Agenda and minutes

Venue: Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Jo Partridge  020 8461 7694

No. Item




Apologies had been received from Stephen Allison – The Bromley Court Hotel, Carol Arnfield – LBB Head of Service for Early Years, Schools Standards and Adult Education, John Coupland – South East London Business Network, Mark Haynes – The Glades, Mike Lewis – Michael Rogers LLP, Peter Manlay – Contingent Works, Helen McIntosh – South East London Chamber of Commerce and Sam Parrett – London South East Colleges.




The minutes of the meeting held on 25th June 2019 were agreed, and signed as a correct record. There were no matters arising.




Sue Sibeon, Jobcentre Plus provided a presentation on apprenticeships and the key points for employers.


Apprentices were aged 16 or over, with no upper age limit, and could be new or current employees. They combined working with studying to gain skills and knowledge in a specific job. Employers must pay apprentices at least the minimum wage, and they must work with experienced staff, learn job-specific skills and study during their working week (for example, at a college or a training organisation).


Businesses based in England could get Government funding to cover some of the costs of training and assessing an apprentice. The amount a business could receive depended on whether or not they paid the apprenticeship levy, which was paid by employers with a pay bill over £3m per year.


Employers with wage bills under this amount did not need to pay the levy, and would pay 5% towards the cost of training and assessing their apprentice. A payment schedule would need to be agreed with the training organisation, and they would be paid directly for the training. The Government would pay the remaining 95% directly to the training organisation, up to the funding band maximum. Employers could be eligible for extra funding depending on both their circumstances and those of the apprentice. Employers that paid the levy would receive funds to spend on training and assessing their apprentices, and the Government would add 10%.


Employers were responsible for paying their apprentice’s wage and giving them their contract of employment. The current minimum wage rate for an apprentice was £3.90 per hour. This rate applied to apprentices under 19 and those aged 19 or over who were in their first year. Employers must pay at least the minimum wage rate for their employee’s age if their apprentice was aged 19 or over and had completed their first year.


Apprentices must work towards an approved apprenticeship standard or framework (recognised qualification), and their training must last at least 12 months. They must be employed in a real job that gave them the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills they needed to pass their assessment. Employers must pay their apprentice for time spent training or studying for their apprenticeship, whether while at work or at a college or training organisation. Employers must offer apprentices the same conditions as other employees working at similar grades or in similar roles. This included paid holiday, sick pay, any benefits offered such as childcare voucher schemes and any support offered such as coaching or mentoring.


Apprenticeships had equivalent educational levels, which allowed apprentices to gain qualifications such as GCSEs, A levels, Foundation degrees and Batchelor’s or Master’s degrees as they progressed. Some apprenticeships also provided additional qualifications, such as Diplomas.


Employers were required to sign an apprenticeship agreement with their apprentice. This provided details of what the employer agreed to do for the apprentice, including: how long they would employ them for; training they would be given; working conditions; and qualifications that they were working  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.




This item was deferred to a later meeting of the Bromley Economic Partnership.




Members of the Partnership gave an update around progress across the main themes of the Partnership.




Hannah Jackson, LBB Head of Renewal and Stephen Oliver, LBB Project Planner attended to provide an update on Town Centre Development across the Borough. Progress was continuing across the sites that made up the Bromley Town Centre Area Action Plan.


The Bromley Town Centre High Street Public Realm Improvement works were now mostly complete. Feature lighting on Bromley High Street was currently being installed, with completion expected by the end of October / beginning of November 2019. Once the first stage was complete, a review of the lighting would be undertaken to see if any further uplighters were needed to create more of an impact. Planning permission had been granted for two commercial units near Metro Bank. However, the tenders received back had all been over budget, so there would be a review of what work could be carried out and an update would be provided to the next meeting of the Partnership. Additional public benches had been installed between Bromley South Station and Elmcroft Road, and maintenance work to the Legible London signs was being undertaken with Transport for London (TfL). The signs were in need of updating following recent development of sites in the town centre. Remedial works were continuing on the tiles of the Churchill Theatre, which were due to be completed by spring 2020. Pavement works would then be completed once the scaffolding had been removed.


