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1-Jul-2016 08:18 AM
1-Jul-2016 02:00 PM
3-Jul-2016 10:17 AM
I wrote:Welcome to Windsor...
9-Jul-2016 10:41 AM
Helen price wrote on Alexandra Gardens thread:I have looked up this planning application and documents logged http://www.rbwm.gov.uk/pam/planning_application_search.jsp?appnum=16%2F01788%2FFULLOne is from the Windsor & Eton Town Partnership (see Consultee Comments General) who support the application but make no mention of one year or three. I found it interesting that the last of their recommendations was to "work with RBWM to deliver a full customer survey on experiences and additional spend in the town centre". In other words there is no data available to justify the claim that this attraction boosts spend in the town centre.
My view is that if the W &E Town Partnership believe it is a worthwhile venture then they should be listened to - after all they represent Windsor traders.
As far as the grass is concerned they are content with the current arrangement and one of their recommendations is to "ensure that reinstatement works are carried out as quickly as possible following removal from site and on the same principals established in 2015". Personally I do feel that strongly about the poor state of the grass for so many months due to the ice rink and that more needs to be done about this. There is no report from the Parks Dept of the RBWM. Highways are supporting. All Environmental Protection are concerned about is informing the applicant of their working hours.
All very strange.
9-Jul-2016 10:57 AM
thamesweb wrote:If a major benefit to Windsor’s retailers can be demonstrated, then perhaps we could accept the loss for six months (November - April, and possibly longer) of the visual amenity that the gardens are intended to provide. As it is the only business to benefit is the ice rink operators.
9-Jul-2016 08:44 PM
Windsor & Eton Town Partnership
Briefing note - Windsor on Ice November 2015 – January 2016
Alexandra Garden, Windsor
Windsor on Ice (WOI)
Windsor on Ice have been operating an outdoor ice rink in Alexandra garden since 2009. In
recent years a number changes have been made to the operation and facilities in order that
there are an increased ranged of activities and small refreshments. Mostly in response to
customer feedback and the increasing competition from neighbouring town centres.
One immediate change to the layout came as a result of the installation of the bandstand.
This meant that the out door rink had to be slightly moved to make sure that access to the
bandstand was maintained throughout should any group wish to take advantage of it.
Comment: Are we in competition with Maidenhead? What a strange state of affairs! It will be impossible for the bandstand to be used at any point from the first days of ice rink installation in early November through to restoration of the lawns in the late spring/early summer (rooted and established lawns). When the RBWM take bookings for its use, given that the lawns’ condition is totally weather dependent, what consideration is given to the possibility that the lawns will not be in a good enough state for public use?
Marketing and Communications
RBWM Advantage cardholders were offered a 10% discount throughout the entire period of
the ice rink (150 users took advantage of this). 250 “2 for 1” and £50 shopping vouchers were
purchased which was an increased on last year but there is scope to improve this with
increase town centre promotion.
Comment: These are tiny numbers (0.001%) compared to the population of the borough, (144,000) and even if only Windsor’s population is taken into account. (c. 40,000 - 0.003%) Similarly just 250 individuals took up the special offers. This response is so insignificant as to be of nil importance and certainly does nothing to support claims of a high level of local interest.
Visitor information centre sold over £2000.00 worth of tickets and were also able to charge a
daily rate of £25 for their services to WOI.
Comment: It is unclear how many days the Information Centre could charge £25. Let’s say the Information Centre sold tickets for 60 days (November and December). That’s £1500.00. Yet they sold £2000 worth. That is roughly 200 tickets, that’s about three tickets a day! That doesn’t sound like a rip-roaring success to us. Obviously the majority of tickets are sold at the ice rink itself, or perhaps online, but we have no information about the actual number of skaters which is why an objective survey would be valuable.
A gala night was hosted in November and attracted over 800 guests from across the
community and business communities, RBWM staff and their families, Councillors and the
Adam Afriyie MP were in attendance. WOI work directly with over 30 schools in RBWM.
Comment: Doubtless the 800 guests were invited. It would be interesting to learn what links were created with 30 borough schools. If mention is made of this elsewhere, it has not been noted.
