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BID Update

Save The High Street

As we are all aware there is significant interest both nationally & locally on health of the High Street and on your behalf, we, at the BID are engaging wherever possible in initiatives we think will benefit bury St Edmunds and our businesses. We are in touch with the “Save our High Street” organisation and they have asked that we encourage as many of our businesses as possible to complete a short online survey so they can gauge what are the keys issues for town centre businesses. Additionally there are some benefits for businesses who complete the survey, namely, each high street business who completes it will receive a health-check report and score, 3 top ideas to grow their revenue, access to exclusive data on their own market opportunity and the option of a consultancy call with a high street marketing expert. All for free. The survey is accessible throughout January with businesses receiving their own health-checks by the first week of February latest. If you are interested then please click on this link;


Car Parking Review

You may have seen that the Council have produced a car parking report proposing increases across all the car parks as well as withdrawing the Free from 3 offer on a Tuesday and all to take effect from 6th April. Please be assured that I am across this and doing all I can to ensure any decisions on this issue take into consideration the impact upon yourselves and your customers. There is considerable uproar on social media about the content of this report and it’s timing when town centre business is such a challenge. We Love Bury St Edmunds have created an online petition and if we want to show the Council the strength of feeling on this issue from business and residents it would be great if you, your friends, families and colleagues were able to sign it. The link is here for you to click on


Social Media Training

There are still a few places remaining on our FREE social media sessions, which is a great opportunity to freshen up those social media skills. Once again we have secured Nick Pandolfi from MENTA to deliver three different two hour social media sessions on Monday 17th February at Oakes Barn. You can sign up for all three sessions or just the ones that particularly interest you. The sessions, which are intended to be pitched at an introductory/general refresher level, are;

0900-1100 Google My Business

1115-1315 Facebook

1400-1600 Smartphone Video


A lunch will be provided between 1315-1400 for those who require it and is a great opportunity to network with other BID businesses.


Just email and let him know your requirements ASAP

Here is the final BID Update for 2019!


2019 has been such a challenging and dramatic year both professionally and personally for most of us with the uncertainty regarding the future of our country. Locally footfall numbers continue to reduce and retail unit vacancy rates continues to rise (albeit still favourable in regards of both in comparison with similar towns to ours both locally and nationally).


There have been announcements this week from the Government about High Street funding initiatives in 20 High Streets across the UK but Croydon was the only one that wasn’t located in the Midlands or the North of England. The positive aspect to this is that the concerns regarding Town Centres and High Streets remains high on the national agenda but I suspect in reality we shouldn’t hold out too much hope for central government assistance for Bury St Edmunds Town Centre!


Now looking positively towards 2020, hopefully the result of the election and commitment to Brexit means that the uncertainty of the past three years has gone. The noises from central government regarding business rates and the need to “equalise” the situation with businesses whether they are “bricks or clicks” or both continues, so being ever the optimist we might now see some positive action in this regard.


These national issues are, in reality, not things we can directly influence so I think the role of the BID and yourselves is to concentrate on issues locally and we will do all we can for our members to make the trading environment locally as positive as we possibly can.


Thanks to our members, the BID has been renewed for another 5 years and we have a number of issues we want to deliver for you but we also realise that to achieve anything really beneficial for yourselves we need the assistance of some key stakeholders such as landlords and the District Council and we will be working hard to achieve this, on your behalf.


In the interim, my colleague, Mike Kirkham has managed to secure some more FREE training opportunities for you so please have a read of the below text and get in touch with Mike if there is anything there that is of interest to you.

Training Opportunities - Social Media


Another opportunity has arisen to freshen up those social media skills and book yourself or your staff onto one of our FREE social media sessions. Once again we have secured Nick Pandolfi from MENTA to deliver three different two hour social media sessions on Monday 10th February at Oakes Barn. You can sign up for all three sessions or just the ones that particularly interest you. The sessions which are intended to be pitched at an introductory/general refresher level are;


0900-1100 Google My Business

1115-1315 Facebook

1400-1600 Smartphone Video


A lunch will be provided between 1315-1400 for those who require it or wish to network with other BID businesses. Just email and let him know your requirements ASAP as places will go quickly!

