RTW Together prepares its pitch to businesses ahead of new BID vote

AHEAD of Royal Tunbridge Wells Business Improvement District (BID) balloting its 650 members to vote for a second term over the next five years, the Times had the opportunity to exclusively speak to the organisation’s CEO Alex Green about the ways in which it will ensure the economic and cultural future of Tunbridge Wells if it is granted a second term.

RTW Together is a Community Interest Company which runs the BID for Tunbridge Wells. The BID is a defined area of the town centre, running from the large Sainsbury’s in the south, up to the roundabout where Grosvenor Road meets St John’s Road.

“Businesses within this commercial area pay an additional levy based on the rateable value of their property to fund services and improvements that have been identified as priorities by the businesses themselves. Each one of these businesses can vote in the February re-ballot,” explained Alex.

Proposed future activity includes specialist RTW guides, walking trails and the festive Joy to the Wells and The Big Reveal window competition at Christmas.

Alex also talked about the BID’s plans for further increasing tourism and footfall in Tunbridge Wells and outlined the specific actions the group will take to promote businesses, grow the creative sector and support schemes to help retain younger people in the town.

“We will invest in town-wide projects including lighting schemes, graffiti removal, street furniture, art and planters and aim to introduce town security patrols at peak times to deter thefts and anti-social behaviour,” he said.

If the ballot is successful, RTW Together BID will start a second five-year term commencing on April 1, 2024.

Here, Alex breaks down what the BID has set out its plan for the next five years to include:

Enhancing the town

• Investing in town-wide projects including lighting schemes, graffiti removal, street furniture, art and planters

• Town security patrols at peak times to deter thefts and anti-social behaviour

• Investment in the Safe Town Partnership, town radio scheme and CCTV network

• Support for businesses including free resources and training and cost savings through group purchasing

• Financial support for Amplifi, encouraging businesses to address the climate emergency collectively and support local community development

• Creation of a new Women’s Safety Charter and defibrillator provision

Supporting local

• Encouraging RTW residents through ‘Love Local’ promotions to spend money with businesses, retail and hospitality within their local community

• Campaigns and information including RTW Guides, press features, The Big Reveal, walking trails and Joy to the Wells at Christmas, encouraging people to support all the different parts of the town

• Financial support of local events and attractions to ensure we have a lively calendar of events such as the TW Literary Festival, Unfest, Local & Live, Trinity Theatre and the Spa Valley Railway

Increasing tourism

• Marketing campaigns to appeal to local tourists in the wider county, East Sussex and London, as well as national and international markets through activities like railway station poster campaigns, double-decker bus wraps, national radio campaigns, advertising to coach and tour operators and UK tourism publications

• Delivering events to bring new and return visitors to RTW, following on from last year’s ‘Right Royal Weekend’ and investment in the Christmas Ferris wheel, there will be a focus on the Subbuteo World Cup in September as well as other seasonal activities

Promoting business

• Showcasing RTW as a premier business location to attract corporate relocations, appeal to new employees and generate more customers for us all

• A focus on flexibility around office solutions including co-working spaces, flexi office rentals and daily rentals to reflect new post-Covid working patterns

• Financial support of Creative Tunbridge Wells to champion the growth of the creative sector

• Creating a dedicated free jobs listing site specifically for RTW which businesses and potential employees can use to make recruitment easier

• Supporting apprenticeships and work experience schemes to help retain younger people in RTW

• Working with TWBC to support local recruitment events and invest resources to build up free HR documentation to support local businesses.

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