Windsor and Eton Town Partnership feedback
The Windsor and Eton Town partnership would prefer ice rink to be in the middle of the town
Comment: We agree the suggestion, but where? Bachelors Acre? Park Street? Our suggestion is the car park east of the Leisure Centre where the skating would complement activities and benefit catering facilities there.
…but despite this consider that WOI does add to the overall offer for Christmas in the
town and that a large number of families arrange a visit to the ice rink and then go into town.
More work was needed to capture this data but it is important for such attractions to increase
dwell time in the town.
Comment: The best way to attract shoppers into the town centre is to offer the best shopping. Contrived attractions could well reduce the purchasing power of customers, as well as reducing the time available to shop. Certainly it is true that these claims need to be proven by research which is currently sadly lacking. The claim that ‘large number of families… go into town’ after skating is not proven. There is no data available. The desire of the ice rink operators to provide additional children’s facilities (or activities fro those who do not wish to skate) imp[lies a desire to keep their customers at the rink longer. In other words, to keep them away from the shopping centre. Furthermore, how likely is it that the families that the ice rink is trying to attract will then take their children into Windsor to shop. Do parents normally shop with their children? Is it a rewarding experience?
Other neighbouring towns now competing very hard for Christmas
custom and would support the return of the ice rink. Whilst children rides and catering were
on offer, understood these were essential for non skaters (parents). Felt that these should
not supersede the ice rink offer. Focus should always be on improving the quality of the offer
and experience to customers.
Comment: As mentioned above, ‘other neighbouring towns’ includes Maidenhead. Are we in competition with Maidenhead, and should we be? Slough has its own ‘full time’ ice rink although this year I understand it is being refurbished. Surely the ‘focus’ on improving the quality of the offer should be on the quality of the shopping experience?
Following the removal of the ice rink the operators pay up to £15k for the reinstatement of the
grounds. The area requiring replacement has been extended beyond the footprint of the ice
rink to ensure that there are perfect conditions for customers in the summer months.
Comment: Photographs in earlier posts show clearly that the reinstatement that took place earlier this year was second rate. It was, admittedly, earlier than past years which is to be welcomed but i suspect the scheduled arrival of the Queen to ‘open’ the bandstand may have played its part.
An example of the quality of the reinstatement which illustrates the false claim of ‘perfect quality’ that residents were fobbed off with.
WOI employee up to 24 staff. 14 of whom are from Windsor and the remaining from Slough
and other boroughs.
Comment: These are part time jobs, 14 of them from Windsor and ten, almost half, from outside Windsor.
Ice rink attracted 14,200 customers in 2015. Slight reduction on last years figures (15,000).
This equated to around 200 customers per day with most popular day being Christmas Eve
where all sessions were fully booked between 11 – 5.45pm
Comment: This suggests a gross income in the region of £140,000 the majority of which may well leave the town as income for the parent company in Brighton.
A.B.C. STRUCTURES LTD (Co. reg. no. 06560511)
Registered office address
1 Hawthorn Way, Portslade, Brighton, East Sussex, BN41 2HR
The company leases a variety of equipment including ice rinks and marquees. ‘Christmas on Ice’ in Windsor appears to be a trading name of ‘Cities on Ice’ (also located in Brighton) and presumably a trading name of ABC Structures. It is not therefore a local company.
WOI has established itself as a welcomed addition to the Christmas offer in Windsor Town
Centre. Whilst visitor numbers have not increased, WOI has made significant investment in
the ice rink offer with the development of the Ice Bar, reducing and improving the catering
offer and seating arrangements which all ensure a better experience for visitors.
There are concerns over the inclusion of children’s rides. These are an integral part of the
offer which most rinks established across the country also offer and enable the ice rink to be
financial viable. It must be noted that RBWM does not subsidise in any way the WOI offer.
We would recommend that the lighting of these rides should be changed and better theming
of such ride should be made in order that these can blend into the rest of the scheme..
There are positive spin offs for the town centre which have been highlighted above including
1. Unique Christmas offer which is not offered by other neighbouring town centres.
2. Employment of local people (over 50%).
3. Opportunity for local community groups, schools and charities to benefit from free
access to the rink as part of the gala night and similar events.
