Minutes of the meeting of the West Byfleet Business Association
Held on 12 July 2018 at West Byfleet Social Club
1. Welcome and Apologies
Alan Fuller, Fullworks
Jane Armitage West Byfleet Physiotherapy Clinic
John Morrison, Apples & Pears
Michael Lee-Brown, Braywood Accountants
Neil Butcher, West Surrey Lettings
Noel Watson, Chevening Financial
Oliver Lodge, Hair Mechanix
Sue Taylor, FDTS (Minutes)
Andy Jarman, Alison Turner, Amanda Boote, Chris Morrison, Christine Osbourne, Gary Elson, Jo Schwarzkopf, Jennifer Clayton, Jeremy Andrews, John Ashcroft, John Bond, Mary Bridgeman,, Matt Hoy, Mike Mignogna, Natalie & Teresa, Roland Nevett, Sharon Bray, Sheena Inwood, Simon Preece.
2. Minutes of Meeting and Matters Arising:
The last minutes dated 14th June18 were agreed and accepted. Matters arising from the last meeting were discussed as follows:
From the last meeting
Poster Plan: In summary at the last meeting it was agreed that posters should be put up promoting that West Byfleet is still open for business, particularly now that a significant number of shops and businesses around Sheer House have closed in advance of the impending redevelopment. JM advised that CM has been investigating costs of posters and hopefully will be able to advise pricing at the next meeting. It was noted that the landlords will want to review the type of posters and content before they are displayed. The WBBA still needs to investigate whether any public liability cover is required for this. ST offered to talk to Vision Insurance to see if they could advise/help.
Woking Borough Council: Earlier this week JA spoke with Geoff McManus of WBC following the report JA had submitted in June to WBC on WBBA suggestions for parking improvements. JA has also met with Catherine Richardson, of Woking Chamber of Commerce and spoke to her re keeping ”West Byfleet Open for Business”. Catherine confirmed that she was very supportive.
3. Treasurer’s Update
Membership Communication: A membership pack is now in place. There were no new applicants this month. Currently there are 40 members, but 5 have not paid. These are Village Barbers Macco Hair, JL Butchers, Speedflex, Brayne Williams & Barnard. This has been on-going for a number of months and so it was agreed to remove them from the membership list.
New Members Meeting: It was suggested that more could be done to make new members feel part of the team; this could be in the form of a Social event once a year. This is discussed further in Item 10 (Social Events / Network Events). The team was asked to give some thought as to how to make new members more welcome. AF suggested that one idea was to have a friendly person as a focus contact for new members. JA suggested ‘buddying-up’ for new members with those that were established members.
GDPR: As the WBBA does hold current and past members details, it was agreed that a policy needs to be put in place, along the lines of the WBBA will delete information after one year etc. AF advised that WBBA do have a policy and he offered to refine this.
5. MARKETING & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
All agreed that we still need to determine how we move WBBA forward in the long and short term addressing the benefits and values we offer to our members. NW will continue to work with individual members to develop a WBBA marketing strategy reflective of their requirements.
The following topics were discussed:
Individual Business Promotion: WBBA should offer an avenue for advertising to the community at large not just to member businesses. This should not be focussed solely on the West Byfleet community but should also include Pyrford, Woodham and New Haw, who have customers in West Byfleet. Businesses in the area are changing there is a growth in coffee shops, eating places plus we have a Micro-Brewery (Thurstons in Horsell). More active use of Facebook would be beneficial. OL agreed to research open and closed groups for Facebook. We have a web-site, but we need to build a much wider audience perhaps through a West Byfleet Village page. A list of West Byfleet groups is to be identified this to include forum and discussions groups focussed on the local community, so that we can become part of a ‘West Byfleet family’. Links should be established with existing groups.
Logo: Whilst WBBA does have a logo, it would benefit from being more vibrant. NW offered to review.
Residents Association Article: JA has been in contact with Isabelle David, who is very supportive of promoting West Byfleet businesses and an article is proposed for the September issue of ‘The Resident’. WBBA members therefore have a free opportunity to highlight what they do/offer. JA will be co-ordinating this and Members are invited to provide key words for their businesses to JA by 12th August 2018.
