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Intu Milton Keynes set to get a new makeover by new owners

Lee Hall

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Intu Milton Keynes set to get a new makeover by new owners

Milton Keynes is set to see more changes to its shopping district as intu Milton Keynes is set to get a full makeover. Following on from going into administration earlier in the year, parts of intu business are being taken over by a management firm called Ellandi.

Earlier in June, Intu Properties warned that their shopping malls across the UK may have to close their doors for a period. Intu Properties who were £4.5 billion in debt had been in talks with their creditors to obtain standstill agreements. This would have meant Intu would not have to pay back what it has borrowed until the end of 2021. These talks failed and Intu entered administration.

Where did it go wrong for intu Milton Keynes?

There is no definitive answer. It is a case of the perfect storm. Intu Properties had been struggling as a business due to changes in consumer spending habits and competition from the internet. Many ideas and good campaigns were rolled out over the years but the recent lockdown and shop restrictions due to coronavirus have all but finished the once-popular shopping destination.

Intu Milton Keynes

intu Student Night in Milton Keynes.

Over the years, the management team had put on a number of events from intu Student Night with DJ’s and a full club setup to getting a mayor to play a few games of ping pong.

The other issue is that it was too close to Centre:MK, the ‘favourite’ Milton Keynes shopping destination. The rebrand from Midsummer Place to Intu MK was not really successful. With Centre:MK as the main shopping destination in Milton Keynes for so long, intu MK was seen by locals as ‘somewhere else to look at’.

What happens next to intu Milton Keynes?

One thing is for sure is that it will not be rebranded Ellandi Milton Keynes. New owners Ellandi have announced that it will keep its name in the short term. Officially, Ellandi, the privately-owned operator of many UK shopping centres, has been appointed as asset manager for intu Milton Keynes.

Ellandi believes thriving town centres are community hubs and 90% of Ellandi projects house crucial local amenities such as council offices, health services, banks, and post offices as well as libraries and sports facilities. What does this mean for the shopping centre formerly known as Intu Milton Keynes? At this stage, nobody knows. At some point, it will be rebranded and more profitable retailers/tenants will move in.

Earlier this year, fashion retailer Next announced they will be opening a new beauty store in the former Debenhams units. Called ‘The Beauty Hall from Next’, the new concept store will open in units formerly occupied by Debenhams in both intu sites in Watford and Milton Keynes.

Lover of all things FAST. If I am not in the office, you can find me near a track or under a car. I also work with great people in TrendLife's Editorial team.

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Local business launch “Brew for a Hero” campaign for NHS & key workers

Lee Hall

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Local business launch “Brew for a Hero” campaign for NHS & key workers

Harpenden based Twist Teas have announced their “Brew for a Hero” campaign is back! Launched to support and boost morale for NHS staff and key workers, the Brew for a Hero” campaign gives people a chance to show their appreciation for all the heroes from all walks of life during the current pandemic. This could be anyone – local postal workers, refuse collectors and cleaners, emergency services and health care staff, teachers and chefs, community groups and volunteers.

Local business launch “Brew for a Hero” campaign for NHS & key workers

You can participate in the “Brew for a Hero” by nominating a NHS or key workers hero you know. Nominate your hero and give them a chance to win one of Twist Teas Rainbow inspired tea caddies. If you know a key worker, that you would like to surprise with a personalised Rainbow Caddy of tea, simply email your nominations to hello@twist-teas.co.uk. Please include a brief reason, as to why they deserve a little treat. Twist Teas will again be tasked with the difficult job of picking winners, to be announced on the 31st of January.

Local business launch “Brew for a Hero” campaign for NHS & key workers

Twist Teas will also be making caddies available to purchase via their website with profits going to NHS Charities. More information about Twist Teas can be found in our interview with founders, mother and daughter duo Nicky Kavanaugh & Claire Ayers.

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Business

Watford businesses to decide on the future of Watford BID

Lee Hall

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Welome to Watford - Watford BID

Watford BID have launched a video highlighting the reasons why they believe they deserve a second 5-year term. Many residents in Watford are aware of Watford BID but not many understand exactly what they do and more importantly, how integral their work is to the success of Watford.

