POOLE TOWN CENTRE. Strategic Plan 2013 to Poole Town Centre Partnership

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1 POOLE TOWN CENTRE Strategic Plan 2013 to 2018 Poole Town Centre Partnership

2 Contents 1 Foreword by Chair of the Poole Town Centre Partnership 2 Poole Town Centre the place, the people, the unique brand and the vision 3 The Town Centre Partnership, this Plan and its Purpose 4 The Vision, the Challenge and Opportunities 6 Priority 1: Embrace and promote the town s primary assets including the heritage, Old Town and waterfront, both locally and further afield 7 Priority 2: Renew the vitality, vibrancy and footfall of the High Street 8 Priority 3: Create and maintain a safe, clean, accessible and welcoming quality environment in the Town Centre, both day and night 9 Priority 4: Engage businesses and employers to work towards a shared vision for the Town Centre with greater numbers actively involved in the Town Centre Partnership 10 Priority 5: To Increase awareness of the Poole Town Centre offer and to actively promote as a destination for shopping, leisure, tourism, business and living across all age groups 11 Measuring Up Accessibility and Engagement A large print and easy read version of the document together with information about translation is available on request. If you would like to comment or discuss any aspect of this plan please make contact with the Town Centre Team through one of the following channels: telephone: write to: 30 High Street, Poole BH15 1BP click to:

3 Foreword by Jonathan Sibbett Chair of the Poole Town Centre Partnership This Plan is about Poole Town Centre, its people, place and a fiveyear Vision to be a great experience. With its historic waterfront, the largest indoor shopping centre in Dorset and the biggest Arts Centre outside London, all linked by a conventional High Street, Poole is a mix of traditional and contemporary. The unique natural assets of Poole Harbour and its working port play a crucial role in the town s rich maritime history that continues today as home to many innovative, cutting edge local, national and international businesses. Our Vision is to capitalise on these aspects to create: The Best Town Centre Experience in Dorset. Customers are driven by value, quality and having an enjoyable experience. Our aim is make sure Poole is best placed to meet the challenges ahead, by getting the mix right and making the most of its unique assets. There are significant challenges. The country remains vulnerable to recession, public services and Government investment is restricted and most people s disposable income is squeezed. All town centres face increased competition from internet and mobile phone-based services; out of town shopping areas and suburban shopping parades are fighting for their share too. The Town Centre is a collective business entity and far more than the sum of its parts. It can only succeed in partnership and by prioritising what it is going to do. The priorities outlined are our aspirations for delivery over five years supported by annual plans. The first year will include better understanding of our stakeholders expectations to ensure that what we deliver and the way we deliver generates a positive experience. We encourage every interested party to contribute ideas and views. Despite the challenges, the aim of the Town Centre Partnership is to optimise the opportunities and be the best on offer to residents, visitors, developers and investors. We hope you join us in our endeavour and share in the success. Jonathan Sibbett March

4 Poole Town Centre The Town Centre is the heartbeat of Poole it should reflect our identity, culture and ambition the place, the people, the unique brand and the vision The Place This plan and the work of the Partnership focuses on the area of the High Street, Old Town, The Quay, Dolphin Shopping Centre and Town Centre North. The catchment area for visitors and investors is local, regional national and international. The People This is a place where business people thrive and employers engage, where entrepreneurs create and investors speculate, where stallholders trade, where landlords lease and where retail and services are offered for sale. It is also where employees work and build their careers and where volunteers give their time. It is equally a place where people reside, where shoppers browse and buy, where people meet, relax, eat, drink and are entertained. A Unique Brand The Town Centre hosts the largest indoor shopping centre in Dorset, the largest live arts centre outside London as well as being home to local, national and global businesses. These embrace a brand that is made unique by the historic Old Town and Quay, the new and unique Twin Sails Lifting Bridge, the second largest natural harbour in the world, the Sandbanks Peninsula and the best beaches and seaside experience in Great Britain. Resident businesses defining a commercial facet to the unique brand include Barclays, Sunseeker, Merlin, Lush as well as Poole Pottery and the RNLI. The Vision and Mission This business plan looks five years ahead and aspires for Poole Town Centre to be The Best Town Centre Experience in Dorset. 2