In Beckenham town centre, the public realm improvement works were mostly complete, with the last planters to be installed in November 2019. Heritage plaques were also due to be installed, the contract for which had now been awarded and the plaques were currently in production. It was hoped they would be installed before the end of the year. The Orpington town centre public realm improvements were complete, with the exception of some snagging works in relation to the fire escape at The Walnuts and the tree pits.


In Penge town centre, the first round of the shopfronts improvement scheme had been completed, and a second round was at the procurement stage. Heritage plaques were in production, and an installation date was to be confirmed. Discussions were taking place with Penge SE20 in relation to the options for alternative way finding, and the installation of new noticeboards and bins in the town centre.


In response to a question, it was agreed that following the meeting, the LBB Head of Renewal and LBB Project Planner would provide further details in relation to signage in Orpington town centre and the cycle path proposed along Kangley Bridge Road.


The Chairman advised Members that Opportunity Site G: West of the High Street was progressing, and the developers would be meeting with the LBB Chief Executive in the next few days. In relation to the Old Town Hall, developers Castleforge had recently held a public exhibition of the plans at Bromley Central Library. Proposals had included hotel rooms, flats and flexible working space. It was highlighted that this would see the refurbishment of an important building  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26a




Gill Slater, LBB Acting Joint Head of Service – Planning, Policy and Strategy provided an update on the development of the Local Plan.


The Local Plan had been adopted in January 2019, and further progress was awaited on the London Plan. It was noted that this could change what was carried out on a local level.


In the spring, the London Plan was the subject of Examination in Public. The Panel of Inspectors examining the London Plan had recently provided a report to the Mayor of London containing recommend changes, which the Mayor was required to publish and it was therefore anticipated soon. The Mayor did not have to accept any of these changes, but was required to give reasons for not doing so to the Secretary of State. The GLA had indicated they would publish the Panel Report alongside the intended Plan. The Plan needed to be approved by the assembly and the GLA had advised that they expected a final London Plan to be adopted in February 2020. This could affect the Borough’s proposed housing number targets. Until then, work would be undertaken to consider the implications for the Borough should the London Plan be adopted in its current form.


In response to a question, the LBB Acting Joint Head of Service – Planning, Policy and Strategy said that the next time a Local Plan was produced, the process would move with more speed. It was noted that the bulk of the Local Plan was up to date and may not require alteration, however some changes may have to be made in order to conform to the London Plan.


The Chairman reminded the Partnership that the new London Plan proposed a significant increase in the fifteen year target for net housing completions, from the current requirement of 641 homes per annum to 1,424 homes per annum. A Member questioned if the target was just for new builds, or included conversions. The LBB Acting Joint Head of Service – Planning, Policy and Strategy confirmed that conversions could be counted towards the target as they were classed as new units. It was noted that a record was kept of conversions in the Borough.


A Member queried if there could be a declassification of some of the Borough’s Green Belt land in order to deliver these housing numbers quicker. The LBB Acting Joint Head of Service – Planning, Policy and Strategy responded that following a ‘call for sites’, it would be for developers to submit sites. However the National Guidance was clear and whilst sites on Green Belt land could be put forward, it was expected that these would be strongly resisted, but there was a challenge ahead to address the housing targets in the draft London Plan.


In response to a question, the LBB Acting Joint Head of Service – Planning, Policy and Strategy said that the current target of 641 homes per annum was being met comfortably.


RESOLVED that the update on the Local Plan be noted.




Ms Sharon Baldwin, Orpington 1st BID Company informed Members that vacancy rates in the town centre were low, however they were finding there was a faster churn of tenants. Larger shop units tended to be those that were empty long term, and landlords were splitting the space into smaller units. Footfall in the town centre remained constant, however there had been a slight slip at the beginning of the week. It was noted that a number of office spaces had been turned into residential units, which had resulted in a loss of lunchtime trade. Work was being undertaken with individual businesses to attract people into the town centre during this period.


The third year of the Orpington Food Festival had taken place in September, and had been extremely successful. Events had included ‘Foodie Friday’, with food trucks and live music, and on Saturday there was a demonstration kitchen which local restaurants used to prepare dishes. The event had ended with a ‘Sunday Social’ BBQ and music, in collaboration with Churches Together. Work with fourteen local schools had been undertaken on a plastic free initiative, and Orpington 1st BID had been awarded Silver Gilt at this year's London in Bloom awards.