4. Rental Income for RBWM.
5. Increased dwell time and footfall into the town centre (attendance of over 14000
6. Discount for advantage card holders and shopper in the town centre.
7. Income for Visitor Information team via ticket sales.
Comment: ‘Whilst visitor numbers have not increased…’ This is what those who oppose the ice rink have suspected. The ice rink does not increase visitor numbers, yet Windsorians have to put up with significant disadvantages, primarily noise and light pollution, loss of visual amenity and access to the lawns, plus the closing off of the bandstand for a number months. Furthermore, established Windsor catering businesses lose out to the additional ‘catering offer’. This is not in the least supportive of local businesses. The Windsor Town Partnership also have concerns re the children’s rides, although these are not clearly itemised. The employment benefits are for a short time only and seasonal. These amount to just 14 jobs.
The claim of 14,000 people reflects total skaters over the period, November - January. There is no data to support a claim that these ice rink customers subsequently go shopping in the town centre. Research is therefore essential. In any event it is inevitable that a significant number (unknown) are Windsor residents and so would visit the town centre anyway during the Christmas period.
In short the advantages as summarised by the partnership are minimal and undocumented.
Key outline recommendations are the following: -
1. RBWM agrees to planning permission as soon as possible in order that the marketing
of the rink can take place.
2. Installation of enhanced power supply to the site.
Comment: I would have thought that the installation of the bandstand included additional and upgraded power supply. The provision of such additional power implies a more regular installations such as the ice rink which would be unpopular with a significant number of Windsorians.
3. Gala event should be repeated and enhanced.
4. Discount to advantage card holders should be repeated on the same basis with a
discount for the entire period.
5. 2 for 1 offer should be included as part of the overall marketing campaign for the rink.
6. Consideration for theming the rides i.e. Only white lights and Christmas themes
characters. Comment: The operators have stated that they could only afford such a modification if the cost (some £9000) be amortised over a three year period, hence their request for a three year licence to operate. This strikes us as an unreasonable condition!
7. Consideration for on site toilet facilities. Comment: There are potential pollution problems with portable toilets on a public open space. There are permanent toilet facilities nearby.
8. Upgrading of power supply to reduce need for generators on site. Comment: Repeat of no. 2 above.
9. Continue to use Visitor information service to sell tickets.
10. Agreement with Streetcare position of official poster sites to assist in the promotion of
rink as is the case for street markets and other council supported activities.
11. Ensure that reinstatement works are carried out as quickly as possible following
removal from site and on the same principals established in 2015.
Comment: Wintertime is not the best time to lay grass as it does not grow in cold, wet conditions. Grass cannot normally be laid effectively until March time, or later. It is very much weather dependent. In a cold damp winter regenerations of the grass can be delayed until April /May before it is even remotely usable by the general public. This is our prime complaint about the presence of the ice rink.
12. WOI should provided within 1 months of the rink leaving a full detailed report on the
finances, including full breakdown of visitor spend, postcodes, advantage card users.
Comment: It would be valuable to determine the true financial value of the ice rink as many residents are concerned that its present location is unsuitable. A location on hard standing elsewhere in the borough would be preferable.
13. Work with RBWM to deliver a full customer survey on experiences and additional
spend in the town centre.
Comment: Such information is not currently to hand and is essential in determining the true value of the ice rink.
20-Jul-2016 08:29 PM
20-Jul-2016 09:39 PM
21-Jul-2016 03:03 PM
21-Jul-2016 04:33 PM
27-Jul-2016 01:35 PM
27-Jul-2016 03:59 PM
27-Jul-2016 06:43 PM
27-Jul-2016 09:44 PM
18-Aug-2016 05:26 PM
31-Aug-2016 07:12 PM
1-Sep-2016 05:03 PM
thamesweb wrote:I am wondering how the newly laid grass has survived through this recent dry spell compared to the established grass areas as clearly illustrated in the above picture.
1-Sep-2016 05:37 PM
30-Oct-2016 01:40 PM
30-Oct-2016 04:28 PM
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