BID Update

  • FREE Training Opportunities

First Aid

We currently have places available on our popular one day Emergency First Aid at Work course on the following Tuesdays, 28th January, 18th February and 17th March all between 9am-5pm at West Suffolk College with lunch included. If you would like any of these places contact Mike Kirkham


NEW Training Course for licensed premises

We are pleased to offer, for the first time, a one day Cellar Management course in association with Greene King and are hoping this will assist our licensed premises / ale trail businesses. Due to cost and availability places are for now limited to one place per business so it will be on a first come, first served basis. The course is run at Greene King, 9-5pm with lunch included with availability on the following Thursdays, 9th January, 6th February and 5thMarch. For course objectives and content see attached. If you would like a place please contact Mike Kirkham


  • Your Festive Promotions

Please don’t forget to tell us, that’s myself or or Charlotte (who organises all of our digital marketing) about what you are up to, in the run up to Christmas, as we can then share the information with all our followers and ensure that even more people are aware of your offering. Feel free to direct us to your offer on social media or your website and we can create links back to your accounts and/or site, from ours.


  • Christmas Fayre – record attendance this year 

As I have previously stated everyone at the BID is very aware that this event does not benefit everyone of our members but we do know for some that it is just so important and for the town as a whole both over the weekend and in regards of awareness, as a visitor destination, it is extremely important. Over the past three years there has been enhanced physical security and a very visible Police presence at the event. This doesn’t appear to have affected attendance or the enjoyment of those that attend and this year it appears to me that that the traffic and parking management was pretty good too.


I have just received notification that for the first time ever, our footfall camera in Abbeygate Street, was activated over 200,000 times during this years event! (202,799 times to be precise).


On each day this year the number of activations was the highest for each day since 2015 (I don’t have records of footfall numbers before the event was extended to 4 days). Attendance on last year was up by just over 10% for the whole event.


As you are all probably aware the District Council organise this event and in my view do a tremendous job and long may this continue.


  • Closure of Angel Hill for repairs – Feb- April 2020

Just a reminder that I have organised a meeting with Suffolk Highways staff, myself and local businesses for this coming Friday at 2.30pm in the Town Council offices on Angel Hill. If you run/own a businesses in the vicinity of Angel Hill (improvements will start in Mustow Street and will continue all the way through to the junction of Crown St and Churchgate St during this period) and want to know about these works and outline what assistance you would like from the contractors, whilst the work is going on, then please feel free to come along on Friday afternoon.


  • Social Media Tips

We know that most of our members and their staff use all or some social media but more often than not members request an introductory level when asking for social media training which we have and will continue, to deliver through the BID training programme. As a result of member feedback from this training we have produced a Social Media Tips poster which is available to download via the BID members section on our website A pdf copy is also attached. Over time we will develop and add helpful information and links to this section of the website to further assist members develop their use of social media, for the benefit of their business.

Ballot Result

If you haven’t heard already then can I make you aware that the Our Bury St Edmunds BID was successfully re-elected last month with the announcement being made on Friday afternoon.


We are all delighted that 84% of all businesses that voted did so in our favour and we are already looking forward to our next 5 year term and ensuring that Bury St Edmunds continues to be one of the top retail and tourism visitor destinations in the East of England and consequently being a great place to run a business from.


Myself, our team and the Board of Directors will do all we can to ensure the successes we have achieved and delivered on your behalf since 2010 will continue onto 2025.


Many thanks to all of you who voted for the BID to continue.

Improvements to Angel Hill – early 2020 – Meeting with Suffolk Highways – 2.30pm Friday 13th December – Town Council Offices


Some of you will be aware that there are plans afoot to improve the road surface from Mustow Street, along Angel Hill and into Crown Street and for this work to take place from February and into April (completed before Easter).


