B06F16 Aerial view north east of Hainault Industrial Estate Forest Road Romford Road Hainault Forest Country Park Ilford London IG6 IG7. Image shot 10/2006. Exact date unknown.
Hainault Business Park is situated in the London Borough of Redbridge and is the second largest employer within the borough.
At the present time there are over 150 companies trading here, ranging from large international companies through to smaller businesses.
We are in close proximity to major road links and have easy access to the M11, M25, A406 North Circular and our capital city: London.
We are also close to mainline rail and underground services into central London, and of course the four major London Airports in the south of England, namely London Gatwick – London Heathrow – London Stagnated – City Airport.
The original Industrial Estate was built in the early 1950s and is now designated a major manufacturing area in the London plan.
In recent times the Estate had been going into gradual decline with many problems including empty premises, vandalism, commercial burglary, fly tipping and burnt out abandoned vehicles.
The whole Estate needed to be bought into the 21st century and regenerated.
In October 2002 a meeting was organised by our local Crime Prevention Officer, companies that attended were invited to inform the Met-Police and the Council about the problems they were facing on a day to day basis.
A series of meetings followed and in June 2003 the Council asked us to in form a “Partnership” so that we would become recognised group within the borough. This was done, and from that day we began our campaign to improve the Industrial Estate and make it a safer place to work for businesses owners, their employees and visitors.
In partnership with Business Link 4 London, HBP appointed the first Business Park Manager for the estate on a part time basis: together we began making gradual visible improvements. In October 2003 we received various grants and decided to go ahead with a new signage project to not only inform visitors to the estate, but also to help brighten up the entrances. This work was achieved with the help of the newly formed Steering Group of the Hainault Business Partnership.
In January 2004 the name of the Estate was changed to the Hainault Business Park.
At a General Meeting of the Partnership in February 2004 we offered the businesses the chance of installing a CCTV Camera system, providing that they would match fund the project with the help of the London Borough of Redbridge and Business Link.
We were able to raise over £25,000 from the businesses owners and the system went live in December 2004. It has made a major impact on the Business Park and the Met. Police reported subsequently that the recent crime figures were very much improved and that the Business Park was no longer a major “Crime Hot Spot” within the borough.
During 2004 / 05 we worked very closely with the Met Police and the newly appointed Police Community Support Officers in trying to reduce vandalism , fly tipping and abandoned cars. The council were very keen to work with us in reducing these occurrences, and over a period of time improvements in all aspects of our street problems have been made.
In November 2004 we were asked by BL4 London to take things a step further and apply to the London Development Agency to become a Business Improvement District ( BID); a recent concept that was being used in Town Centre Shopping Areas, but at that time there were no Industrial Estates or Business Parks in the country with this status.
The Partnership decided that this would be the best and fairest way forward if we were going to develop our Business Park and try and bring it into the 21st Century. By becoming a BID it means that every business pays a 1% levy in addition to their business rates and that money is spent on items and services that are not being provided as a statutory function by the council; government or the Police. It took a lot of hard work and the Partnership had to been seen to be working with not only the business community but also the local community.
An idea was put forward to develop a web site for the Business Park and what better way of working with the local community than giving the local High School pupils the opportunity to work with business leaders. The Hainault Forest high School was chosen to help to design the web site and in April 2006 their work was completed. We are continually improving our web site and now employed an IT Consultant to up date our system on a weekly basis. The web site has played a major part in getting local businesses to trade with each other, as well as providing opportunities for National Companies to take advertising space thus increasing sponsorship and revenue to the BID Company. It also helps promote our Business Park to all those who visit the site.
Work on regeneration improvements to Hainault Business Park will continue to the year 2010, the five year BID programme timescale, in conjunction with major stakeholders, and the businesses themselves.
Regeneration, Improvements and a better Business Community spirit will not arrive by itself: you have to work hard to achieve it, in Partnership with others.
If you have taken the time to read through our first article on how everything started back in October 2002 we thought it would be a good idea to bring you up to date on our progress and highlight some of our achievement’s since beginning our first BID term in April 2006.
In the autumn of 2006 we were approached by the local authority to apply for some grant funding available through the London Development Agency. The BID board decided at a meeting that it would be good idea to apply as if successful it would make a major difference here and would greatly assist our plans for the regeneration programme much needed here.
We were required to write a BID document to present to the LDA ensuring our BID was looked upon as a sound investment of public monies, we were advised by the local authority to employ a professional company to carry out this task.
We spent 3 months putting all the information together and finally submitted our document in December 2006, we heard that there had been over 800 applications for the funding available.
In February we received a letter informing us that we had been granted the full amount of money that we had applied for £346 k, we were one of 67 applications who had been successful .