5 The Town Centre Partnership, this Plan and its Purpose The Partnership The Town Centre Partnership comprises representation from private business and public services and adopts the established definition of good town centre management to provide: the effective co-ordination of the private and public sectors, including local authority professionals, to create, in partnership, a successful town centre building upon full consultation. Healey and Baker 1994 The constitution of the Partnership and current members are found on the website at The Partnership is led by an elected Management Board which meets each quarter. It is managed day-to-day by the Town Centre Management Team. This Plan This plan is designed to describe, promote and guide the work of the Partnership. It is specific enough to direct, versatile enough to adapt and concise enough to be picked up and read. It supports partnership organisations to achieve their outcomes in a cycle of continuous improvement. The plan should be read by everyone who has an interest in the Town Centre. The Town Centre Context The context is continually being re-defined and influenced by the economic and political environment, interrelated plans and the needs and expectations of all the people described earlier. Related business plans and particularly the priorities of commercial and public service partnership members are reflected in the priorities of this plan. Primary aspirations amongst other plans are the development of Town Centre North and the Gillespies High Street Study as well as improving employment skills. Amongst the wide range of stakeholders, the needs and expectations of local people and visitors using the Town Centre is very important to the local economy. In a recent pilot survey, people expressed their expectations to feel welcome, to find value for money and, above all, to feel safe. The survey was also able to explore some differences between age groups: older people indicated that variety was important; whilst younger people expressed a wish to be respected. 3

6 The Vision, the Challenge and Opportunities Expectations will need to be met and exceeded if Poole Town Centre is to be the Best Town Centre Experience in Dorset. The major challenge is one of understanding expectations in an environment of complex influences and change Challenges The town is rich in historical, natural and modern attributes that provide the unique brand described earlier. Threats and weaknesses focus on the High Street as a destination as well as a route between the Quay and the Dolphin Shopping Centre. The High Street risks being overlooked as regeneration occurs elsewhere in the town. Its length and linear character presents a challenge to improvement which is reflected in a 17% drop in footfall between 2011 and Further challenges are presented by the attraction of out-of-town centres and internet shopping as well as sustaining appeal for residents and visitors in a town where custom fluctuates significantly in and out of the tourist seasons. Opportunities The Town Centre Strategy is about continuity and synergy with past and other plans. This brings together innovative proposals from a review of the High Street by Gillespies (Architects), a study by the University of Bournemouth Retail School, and the Town Centre Partnership Chamber of Trade and Commerce work that supported a bid for Mary Portas High Street funding. The Town Centre will certainly benefit from planned major investment in the Dolphin Shopping Centre and Falkland Square and the nearby regeneration associated with the new Twin Sails Bridge. 4

7 In summary, we aspire to: define the Town Centre as comprising distinct Areas or Quarters that will separately promote the Lower High Street and the Town Centre North Areas develop and promote the High Street as a promenade segmented by different themes and reflecting preferred retail outlets, cafés, leisure, niche market stalls and street art performances support the redesign and promote the modern retail and leisure facilities of Town Centre North improve business outputs and outcomes by creating career opportunities and developing business skills. We will achieve these aspirations through a programme of five cross-cutting priorities that will develop continuously. The Priorities are set out in the next pages. Each Priority is described with a specific plan and a list of the people that are the focus of activity. Stakeholders are encouraged to interact in each case. Priority 5: Market the Town Centre Offer Priority 4: Engage Businesses Priority 3: Improve Welcome and Safety Agreed priorities Priority 1: Embrace Heritage Priority 2: Generate Vitality in the High Street 5

8 Priority 1: Embrace and promote the town s primary assets including the heritage, Old Town and waterfront, both locally and further afield Rational: the natural and historical environment is what makes Poole unique and attractive and should be promoted Plan: integrate the town s natural and historical assets with the retail and business offer to generate a unique Poole Town Centre brand People: residents actual and potential retail and leisure visitors potential investors. review the segmentation of Poole Town Centre into defined Areas or Quarters introduce heritage themes to define specific areas of the Town Centre including themed aspects to the High Street, Quay and waterfront create a sustainable events/ activity programme based on the natural and heritage assets improve the appearance of vacant shop fronts. Priority 5: Market the Town Centre Offer Priority 1: Embrace Heritage Priority 4: Engage Businesses Priority 2: Generate Vitality in the High Street Priority 3: Improve Welcome and Safety 6