I have had an initial meeting, on your behalf, with the Highways team and local councillors and I have raised issues/concerns that I think those of you who have a business in this area might have. I am conscious though that I may not have asked all the right questions and feel you should have an opportunity to speak to those who are planning these improvements and will oversee them when they occur.


I appreciate that a meeting a fortnight before Christmas is far from ideal but when I suggested meeting in January I was told that there might not be sufficient time to make any changes to the plans so hence the meeting taking place on Friday week. The road won’t be closed at both ends at the same time but at the same time it won’t be open at each end at the same time either.


This work, will hopefully greatly enhance the appearance of the area (and the materials used, I am told, will require far less maintenance and will last longer that tarmac) but undoubtedly there will be some disruption to local businesses and if you want to find out more and/or contribute to minimising the disruption to your business please come along to the meeting and for logistical purposes it would be most helpful if you could let me know that you are intending to attend.

Terrorism Message

As a consequence of the incident close to and on London Bridge last week I have been contacted by the Police and Counter Terrorism agencies to reassure us that the national threat assessment remains at the same level and there is no specific information or intelligence regarding any further incidents but of course we are all urged to remain vigilant and report anything we perceive as suspicious to the Police. Despite the heroic actions of some members of the public the Police urge us not to get physically involved with anyone we might think is a terrorist but rather to report the matter and either run or hide from the imminent danger. There is no reason at all that Bury St Edmunds should be a target for a terrorist attack but please don’t be complacent in this regard and report any suspicious behaviour immediately.

Best Dressed Christmas Windows

A final reminder that the judge will commence the judging of all the Christmas windows in the town this week, with the announcement of the winner on the morning of Monday 16th December and a live interview on Radio Suffolk, with those responsible! Thank you to everyone who has gone to the trouble of decorating their windows and there are so many fabulous ones making the town centre look so festive. I have made the judge aware of al of you who have contacted me to specifically ask for your window to be viewed but if you haven’t made me aware that you would like your window viewed then its not too late providing you let me know by Friday. Best of luck to you all!

Celebrating 1000 years of our Abbey


Last Tuesday The Abbey 1000 Group announced a year of Celebrations for the 1,000 Year Anniversary of the founding of the Abbey of St Edmund, during 2020. The DMO, Bury St Edmunds and Beyond, will be leading on the marketing for this important anniversary in 2020 and in doing so hopes to make the most of this newsworthy year to shout about the area as a destination. You will no doubt see lots of coverage in the press and on social media about this in the coming days and months. If you would like to be kept updated on events and activities for the Abbey’s year of celebrations please do subscribe to the Abbey of St Edmund 1000 updates issued by Bury St Edmunds and Beyond You can unsubscribe at any time. If you would like to hear from Bury St Edmunds and Beyond through their monthly newsletter you can also subscribe for that at Again, you can unsubscribe at any time you choose. Attached is the brochure for the anniversary celebrations and The Abbey 1000 Group’s sponsorship packages should you wish to take advantage of these opportunities. The Abbey 1000 Group hope as many organisations as possible will join in and use the year as a promotional opportunity so if you would like to organise an activity or run a promotion around the 1000 theme next year or you are planning your own event or promotion then please do send Bury St Edmunds and Beyond details to so they can include them in the marketing activites.

New Skin Care Services at the Cathedral Dental Practice


BID member, Cathedral Dental Practice, is launching a new skin care service next month and to find out more about this he event is being held on Tuesday 3rd December 2019, 5.30pm – 8.00pm and is to lunch our new skin care services. From December we will be offering facials and peels with our lovely beauty therapist Laura, using the luxury skincare brand Skinceauticals. The event is free to come along to and will provide an opportunity to meet Laura, book treatments and consultations as well as test the Skinceauticals products.Registration can be done by emailing

2nd Floor, 2 Woolhall Street, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1LA   01284 766258