WBBA Stickers: WBBA Stickers for shop/business windows was considered a positive initiative once our new logo had been designed. These would be given to existing and new members.
Open for Business / Posters: This was briefly discussed in Matters Arising from the last meeting, detailed above and it was agreed the WBBA go ahead with these. In conjunction with this JA suggested that the display of posters should be complemented with a campaign on the council website e.g. #tag “We are West Byfleet”. Currently there is #tag “We are Woking”. JA is actively continuing to build up a relationship with the council to promote West Byfleet.
6. Website & Social Media FB/Instagram – including the Posture Survey Offer
Website and Social Media has been addressed above generally. Facebook and Instagram offer additional platforms for the WBBA to promote businesses. The ‘Posture Survey Offer’ provided by is an opportunity for businesses to take advantage of a free review/assessment of seating/desks/display screens so that back/orthopaedic issues can be avoided; not only benefitting the health of staff, but also minimising sickness/legal costs for employers. For more information visit our website – www.wbba.org.uk/entry/west-chiropractic/ or go direct to Jeremy at West chiropractic Ltd.
7. Planning Issues & Vitality of the Village
Change of Use Applications: It was noted that there has been a surge in applications from business landlords requesting change of use which will result in more residential properties. There is a link to such applications via. https://caps.woking.gov.uk/online-applications/. JA informed the meeting that Roland Nevett was happy to help in respect of planning issues/concerns.
Desire Furnishing Application: An application has been made for the Erection of a part four storey, part three storey building comprising 2x ground floor retail units (A1 use) and 6x dwellings (4x two bed & 2x three bed) and associated parking and bin and cycle storage following demolition of existing buildings. This included changing the façade. As yet, no one was aware as to whether a decision had been made, although ST thought she had received a copy of a ‘refusal’ notification from the Council.
As part of these discussions, the proposal for an industrial electric generation by gas facility was briefly mentioned. The proposed site is the Camphill Road Industrial Estate. The Residents Association are already expressing concerns primarily relating to the dangers of noxious gasses and noise pollution as the facility will be within the close proximity of many homes and the local school. The WB Neighbourhood Forum have been raising awareness amongst the local public and distributing information.
The proposed Marston’s Pub was also discussed. The WBBA were aware that there was a strong lobby in the community against this, particularly as it is to be built on the Recreation Ground. A primary contra-argument is that the land was given to the people of West Byfleet for recreational use only, plus with the proposed increase in local inhabitants as a result of the Broadoaks (including a planned school) and Sheer House developments the open space should be maintained. It was agreed by WBBA attendees, that at present, the WBBA would remain impartial as to the proposed Pub.
Xmas Saturday – Dates and Ideas: – This item was adjourned for later in the meeting to be discussed under Agenda Item 11.
WBC Planning Dept. and WBBA: JA informed the meeting that Roland Nevett was happy to help in respect of planning issues. The WBBA was welcome to submit its thoughts to WBC. JA is has already established a positive relationship with WBC and discussions to-date have been positive.
8. West Byfleet LI:VE 2018 – July 2018
There has been very little involvement from the WBBA for West Byfleet LI:VE. ST attended initial meetings but felt that little input was required from the WBBA during the organisation of the event and no reaction was received when ST advised that she could no longer attend due to other work commitments. ST was also disappointed that whilst she had agreed to store equipment from last year’s LI:VE event temporarily for one month, it was not collected for eleven months. The equipment included gazebos, dustbins, fencing, collection boxes and more taking up valuable garage space. NB continued to attend, although no active support has been specifically requested from the new organiser apart from a request for a donation and a general request at the end of May through Gill Davis for volunteers. The event will be different in that the new organiser Ben Gerner is endeavouring to turn the event into a music festival – plus stalls, Ben is ultimately treating the event as a business venture and whilst he is not expecting to make a profit in the first year ultimately it will need to be profitable in the longer term if he is to continue. ST understood that the pricing of the stalls was much higher than previous years, which would deter quite a few small enterprises such as crafters etc. NB believed that Ben had quite a few stalls booked, but that most of the food and drink was being organised by Jimmy Beach (funfair) who again was donating the fireworks. This year there will be no film or live streaming of the cycle event, the event is still being advertised as an opportunity to see the cyclists ride through West Byfleet. NB is supporting the event by ‘manning’ the Parvis Road gate (at the Fair Ground end). Concerns were expressed as to how the event will be controlled and the grounds kept litter free, bearing in mind the planning and efforts previously expended by the WBBA, however it was noted that Ben has good experience of organising similar events and no doubt he has everything under control.