What is a BID and why are they so important?

Essentially, a BID (Business Improvement District) is a business-led and business funded body formed to improve a specific area in which a levy is charged on all business rate payers. This levy is used to develop projects and provide services which benefit businesses in the local area. This can include:

  • Activities to increase visitors to the area
  • Reducing overall business costs for levy members
  • Marketing and promotion of the area such
  • Lobbying councils/local government
  • Working with local police to reduce anti-social behaviour

There is no limit on what projects or services that can be provided through a Business Improvement District. Some BIDS are more effective at certain tasks than others for a number of reasons but overall, the benefits BIDs offer to the various towns across Beds, Bucks & Herts is immeasurable.

Three reasons for Watford BID to get renewed

We have selected what we believe are the three main reasons why Watford BID should get renewed.

1. Watford BID offers a central point of contact

At a time when the Government don’t know if they are coming or going, having a central point for all information relating to Watford offers residents, visitors and business owners a much-needed level of clarity. Social distancing procedures and safety communication both need harmonisation to keep Watford Town safe.

Watford BID have been extremely informative on Social Media and in the district sharing key information such as this statement on the national lockdown from the Mayor of Watford.

intu Watford outlines how it will keep people safe

Typically a Business Improvement District is within a local authority boundary but in April 2013 government introduced Cross Boundary Business Improvement Districts enabling Business Improvement Districts to operate across local authority boundaries.

2. Watford Restaurants & Bars will need support after the lockdowns end

Promoting Watford’s entertainment venues post-covid is going to need a lot of collaborative support post covid. Individual businesses taking to to social media to posts and update Facebook is not going to tempt the same numbers back to the district’s nightlife venues.

By having one organisation working alongside all the venues to promote Watford as an entertainment destination, visitors will hear one concise message that Watford is open for business.

Watford Bars are going need the support of Watford BID to boost footfall post-covid

3. Think of the benefits for residents and visitors

There have been calls for BIDs across The Three Counties to do more by some levy payers but in fairness, the amount of work involved in some of the projects is not to be underestimated such as launching The Watford Gift Card.

It is also important to understand that alongside promoting what’s on in Watford and things to do in Watford, the organisation is a key source for useful information for those living in and visiting Watford.

Welome to Watford - Watford BID

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Eating

Could this be the biggest clue for a Five Guys in Stevenage?

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Could this be a big clue for a Five Guys in Stevenage

Regardless of lockdowns and coronavirus, people want food. Fans of Five Guys could be getting a late Christmas present with a new Five Guys in Stevenage. A recent job post on the Five Guys recruitment page for a General Manager in the Stevenage area has got locals excited about the possible arrival of the much loved American Chain.

Could this be the biggest clue for a Five Guys in Stevenage?

Could this be the biggest clue for a Five Guys in Stevenage?

Spotted by an eagled eyed member of ‘Stevenage Chit Chat‘, the advert for a General Manager drops a few clues at a possible opening of a Five Guys in Stevenage.

Google Treasure Map highlighting a empty unit perfect for a Five Guys in Stevenage

Unit 10 appears empty on Google Maps

Clue No.1 for a Five Guys in Stevenage – The perfect scene

Nothing cements a clue in a mystery more than a location. The recruitment team have placed a X on the spot and that is 51°54’02.4″N 0°12’33.7″W. For all the normal people reading this, that is Unit 10 in Stevenage Leisure Park. This was home to Pizza Hut since late 2002 but this recent Google treasure map shows the unit is currently empty.

Clue No.2 for a Five Guys in Stevenage – A job for an ‘accomplice’

Did we mention there is a second job advert for a ‘Assistant Manager? If one job advert was not enough proof, two should be enough to convince you that plans are afoot for a Five Guys in Stevenage.

Clue No.3 for a Five Guys in Stevenage – A motive

What more motive do you need than hungry people in Stevenage in need of a good burger? A Five Guys in Stevenage is well overdue. It could even tempt Sir Lewis Hamilton back to Stevenage.

 

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