Next LBA get-together 21st March

The next meeting of the Linlithgow Business Association will be at Taste Deli at 7.00pm on Wednesday 21st March.

There will be a presentation about the latest ways to use social media to boost business, followed by a presentation about Taste, some chat about what’s current in the town and general socialising. Plus there will be a free glass of wine for everyone attending – what’s not to like!

If you’re keen to come along please please get in touch so that we can book you a space.

Jon Newey and the LBA team

AGM held 1 Feb 2018

Linlithgow Business Assiociation’s Annual general meeting was held on Thursday 1 Feb 2018

Chair Jon Newey welcomed everyone. JN summarised the history of the LBA from 1982 to the present day. JN described the similarities and differences between the LBA and the more recent business-focussed organisations in the town including Link-up, EH49 Hub, The Traders Forum and the two Business Improvement Districts.

JN gave a brief summary of the LBA’s mission for the coming months:

  • Continuing to share information between businesses about threats and opportunities in the town, promoting the positive aspects of Linlithgow’s business community, brainstorming solutions to some of the town’s difficulties and sharing examples of good business practice.
  • Continuing to put business-like thinking into various non-business organisations that are active in the town.
  • Continuing to check and comment on planning applications in the town, from a business perspective.
  • Continuing to learn from the experience of other similar towns through involvement with Scottish Towns Partnership, BIDs Scotland, Turnaround Towns etc.
  • Arranging social events for members.

Daniel O’Brien from the Federation of Small Businesses gave a short presentation.

Rebecca Holmes gave a short talk about the EH49 Hub. The EH49 Hub and LBA intend to collaborate on various events over the coming year.

The following Office bearers were proposed, seconded and elected by show of hands:

Chair:                      Jon Newey

Vice chair:              Tom Smith

Secretary:               Derek Halden

Treasurer:               David Tait

Events Coordinator: Susan Archibald

Food and social networking followed and new members were welcomed.

Thanks to the Star and Garter for hosting.

Next meeting: To be confirmed.

2018 – Happy New Year!

At the end of 2017 a few people asked us why some of Linlithgow’s shops and cafes have closed. At the last count there were 151 businesses on the High Street, 72 on the industrial estate, and 190 or so others spread across the rest of the town. Businesses tend to come and go for a variety of reasons. Linlithgow High Street tends to have a rolling list of 5 or 6 empty units all the time, roughly 4%. Some of the units on the High Street are very small, so successful businesses sometimes have to vacate to move somewhere bigger. This accounts for most of the empty units at the moment, so having a few empty shops isn’t always a sign of things failing! Sometimes it is the result of start-ups being successful.

There’s a constant churn of businesses throughout the town. Its a sign of vibrancy as opposed to stagnation. Units are often only empty for 3 or 4 months while new tenants are being found and new leases are being signed. Running a small businesses is always a challenge, the business paradigm is constantly shifting and there’s no room for complacency, but its not all doom and gloom! We have some very successful businesses in our town.

The High Street businesses that tend to thrive are those offering things you can’t get on the internet (fresh cream cakes, fresh fish, hot coffee, space to meet friends, haircuts) or face-to-face services (such as architects, solicitors, accountants, dentists, cake decorators). The night-time economy (pubs, restaurants, hotels) shouldn’t be forgotten either.

Shops that are thriving tend to have a strong on-line presence, selling as much (if not more) through the internet as they do through the shop. By having a foot in both camps they really can beat the internet at its own game.

The closure of the TSB, RBS and Santander will bring some additional challenges but new businesses are already vying for the retail space. There’s plenty of room for optimism in 2018!

Linlithgow Business Association AGM, 1 Feb 2018

As the Christmas season gets into full swing the Linlithgow Business Association is already looking ahead to 2018. We’ll be holding our Annual General Meeting on 1 Feb and we’re keen to make sure we get a good turn-out of members and new members on the night. I hope you’ll mark the date on your calendar and we would love to see you there.

 

The AGM will be in the function room at the Star and Garter, starting at 7:30pm. The bar will be open for us and there will be a 2-course buffet.

 

To call it an ‘Annual’ meeting isn’t entirely accurate – The LBA hasn’t held an AGM for several years. We’re keen to reinvigorate the group in 2018. As part of that we’ll be looking to boost the membership and to find some new committee members. Following the retirement of some long-standing campaigners we will be needing a Secretary to arrange monthly meetings, a Treasurer to keep tabs on income and expenditure, and an Events Coordinator to organise 3 or 4 events each year.  Plus if anyone wants to take the role of Chair I’ll be happy to stand aside! None of these roles is very time-consuming so if you feel like getting involved please let me know in advance of the AGM.

 

I do hope you will come along on the 1st Feb and look forward to seeing you there. In the meantime, have a very happy Christmas.

 

https://en-gb.facebook.com/linlithgowbusiness/

 

Jon Newey

Chair

Linlithgow Business Association

Ways to fix an ailing High Street

Interesting article today on the BBC website, “5 ways to fix our ailing High Streets”. Linlithgow’s not doing too badly just now, with new tenants lined up for most of the empty shop units, but there are still some good ideas here to think about.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41916658

LBA meeting on 1 November 2017

Great evening of chat at the LBA’s meeting on Wednesday evening. Thanks to all who came along. Its always good to catch up with what’s really going on in the town and to learn what threats and opportunities are out there for us all this month.