So now the work really began, the funding was to be allocated over a 3 year period and would include some new projects, we had set targets to meet every month and were monitored by the LDA on a regular basis, to ensure we were acting correctly. The HBP were able to help Match Fund the projects by a total of £105k, making the total project £451k.
Over the 3 year period we had no major issues with the LDA re our work here; we completed all the necessary Outputs and spent every penny of the money. During that period we were able to improve so many aspects of the Business Park, including security, signage, landscaping, inter- company trading, staff training and student work placement for a two week period on the Park.
During 2008 we were visited 3 times by Dutch business leaders, MPs and council members as the
Government in Holland were very keen to introduce BIDs into Holland. These visits were very successful and highlighted our success story to another European country.
Our sponsors continued to gain confidence with the ever increasing numbers of business owners attending our Networking Events, which have allowed businesses to inter trade at a much higher level than ever before, someone attending always gets a job or a contact for the future which nearly always leads to a business transaction, something this estate never had in the past.
In March this year we had a group of lady entrepreneurs visiting London from East Africa, they were representing 40,000 SME from their various countries, including Tanzania, Uganda, they were keen to see how a BID company works and we were very pleased when they took up our invitation through the LBR to attend our Networking Event, they arrived with a camera man and filmed the whole event, which on their return home was shown to their members.
Another first for the HBP being promoted in East Africa !!
In December 2009 at a board meeting we made a decision to go for another 5 year BID term, it would take at least 12months to reach the voting process in February 2011.
We sent our various surveys and questionnaire’s to ascertain how the businesses felt about going forward into another 5 year term, and would they be prepared to pay an increase in their Levy payments to continue with the regeneration work and become more self-sustainable.
The response from the members was indeed very much in favour of going forward as they did not want to go back to the ways things were here several years ago. So with the financial support from the local authority we moved forward into our BID Campaign.
As the overall investment by the business owners, landlords, local authority and government agencies during the last 5 years would have been wasted, with no more CCTV coverage, no point of contact, and no more improvements.
When it came to the votes cast we returned the highest percentage in favour 95%, with 97.7% rateable value in favour for votes cast, this return says a lot for the work ourselves and financial support the local authority have put into the area during the last few years.
Sponsorship of the Business Park has continued to be successful throughout the first BID term and indications are that more sponsors are looking to join us in the months ahead. The board are always looking for sponsors that can offer the businesses here a professional service at a realistic price with good after sales service.
There are always opportunities through our sponsors to save money, through insurance, banking and security and now even Solar Panels.
We are continuing to offer various aspects of staff training when possible to members, this has again been very popular to members as it is FREE, and the places go very quickly.
Three years ago we started Free recycling services on a weekly basis to members for paper and cardboard this service again is saving companies money.
Our HBP web site is increasingly becoming more popular with members for advertising , general information and to offers from businesses .
We have recently started a “Green Business” award scheme which the London Borough of Redbridge has introduced to businesses here who wish to receive this accreditation for their company in an ever increasing global environmental market.
We also have been able to promote BIDs to other Business Parks, and are always being contacted by those who are keen to hear our story and want our advice.
We will hope to continue our work until March 2016, the current economic climate makes it very difficult to find funding to assist our work here but we will endeavour to find financial support wherever we can on behalf of the members.
Our story goes on and on we have good days and bad ones, but even this week when all riots where happening around the country through our connections with the businesses here we could email advice and information relating to protecting their property, all gratefully received.
Our CCTV system again was involved with property protection as the control centre picked up youths on the Park and acted swiftly by alerting the Police who responded with a visit here to disperse the possible trouble makers.
Who knows what might have happened if the VOTE had been NO earlier this year!!!
I thought it would be only correct to mention the directors of the BID Company who give their time and advice to ensure we are progressing and working to benefit the members in the best way possible.
We have always worked as a team, and that is probably the reason we have been successful in obtaining two 5 year BID terms, it takes a lot of hard work by all concerned to gain the confidence of business owners. We have always liaised with the Met Police and the local authority and their various departments, and used their advice and views on many matters, and will continue to do so in the future.
In reading this maybe you are thinking about trying to become a BID or forming a partnership for your estate or shopping area.
If BIDS were promoted better through government and more areas became a Business Improvement District as in New York, (previously Policed by Bill Bratton who has recently been appointed the new security advisor to PM David Cameron) where it all began many years ago, it is possible the actions of those this week across the country could have been reduced or even stopped in some areas.
That is a question we can only guess the answer to, but a better community spirit makes for a better working environment and society and that spirit can spread if promoted correctly.
The Present to 2021
Work continues on the back of another very successful BID Renewal Ballot campaign over the last 18 months coming to a climax in early March with an overwhelming YES vote, with a 94.4% voting in favour.
This was indeed a very high return and it shows that the BID companies work to improve all aspects of the park is being recognised by the business owners and landlords.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the local authority for their continued support and in assisting us with our Renewal Ballot campaign at a difficult economic time.
