Striking gold: Meet Charlotte Best, Travel Plan Coordinator for Wellington Place, Leeds

We caught up with Charlotte Best, Travel Plan Coordinator for Wellington Place, to hear about all of the work that has gone into achieving CityConnect’s gold Bike Friendly Business accreditation.

Wellington Place is a 22-acre site in Leeds city centre comprising office, retail, and leisure space. 

With the Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway - a 23km route segregated from traffic - running right outside the site entrance on Wellington Street and the Leeds & Liverpool Canal just a stone’s throw away, Wellington Place is in a great location to get more people travelling by bike and on foot.

By adopting a cycling and walking friendly approach, through state of the art facilities and events which encourage people to travel by bike and on foot , it’s no surprise Wellington Place is a gold standard CityConnect Bike Friendly Business and a Walk Friendly Workplace.

Thanks to a £4,400 grant from CityConnect, occupiers have benefitted from a pool e-bike, as well as ride leader training, to complement the existing on-site facilities such as bike parking, showers, changing rooms and lockers, and drying rooms.

At the start of the lockdown, we caught up with Charlotte Best, Travel Plan Coordinator for Wellington Place, to hear about all of the work that has gone into achieving CityConnect’s gold Bike Friendly Business accreditation.

Raising the bar

Wellington Place first applied to become one of CityConnect’s Bike Friendly Business at the beginning of 2018 and at that time we received the bronze accreditation, progressing to silver later that year.

We’re absolutely delighted to have recently been awarded gold accreditation in recognition of our ongoing work to make Wellington Place a great place for cycling. 

This, alongside our Walk Friendly Workplace accreditation, recognises our culture of encouraging and enabling staff to travel more sustainably.

Since 2018 we’ve increased the number of people travelling to Wellington Place by bike from 5.6% to 7%. 

As a people-first development, we recognise that boosting physical activity is a key way of improving workplace wellbeing.

Over the past few years, we’ve worked with CityConnect to provide: lunchtime walks; drop-in advice sessions, festival-style events and competitions; bike breakfasts and maintenance sessions; a buddying forum to connect colleagues who are new to cycling with more experienced members of staff; and walking maps of the surrounding area.

We are looking forward to organising more guided bike rides in the future.

We also have an e-bike and a pool bike hire system for people to try before they buy, as well as promoting the benefits of the Government’s Cycle to Work scheme to our occupiers, providing the opportunity for their employees to save money on purchases.

The team at Wellington Place receiving their bronze Bike Friendly Business award in 2018.

Boosting health and productivity

Feedback from staff at Wellington Place has revealed they feel healthier and are more productive as a result of commuting by bike and on foot.

We provide our community with everything they need to understand what options are available to them and to, ultimately, not only change the way they travel to work but to also be more active while they are in work. 

We find people want to participate because they are on the lookout for opportunities to meet new people and to socialise. 

Attracting and retaining talent

Wellington Place boasts secure bike parking, showers, lockers and changing facilities in each of the buildings.

These facilities make the site more attractive, providing people with greater travel options, making their commute something to look forward to and enjoy.

Creating this kind of environment means people want to work at Wellington Place because they see good cycling and walking facilities as a key benefit.

Placing staff health and wellbeing at the centre of an organisation’s business objectives is absolutely vital for attracting and retaining talent. It’s a key selling point if you offer more than just the norm.