A lanyard scheme had been introduced for people with disabilities, and staff across the town centre had been trained in showing more tolerance when dealing with these customers. A project to combat isolation and loneliness had also been taking place in the town centre. Five restaurants had ‘Chatty Chairs’, which indicated where people were happy to be joined by others to sit and talk. A new loyalty scheme, ‘LoLo’, to which 22 businesses had already signed up, would be launching in the town centre shortly.


Upcoming events included: a scarecrow trail during half term; the annual poppy installation; a 40th anniversary event for the Alzheimer’s Society; the Christmas Lights switch-on taking place on Thursday 14th November; and a Santa Dash on Sunday 8th December.


It was noted that The Walnuts Shopping Centre had been sold to Areli Real Estate, who were redeveloping a centre in Maidenhead into a mixed-use scheme.


Ms Frances Forrest, Your Bromley BID Company informed Members that Operation Gemini would take place in the town centre from the 23rd to 27th October, for which the BID would fund additional police officers at peak periods. The main focus was on preventing shop lifting and cycling in pedestrianised areas of the high street. A new shoplifting initiative was also being piloted, with had resulted in three perpetrators being banned from the town centre. This had worked well for two out of the three, and they were working with the police to take out an injunction against the third.


There had been a number of complaints made in relation to the street population, including begging and street sleeping. A number of joint patrols had taken place with the police, and a steady difference had been seen. The “Loose Change to make Real Change”  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26c




Updates are provided in the relevant sub sections.




Mr David Winstanley, Chief Executive Officer – London Biggin Hill Airport provided an update on developments at London Biggin Hill Airport.


The aviation market was currently flat, however London Biggin Hill Airport was “holding its own”, and currently had a 20% share of the London market. The airport had now shifted from a Managing Director to a Chief Executive Officer led organisation, with the focus to unlock unrealised potential in the Borough. Work was being undertaken with Central Government on the Aviation Strategy 2050 and the London Airspace Modernisation Project.


The Local Authority had granted planning permission for the hangar development at the airport, and a global manufacturer had now chosen Bromley as its central base. Consent from the landlord had also been received for the development of the Aeronautical Engineering College and hotel.


A new Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy would have a main focus on environmental impact, and it was noted that for the long term future of light aviation, there was still a lot of work to do.




Mr Robert Sargent, Acorn Group informed Members that new commercial property that was design-led was quick to let, and landlords delivering flexible space appealed to tenants. There had been a change in the philosophy of funders, having relied on leases of 15 to 20 years. Having an “easy in, easy out” option was an attraction for tenants. Some of the property in Bromley was hard to let as it was considered to be ‘out of date’.


The HG Wells Tower, a 17-storey development, was looking very impressive, and it was noted that the commercial space had been fully let on day one. A proposal for an 11-storey development in front of this would be brought to the Local Authority by January 2020.




Mr Christopher Evans informed Members that he was the new Chief Executive at Community Links Bromley, following the retirement of Colin Maclean. Community Links Bromley was part of Bromley’s Third Sector Enterprise Partnership, and its function was to support the voluntary and community sector and help it to thrive and grow. Events to train the sector more generally were planned in November and December 2019, with support for their Trustees.


It was noted that the references made earlier in the meeting to the Homelessness Prevention Strategy, Churches Together, Men in Sheds and social isolation and loneliness showed the alignment of businesses and charities.


The Volunteering Strategy that had been devised needed re-visiting. Community Links Bromley would be speaking with the Local Authority about its approach to volunteering and its marketing of it, and with businesses in relation to how they could best work with them to develop their volunteering offer in the Borough. It was noted that the approach needed to be more planned and structured.




Mr Chandra Sharma, attended the meeting representing the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).


The FSB were continuing to run their successful networking lunches in Orpington and Bromley, and consideration was being given to holding a further event in Westerham. Work had also been undertaken with LBB officers over the last year on improving the Bromley Business website.


An event had taken place at the Harris Academy Beckenham for 40 students in Year 13 who were undecided about whether they wanted to attend university, or complete an apprenticeship. The event had been very positive, with 35 businesses attending, and it would be repeated at another academy in the near future.