The BID Renewal Ballot Prospectus 2016-21 was very well received by the businesses and basically outlined the facts and what would have happened if the BID did not go forward, informing the members that all of the hard work and investment would have been lost and the park would very easily return to the bad old days.
Quotes from the landlords and sponsors in the prospectus really highlight everything we stand for and have achieved to benefit the park and its members.
We have in place new ideas and plans for new security measures and they will be developed as we progress in the months ahead.
We are always open to ideas from the members and we have always stated that our door is always open to any member.
In the last 5 years we have continued to help reduce crime on the park, part of that success is due to the new ANPR Camera system we have installed across all of the entrances and exits. This security measure has had a major impact here and has deterred a lot of criminal activity in the surrounding area .
The directors have continued to work hard to ensure that we carry on at the standards we have set in the previous years as a BID company.
The business park manager continues to liaise with members to help resolve their problems or points them in the right direction for help if required.
Last year we produced a promotional film about the park, this is now on the Home page of our web site and is well worth watching, we were able to get several members to assist the film company in the making of this film.
Please take the time to have a look at our work.
In the last several years any government funding has been impossible to obtain, so we have been fortunate to find some funding from the local authority to help with the ANPR system.
This has allowed us to work on other beneficial projects for the park.
Sponsorship in the last several years has been difficult to find but we are doing our best to bring in extra money to help with the overall running costs of the BID Company.
The park is now nearly fully occupied and there has been a definite increase in the value of properties since we started 10 years ago , there are some units for lease but very few come up for sale.
There have been many businesses who have now invested in their property by increasing the size or making general investment in their building as they wish to stay here for the foreseeable future.
Our Network events continue to be very well supported by the members, and I can report that inter company is now at its highest level , which is very good news for all concerned.
We have continued to work with our partners the local authority and the Met Police in the last 5 years, but with major cuts affecting both partners things are certainly not as good as they have been in the past.
We have be able to improve signage by working with landlords across the park, and last year by listening to members and working with the local authority we have now introduced for the first time parking restrictions in two of the roads to help with congestion and traffic flow throughout the day.
In the last BID term we have been able to offer various types of staff training to members and their employees, this will continue in the new term, so far we estimate that over 250 people have received training.
Also we are continuing to have our weekly paper and cardboard collections to save businesses money this is a very popular initiative and has been for many years.
The sponsors we have introduced can offer members savings in many areas, including insurance, banking, energy, security, broadband, phone installations and private health.
Also we have commercial property agents who offer a discount to members and our legal sponsors Mullis & Peake LLP.
We understand that the government department The London Enterprise Panel ( LEP ) are keen to have more industrial BIDs across the London Boroughs and are currently looking in to this matter and how to progress it further.
The benefits can be very significant and at a time when the local authorities are struggling with shrinking budgets it could be seen as a way forward, providing each industrial area receives the vital initial support they will need to develop a BID.
The work involved in reaching the voting stage to become a BID is a long road with many stages to be reached by certain dates prior to the voting papers going out, and of course it cost money.
Any potential new BID should be financially assisted by their local authority as well as an officer to advise through the whole process.
We have continued to improve other areas of security where possible on the park and will look at introducing other measures to benefit the park as we progress through the next 5 years.
It is our intention to introduce SmartWater Technology to all businesses here, and we are currently in discussions on that proposal going forward as it has been introduced into 14,000 homes within the borough through the MetTrace program, this has helped in reducing crime by 27% in those areas where it is being used.
SmartWater is a forensic liquid that can be used to protect all kinds of business assets including IT and electrical equipment, mobile phones and expensive tools. SmartWater contains a unique forensic code that is registered only to that business premises. No two SmartWater codes are the same, so anything marked can be traced back to the owner if stolen and recovered by the Police.
74% of criminals say they won’t go near a property if they see SmartWater signage on display.
SmartWater has a 100% conviction rate in court
We are hoping to help businesses with improved Broadband facilities as well, some companies struggle with getting a good service throughout the week and this needs to be improved.
Open Reach have not really committed to the area as well as they could so we are now looking at an upgrade in Wireless Broadband provided by one of our sponsors. Some members are already using this system without any issues.
The government did offer businesses the opportunity with a cash offer to help meet the costs of bringing in new high speed internet connections, each company could get up to £3000 towards the installation.
This offer is now closed; there was only so much time to apply and money available, the LBR were one of the few boroughs in London to offer this opportunity to businesses within their borough.
We are hoping that the new Labour Council will adopt a new digital strategy to benefit the borough.
We have found over the years businesses do like to have a “Point of Contact”, someone to discuss any issues they might have and also to seek information or contact details from.
This is something being a BID provides its members, as we have a business park manager and also a chairman who are available on a daily basis.
United WE stand divided YOU fall