RA / WBNF Stall: It was understood that the Residents Association and West Byfleet Neighbourhood Forum would be present. There were no plans for the WBBA to have a stall or official presence this year.
Funding/Sponsorship: Ben Gerner had asked if WBBA would be prepared to provide some financial support towards this year’s event. The majority of those present decided that WBBA would decline. It is unclear if the proceedings collected by voluntary/recommended donations at the event, were to be given to a charitable cause. Some members had sponsored the event by having advertisements in the proposed LI:VE programme.
9. PARKING UPDATE POST WBC MEETING
JA reported that the WBBA Parking proposals have the backing of local Cllrs John Bond, Mary Bridgeman and Amanda Boote. JA will circulate the WBBA proposals document with these minutes. The biggest challenge, apart from the short term issues, is when the redevelopment building works are completed. The number of spaces may not be sufficient. This is due to other future building developments e.g. Broadoaks etc. in future, there will be approximately 1000 new residents in the West Byfleet area. The street parking particularly during the development was discussed. There will be a loss of 67 car parking spaces
Woodlands Car Park could be utilised by WBBA members working in the centre of West Byfleet for a yearly WBBA preferential subscription of £240.00 inc. VAT. This was highlighted by GE and detailed in last month’s minutes, but it should be noted that WBC offer deep discounts for vehicles with low C02 ratings.
If interested, members of WBBA can apply directly to WBC quoting you are a member of WBBA. The website link is: https://www.woking.gov.uk/transport/parking/season/permitcharges
10 Social Events/Networking Events
It was accepted that more must be done to bring WBBA members together, particularly new members. Woking Chamber of Commerce hosts regular and different types of networking opportunities e.g. Woking Means Business event, breakfasts etc. and whilst WBBA members were welcome to attend many of these, perhaps similar local events specifically for our members could be introduced. A couple of members had accepted SM’s invite last month to attend the West Byfleet Lunch Club, an informal lunch meeting held once a month at the Seven Stars, Ripley.
It was recognised that attendance at meetings was low in relation to the number of members, but this did not imply ‘lack of interest’, but often it was lack of time for sole traders/business owners. Meetings could be made more interesting to new members (and existing) if a five minute slot was included for members in turn to present to the rest of the meeting
It would be worth trying to set up social event for all members to attend. Mid-September was suggested. This would be discussed further at the next meeting as to the format, venue, date and time.
11 Christmas Planning “W.B. Saturday”
This item was in principle considered a good idea but mixed opinions were expressed as to the benefit/success based on previous first hand experiences. In the past, only a few traders had actively participated and a lot of effort had been expended. Fewer businesses/traders will be in the centre this Christmas. On the positive side, some members thought this should go ahead as part of the ‘Open for Business’ campaign and it was more important than ever to support the village at Christmas. The positioning of the large Christmas tree (sponsored by the Residents’ Association) is usually outside Apples and Pears for practical reasons in that it is protected from the elements. It was suggested 10 stalls could be set up in the lay-by near the station, subject to approval by the landowner. Posters could be put up in shop windows and social media could be used to promote the event. This would be discussed further at the next meeting.
12 Any Other Business
Sheer House Development: It was asked if a date had been set for the commencement of the development. As yet the detailed planning application has not yet been submitted and no fixed date had been given as to a proposed start, but unlikely to be before April next year. So it is probable the central area around Sheer House could be ‘empty’ and a ‘ghost-town’ for some-time.
Station Tunnel: At the June meeting the poor state of the tunnel was discussed. It was suggested that the WBBA should freshen it up with a coat of paint. There is “some light at the end of the tunnel” JA reported that WBC at the parking meeting, mentioned they are aware of the situation. They have looked into encasing the tunnel to hide the pipe work. At this stage, we are not sure whether WBC and Network Rail have any plans to improve the tunnel.
Date of Next Meeting
Thursday 13th September 2018 at Sweet Passion Meeting starts 6:00pm