Local high streets re-open

With high streets re-opening from today (15 June), we are working with business groups to support the safe re-opening of Elmbridge high streets.
  • 1,558 businesses have been granted a total of £22.2M of funding
  • Over 30 grants have already been approved for high street shops to implement social distancing measures such as flexi glass at pay stations and signage marking out social distancing measures
  • Digital High Street Fund available to help businesses with their online offering
  • £1.2M is available from the Discretionary Grant for local businesses
  • Council-run car parks remain free of charge to help keep Elmbridge moving
  • Free webinars with business mentors, as well as signposting and information to support businesses

We appreciate it will be a cautious re-opening for many businesses as they seek to balance safety measures with trading and employer obligations to staff but we will do all we can to support local businesses as they take the first steps to re-opening.

We are launching the #LoveElmbridge campaign aimed at local residents and businesses to help inform them about store opening across the borough and the social distancing measures in place to help the high streets open safely.

If you are a resident, look out for the #LoveElmbridge hashtag on social media to find out all you need to know about your local high street or parade re-opening.  If you are a local business, use the hashtag and tag us in your social media and we will help promote your business.

Councillor Stuart Selleck, Leader Elmbridge Borough Council, is determined to help the Elmbridge economy on its recovery journey:
"We have always supported businesses in Elmbridge and that support will be magnified in the weeks and months ahead as we work to safely re-open our high streets and public confidence grows in returning to our local shops and services. I encourage our residents to 'Love Elmbridge' and shop local and I encourage our local businesses to work with us to promote your high street business."

We are missing clothes and shoe shops most, according to an Elmbridge Borough Council survey

A high street retail survey among Elmbridge residents, which had almost 1,000 responses, has highlighted that we are missing clothes and shoe shops (70.3%) the most during lockdown, with department stores (44.5%) and book shops (32.4%) in second and third place.

As shop owners across Elmbridge prepare to reopen, it seems the risk of contracting COVID-19 is the biggest concern among respondents, with over a quarter (27.3%) expecting to wait a few weeks before deciding on whether to return to the high street. 

Respondents also said they expect queues in shops, social distancing measures, contactless card payments and being unable to touch or try on items when they return to the high street.

36% of respondents do not expect to return to the high street when it re-opens on June 15, with 34% responding ‘maybe’ and 30% expecting to return on day 1 of re-opening. When asked if they would expect to return later on in the week of 15 June, 32% said yes, 28% said no and 40% said maybe. 

Councillor Christine Elmer, Portfolio Holder for Community and Corporate Development, understands the caution being displayed by Elmbridge residents on returning to the high street but is keen to stress the hard work retailers and Elmbridge Borough Council are putting into make the high street re-opening as safe as possible: 

“Our retailers are implementing queuing systems, one-way store navigation, extra cleaning and screens at check outs all to make the shopping experience as safe as possible. From Elmbridge Borough Council’s side, we are supporting local high streets and parades with signage, street cleaning and our ‘Love Elmbridge’ campaign aimed to encourage shoppers to respect social distancing, shop local and most of all to be kind to each other when they return to the high street.”

Shop owners from around the borough are telling Elmbridge Borough Council about their re-opening and all those details can be found on our website. Additionally, almost 70 high street retailers have been awarded a grant of up to £250 to implement safety measures such as screens and social distancing signage. Elmbridge Borough Council has paid 1,615 grants to Elmbridge businesses, worth £22.7M (approx. 95% of the initial funding given to Elmbridge Borough Council by Government).

Date published:15 June 2020

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