Chairman’s report 2021

Well as the end of 2021 draws near, I will certainly be welcoming 2022 with open arms.

This time last year, none of us knew what the future held in store for us.  The vaccine rollout was just starting out, businesses were frantically preparing for Brexit and we were still in the middle of lockdown restrictions.

None of us could have envisaged what this last 12 months have thrown at us, but we do seem (on the whole) to have weathered the storm and can now see light at the end of the tunnel.  The great British spirit and resilience has certainly shone through!  Supply chain issues, whilst still a problem, seem to be easing, Brexit seems to have had a mixed response with some companies benefiting whilst others have suffered, especially with the amount of paperwork and bureaucracy now involved, and lockdown restrictions have eased allowing more people back into their workplaces, and allowing people to travel for more face to face meetings.  I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of meetings via Zoom, Teams or Webex.

This year has also seen a change of personnel within the board.  Sam Morris (Cumbria Stone) & Jonathan Garbutt (A W Jenkinson), both founding members of the board, have unfortunately left us and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their hard work and commitment over the last 3 years, they have been a pleasure to work with.  As one door closes, another door opens and we were pleased to be able to welcome Gavin Wilkinson (PSSI) and Paul Carrick (A W Jenkinson) onto the board.  We still have space on the board, if you or one of your   colleagues would like to join us.

Throughout the year, the BID Directors, along with help from Amanda & Richard, have continued to push on with the projects that we have been so keen to deliver.

The year started on a positive note when we were finally able to get the CCTV cameras installed & commissioned.  Working closely with Cumbria Constabulary and Eden District Council, we were able to fund two cameras for the Penrith Business Parks area.  These cameras are positioned on the junction of Gilwilly Road & Cowper Road, just outside David Haytons and cover all traffic coming onto the Gilwilly Industrial Estate.  The other camera is positioned outside Cranstons and covers traffic leaving Penrith Industrial Park.

Regarding estate security & safety, regular night time security patrols have now been introduced across the three estates.  This is in response to feedback received from the surveys we have sent out, so thank you to all who have taken the time to reply to these.

Another positive has been the feedback that we have received regarding the estate signage which welcomes everybody onto each of the estates within the Penrith Business Parks area.  The next stage of our signage project is well underway. Planning applications have been submitted and passed, landowner permissions have been sought and most have been accepted and designs signed off.  These new signs will be strategically placed at road ends and show which businesses are located down those roads.  You should start to see these being installed in the next few weeks.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing for us over the last 12 months.  Our major setback has been the inability to get a license for the removal of the seagull nests and eggs.  The fact that nobody in the UK has been issued one is some consolation, however it doesn’t help us solve the problem that the estates face.  We are hoping that a license will be granted in 2022, but until then we must wait and see and explore other avenues if required.

Our online presence has also been enhanced with the launch of the new website www.penrithbusinessparks.co.uk The redesign with its promotional video, allows for a much better user experience, with quick access to company listings and news updates.  Don’t forget that if you have any news stories or job vacancies, these too can be added to the site.  We have also engaged with a local company, Acorn Marketing, to further enhance the LinkedIn and Facebook side of our marketing efforts.  Hopefully most of you will have seen a steady stream of different company features and news feeds from around the three estates.  We are always looking to gain new followers, so please share and like the posts amongst colleagues and friends, so that we are able to reach a greater audience.  These platforms will also be used to help promote any of the courses that the BID will be running over the next 12 months.

One of the courses that the BID has been able to put on this year is a series of events based on Mental Health First Aid.  From the feed back received, these have been exceptionally well run, and have really been of benefit to those who have attended.

Hopefully most of you will also have noticed that the estates are looking much cleaner and up together.  This is down to our Bid Warden, Richard, going around picking up the litter that is left around the estates as well as EDC who are now mowing much more of the grassy areas.

We must also take this opportunity to thank those who have been in contact with us to tell us about any issues on the estates that we can try and help with, and also your feedback on the work we are doing around the estates.  It is all very much appreciated.

Our plans for the next 12 months are to deliver more of the projects that we have been working on.  The new signs should be installed soon, the marketing of the estates will continue to be pushed on the usual platforms as well as having adverts played on CFM.  We will also look to enhance the footpaths in the Thacka Nature Reserve as well as the path between Myers Lane & Mardale Road, thus allowing a cleaner, safer journey to work for those walking & cycling, and fingers crossed we can do some more work on reducing the seagull numbers.

We will of course keep you all up to date with how these projects are progressing, as well as any new developments which occur in the coming months.

Finally, a big thank you to all of our members for their support over the last 12 months, it certainly makes a difference.  With your continued support and input we are making Penrith Industrial Estate, Gilwilly Industrial Estate and Eden Business Park a great place to Work, Shop and Do Business.