retailers sitting on the steering committee.
It's a voluntary group made up of local businesses, retailers and interested residents who are all working to improve the town.
The Wokingham Town Business Association has the opportunity to meet on a regular basis with the Council's Chief Executive to ensure that issues affecting the town can be discussed and they can help influence decisions made locally.
We have also been consulting with local businesses and asking for their input into the regeneration proposals to ensure that the business voice is heard as part of the developing scheme.
Many of Wokingham's traders, including the town's first butcher in fifteen years, expressed their support for operating in the town. They described the appeal of the town and why it was welcoming for small businesses.
We have also been consulting with local businesses and asking for their input into the regeneration proposals to ensure that the business voice is heard as part of the developing scheme. A survey of 100 town centre businesses on the council's regeneration proposals showed overwhelming support for the proposals with 84% saying they believed that the regeneration proposals were vital for Wokingham's future.
Staying open for business
We also want to ensure that there is minimum impact on the surrounding area and businesses during construction of our projects at Elms Field, Carnival and Peach Place. During the construction work on the corner of Peach Place and Rose Street we made sure that existing tenants were able to stay open during the building work. And we made sure we co-ordinated our work so that we could open roads and pathways as soon as possible and even ahead of the scheduled programme.
We will continue to work closely with our contractors Dawnus at Peach Place and McLaughlin & Harvey at Elms Field to make sure they make every effort to minimise disruption in the town centre.
As we move forward we will continue to work closely with local residents and businesses to minimise impact on the surrounding area and business during construction.
If you are a business and have a question around the regeneration please contact us .
Business Support and Business Rates
Recognising that the regeneration projects at Elms Field and Peach Place, and the Market Place project around the town hall, may impact on local businesses Wokingham Borough Council has worked closely with Wokingham Town Council and the Business Association to put in place a variety of schemes to support local businesses during this period.
- Improved communications to businesses including drop in surgeries, meetings, regular newsletters and updates about the works
- Free consultancy support from Vail Williams in understanding what local and national Business Rates support is available, the information they will need to make a claim and how to submit it. Businesses interested in taking up this offer should contact the council at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Money set aside to fund local Section 47 Business Rates relief (this allows the council to reduce the amount of rates payable for businesses affected by the works. Businesses are considered on an individual basis)
- A range of marketing activities, events and campaigns to promote local businesses with a focus on supporting independent businesses
- Funding increased hours for the 'Love Wokingham' marketing expert and social media support to work with the business association and individual businesses to deliver marketing campaigns and promote local businesses and events
- Funding sessions with professional photographers to generate a bank of marketing collateral for local businesses and Love Wokingham to use in promotional material
- Working with the business association and the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM) to develop a Marketing Strategy for Wokingham (short term and long term vision)
- Offer to pre-fund the process of the Business Association moving forward with establishing a Business Improvement District (BID) for Wokingham town centre
As well as the Wokingham Business Association, there are a range of organisations that offer business support, and you can find more information on these below:
- Wokingham Borough Council's information for business
- Federation of Small Business – Thames Valley Region
- The Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce
- Business is Great - Support, advice and inspiration for growing your business
- Wokingham Borough Council – planning for shops and services
- Planning policy at Wokingham Borough Council