Future FSB events included the ‘Fit for Tender’ session on the 6th November 2019, which would include a procurement presentation by a Commissioner from the London Borough of Bromley. A ‘Meet the Buyer’ event would be taking place on the 18th March 2020, providing local opportunities to small businesses. Small Business Saturday would be taking place on 7th December 2019 – the event would be promoted on the Council’s website, and Members were encouraged to get involved in the event. Round table discussions between local businesses and Lord Harris were planned to take place in Orpington on 11th January 2020.





No update was provided to the meeting.




Reverend Agnita Oyawale, Bromley Town Centre Chaplain advised Members that from January 2020, a team of Chaplains had been commissioned to increase the number to 13.


Mr Matthew Eady, Mytime Active advised that a new Mind and Body Studio had recently opened at The Spa – Beckenham. It had been profiled on the BBC London News, and the feedback had been positive. Mytime Active had been involved with the London Youth Games, which Bromley had won for the fourth year in a row. Nike had recently been named as the new sponsor of the Games, however costs were increasing, and Bromley’s team were looking for sponsors for next year’s event.


Additional funding had been received to continue the ‘Twilight College’ in partnership with London South East Colleges. These classes provided additional activities for pupils after school hours. The feedback received had been good, and other colleges were following their lead. An arts project which they ran for children in care had been shortlisted for a community and voluntary sector award, but had narrowly missed out. However the project had been nominated for two further awards, at a national and local level.


Mr Steve Lipscombe, Ronin Marketing reported that following a slack spring, business had picked up over the last two to three months. It was noted that they were working with companies from different sectors, which it was hoped was a sign of good times.


Mr Lawrence Wilson, Business Doctors informed Members that a network event, focused on construction and property firms, would be taking place later that week at the Travelodge, Bromley.


Mr Michael Humphries, Handelsbanken said that business remained busy. They needed to be “looking outside of the box”, and had the flexibility to do so. On the commercial side, there were a number of projects underway.


Mr Russell Clarke, Sundridge Investments Limited noted that in relation to town planning, for the second time in two year there had been a judicial review. The appeal inspector had travelled down for the north east, which highlighted the issues of staffing and experience.


Mr Dave Freeborn, Proctors said that he was aware of a number of property developers who did not feel they were supported enough in Bromley. A number of small and medium developers had moved to Croydon, which was a worry and was backed up by the percentage of overturned appeals. The Chairman advised that there had recently been a new Chief Planner in post and there was now a different attitude within the department.


Mr Alex Henderson, Henderson Biomedical said that the company was currently busy. Work had not yet started on the proposed cycle lane on Kangley Bridge Road. Mr Henderson noted that he felt the extension of the Bakerloo Line to Hayes would be a huge benefit to local businesses.


Ms Lesley Holland, Bromley Education Business Partnership informed Members that they supported young people in to work. Thanks were extended to Mytime Active who had recently taken on two pupils at the risk of exclusion.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27f




Members of the Partnership considered the forward rolling work programme for the Bromley Economic Partnership for 2019/20.


The Chairman informed Members that London Biggin Hill Airport had very kindly offered to host the next meeting of the Bromley Economic Partnership.


It was noted that an update on the St Mark’s Square development would be presented to a future meeting of the Partnership. Members were asked to send any further suggestions for agenda items to the clerk.




Zoe Brown informed Members that following the presentation by the London Enterprise Advisor Network (LEAN) East at the previous meeting, she had volunteered to become an Enterprise Advisor. There would be a careers fair for pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 taking place at Eden Park High School on Thursday 21st November 2019. Any Members willing to attend the event and share their experiences with the pupils were encouraged to contact the Talent Co-ordinator at the school.


The Chairman informed the Partnership that the London Borough of Bromley had loaned the Bromley Foodbank the former Adventure Kingdom building. However, this building was needed back, and alternative premises of around 5,000 sq. ft. was sought for the Bromley Foodbank for the next couple of years. Members were asked to get in contact if they were aware of any available spaces.


In relation to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the Chairman advised Members that some companies allowed staff to take days for volunteering. If any businesses were considering this, Careplus Bromley were looking for volunteers to undertake things such as shopping, befriending and gardening. Melanie Ross noted that previously, a CSR event had been held annually and suggested that it may be helpful for this to be re-established.


RESOLVED that the issues raised be noted.



4.00pm, Tuesday 14th January 2020

4.00pm, Tuesday 31st March 2020


4.00pm, Tuesday 14th January 2020

4.00pm, Tuesday 31st March 2020


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