9 Priority 2: Renew the vitality, vibrancy and footfall of the High Street Rationale: high Street footfall has been in decline but it remains strategically important as a primary retail location and visitor pathway between the Dolphin Shopping Centre and the Quay Plan: improve the public realm of the High Street develop a promenade experience with themes to segment the street into shorter sections People: residents actual and potential retail and leisure visitors businesses artists introduce features to promote the sections introduce local live art and music on a consistent and coordinated basis landlords potential investors. introduce covered performance areas that double as shelters attract and sustain specialist market stalls develop the diversity, quality and strategic positioning of market stalls along length of High Street promote a shop front standard develop attractions and facilities for younger people Priority 5: Market the Town Centre Offer Priority 4: Engage Businesses Priority 3: Improve Welcome and Safety Priority 1: Embrace Heritage Priority 2: Generate Vitality in the High Street working with Landlords, seek opportunities to let or utilise vacant units examine alternative uses for High Street properties consider seeking a major or consortium of sponsors for High Street Development. 7

10 Priority 3: Create and maintain a safe, clean, accessible and welcoming quality environment in the Town Centre, both day and night Rational: residents, visitors and investors expect a safe and welcoming experience Plan: improve the appearance and welcome of the Town Centre establish a Customer Expectation Statement to define customer quality standards as well as acceptable street behaviour People: residents actual and potential retail and leisure visitors businesses potential investors. Priority 5: Market the Town Centre Offer Priority 4: Engage Businesses Priority 1: Embrace Heritage Priority 2: Generate Vitality in the High Street develop further the Street Warden Scheme introduce a Public Area Guardianship Scheme prevent anti-social behavior including alcohol-related nuisance develop and maintain the Safe and Sound Scheme and the Safer Business Scheme develop the evening economy explore opportunities for tactical parking charges to encourage off peak trade ensure equal and fair access arrangements to all visitors and potential visitors Priority 3: Improve Welcome and Safety embrace cost-effective Green initiatives. 8

11 Priority 4: Engage businesses and employers to work towards a shared vision for the Town Centre with greater numbers actively involved in the Town Centre Partnership Rational: a Vision and Plan with the widest consensus and support is most likely to achieve success Plan: grow numbers of businesses joining and participating in the Town Centre Partnership promote trust and confidence in the Partnership encourage a business profile to match customer expectation People: businesses employees landlords. Priority 5: Market the Town Centre Offer Priority 1: Embrace Heritage complete and maintain a Landlord Audit engage landlords in the business plan cycle and outcomes for the Town Centre develop business skills/ training opportunities for all partners to meet customer expectation support business start-ups consider application for Business Improvement District Status. Priority 4: Engage Businesses Priority 2: Generate Vitality in the High Street Priority 3: Improve Welcome and Safety 9

12 Priority 5: To Increase awareness of the Poole Town Centre offer and to actively promote as a destination for shopping, leisure, tourism, business and living across all age groups Rational: the Town Centre has a unique selling proposition but it must shout louder and further than the competition Plan: develop an effective Marketing Plan develop an effective Public Relations Plan promote a clear and consistent marketing message that utilises social media People: residents actual and potential retail and leisure visitors existing and potential investors media. 10 Priority 5: Market the Town Centre Offer Priority 4: Engage Businesses Priority 3: Improve Welcome and Safety Priority 1: Embrace Heritage Priority 2: Generate Vitality in the High Street promote and deliver a sustainable and seasonal based events and activity programme throughout the year support the Town Centre North Development working with current investors to improve the offer of the Town Centre and promote opportunities to new investors develop and target an investors pack and programme introduce a performance monitoring scheme for each priority.

13 Measuring Up A hierarchy of key performance measures will be monitored by the Partnership Management Board to ensure progress of the Plan. The highest level indicator will measure the outcome Vision and will be secured through surveying users of the Town Centre. Other output measures will include footfall, vacant business units and customer experience surveying about feelings of safety and satisfaction with parking, atmosphere, choice and service. Input performance measures will address the number of events, marketing campaigns, employment placements, mentoring and business support provision. We will also monitor membership of the Partnership. Measures will be adapted to support annual action plans. Engagement If you have any comments or suggestions about this plan we want to hear from you. What are your expectations of the Plan? How are we doing? How can you contribute to delivery? Please make contact through... telephone: write to: 30 High Street, Poole BH15 1BP click to: Funding the Partnership Partnership funding is approved annually and commonly comprises a 20% contribution from the Borough of Poole and the remainder from income generation and member subscriptions. Some actions described in the Plan will be subject to successful attainment of additional funding. 11

14

15 Strategic Plan 2013 to 2018

16 Poole Town Centre Partnership 30 High Street Poole BH15 1BP telephone: click to:

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