The next meeting will be at the Star & Garter at 7:30pm on Wednesday 29th November. All members (and would-be members) are welcome to join

At September’s LBA meeting we discussed the usual range of topics, reviewing the threats and opportunities for businesses in the town.

At September’s LBA meeting we discussed the usual range of topics, reviewing the threats and opportunities for businesses in the town.

We discussed the recent Pedal for Scotland event, the Development Trust’s plans for a Space4 business hub, and the imminent re-opening of the County Buildings, now renamed the Tam Dalyell Partnership Centre. We noted the various changes to businesses on the High Street, the new uses being found for the empty Scotbet shop, the empty Chakir shop and the old Clydesdale bank.

We discussed the upcoming redevelopment of the Vennel area and considered what pressure can be applied to McCarthy and Stone to force them to complete the High Street frontage of their development at the Cross. Finally we noted that demolition of the derelict Victoria Hall may be imminent, with partial road closures having been approved for October.

The next meeting of the LBA is on Wednesday 1 November at 7:30pm at the Star and Garter. All members (and would-be members) are welcome to come along.

 

Business rates and parking spaces:

Admittedly, not many of the small businesses along Linlithgow High Street are lucky enough to have their own parking space, but those that do will find that they get a separate bill for business rates for their car park this year. It’s worth knowing that if your business qualifies for small business discount (effectively reducing your rates bill to zero) then your parking space qualifies too, but you have to apply separately for the discount.

Meanwhile the Linlithgow BID is warning businesses to be wary of unsolicited letters offering to reduce the rates by appeal. http://www.linlithgowmillroadbid.com/unsolicited-mail-lookout/

LBA committee meeting held on 26 April 2017

The LBA committee discussed the usual range of topics affecting business in the town:

Amongst other topics the committee discussed the activities of the Historic Environment Scotland Group, both Linlithgow BIDs, the Community Council, the Planning Forum , the Civic Trust and the Town Management Group.

The Linlithgow Community Development Trust’s proposals for a business ‘hub’ were discussed. Currently the ‘hub’ is an online community called Space4 aimed at helping small and micro businesses to prosper. http://trust-linlithgow.org.uk/linlithgow-business-community-hub/ A physical hub may be developed in the future.

The Council’s proposals for redeveloping the Vennel area were discussed. A draft planning guidance report has been issued. http://coins.westlothian.gov.uk/coins/submissiondocuments.asp?submissionid=34271

The McCarthy and Stone development at the Cross was discussed. The retail units on the frontage are still not complete. Councillor Tait has been in discussions.

Anne Daly gave a report from the Visit Scotland Tourism Expo held at the SEC this week.

Chair Jon Newey will be attending the Queensferry BNI as a guest later in the week.

The next LBA meeting is to be Friday 2 June at 7:30pm. LBA members are invited to attend

Regular LBA’s management meeting on Thursday 26 January 2017

As ever, the LBA committee discussed a range of topics affecting business in the town:
The recent closure of the fruit and veg shop on the High Street was discussed. The shop was popular but generated insufficient turnover. The difficulties of high street shops competing with the convenience of supermarkets was discussed.
Updates from Councillor Tait on the activities of the Linlithgow High Street BID and the Mill Road BID. The High Street BID is spearheading an update of the Linlithgow Visitor’s Guide. LBA has been asked to contribute to the costs.
Feedback on the latest discussions within Linlithgow Community Council. LCC recently discussing the provision of school places in the town and the lack of new schools within the ongoing Winchburgh development.
Updates from Anne Daly on tourism. Meeting WLC this month to discuss the apparent lack WLC interest in tourism.
Update from Councillor Tait on the latest meeting of the Linlithgow and Linlithgow Bridge Town Management Group. Proposals for improving the steps at the back of the County Buildings are progressing and some ideas for public art.
Discussion on the current activities of the Linlithgow Community Development Trust. A new initiative is taking shape to create a business hub in the town as a focal point and resource for home-based micro businesses. LBA has joined the steering group. This initiative should be the focus of a wider meeting of LBA members in the near future.
Report from Mike Vickers on his visit to the Melting Pot business hub in Edinburgh and his discussions with Iain Scott of Can Do Places.
Anne Daly introduced us to the online virtual meeting app “Slack”
LBA’s facebook presence was discussed. A duplicate page has been archived but the original page remains active.
Discussion about the Victoria Hall. The Victoria Hall Trust is still actively pursuing purchase of the site for use as a community-owned facility.
Discussed the potential for LBA to recruit an admin assistant. Agreed to park this idea for the time being and review after March.
The committee noted with sorrow the passing of Tam Dalyell earlier in the day.
Upcoming LBA events: Date and venue in the New Year to be confirmed. Keep up with us on the LBA Events page; www.linlithgowbusiness.org.uk

The next LBA management meeting is Thursday 23 Feb. LBA members are invited to attend