Agenda and minutes

Bromley Economic Partnership - Tuesday 29 March 2022 4.00 pm

Venue: Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Jo Partridge  020 8461 7694

No. Item




Apologies for absence were received from Carol Arnfield – LBB Head of Service for Early Years, School Standards and Adult Education, Zoe Carr – Beckenham Together BID Company & Penge SE20 BID Company, Chris Glover – Churchill Theatre, Mark Haynes – The Glades, Alex Henderson – Henderson Biomedical, Lesley Holland – Bromley Education Business Partnership, Marg Mayne – Mytime Active, Robert Sargent – Acorn Group, Bruce Walker – Lansdown Asset Management and Louise Wolsey – London South East Colleges.


Apologies for absence were also received from Sharon Baldwin – Orpington 1st BID Company and Chris Travers attended as substitute.



In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, questions that are not specific to reports on the agenda must have been received in writing 10 working days before the date of the meeting.


Questions specifically relating to reports on the agenda should be received within two working days of the normal publication date of the agenda. Please ensure that questions specifically on reports on the agenda are received by the Democratic Services Team by 5pm on Wednesday 23rd March 2022.


No questions had been received.




The Chairman noted that there were no matters outstanding.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 11th January 2022 be agreed.



Our headlines on Place, People, Prosperity and Planet and what we want to do


The Partnership received a presentation from Hal Khanom, LBB Head of Economic Development, providing headlines on measures relating to Place, People, Prosperity and Planet. A copy of the presentation is attached at Appendix A.


In response to questions from the Chairman, the LBB Head of Economic Development said that the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) broke deprivation down into lots of elements. Overall the borough was doing well, but in terms of access to housing and services, 50% of neighbourhoods in Bromley were within the top 30% most deprived. Avison Young was delivering an Economic Evidence Study which would look at various areas including productivity and employment clusters – the first report would soon be available and could be shared with the Partnership.  (ACTION: LBB Head of Economic Development)


Ose Akpom – LBB Economic Development Manager confirmed that the GDP figure quoted in the presentation was generated within the borough.


Katy Woolcott – London Biggin Hill Airport considered that there was a need to have a flexible and supportive planning policy to help grow new industry – “time killed deals” and businesses could not afford to wait.



o  What are the opportunities for employment space, types of space, and where?

o  What are the constraints for employment space?

o  What does the pipeline for employment space look like?

o  How do we promote viability of commercial space over residential prior to the Local Plan?

o  How do we encourage developers to come forward?

o  What type of business support is required for established businesses to enable them to continue to grow?

o  What other work is being done by partners that we are not aware of?


The Chairman welcomed John Baker – Chairman of The Commercial Park Group to the meeting for discussion of this item.


Members were shown a video of the Bromley Park development:


Mike Lewis – Michael Rogers LLP informed the Partnership that this demonstrated the pinnacle of Grade A office space that could be achieved which was brand new and of a high specification.


The Chairman noted that when speaking with companies who let office space in Central London, Bromley was not put forward as a relocation option as there was little office stock available. Mr Lewis said that when he spoke with representatives of major West End firms, they were often unaware that the travel time between Bromley South Station and Victoria Station was only 15 minutes and that the borough also had an airport. There was a job to do to get these messages across – The Commercial Park Group was emphasising this, but it was considered that more help was needed from the Council. Katy Woolcott – London Biggin Hill Airport agreed that the airport was a unique selling point for the borough. Formula 1 Management was an example of a large company, with a large number of employees, that had based themselves in the borough because of the airport. It was important that the good quality of life and global connectivity was being articulated in the marketing of the borough.


Lee Thomas – Fairlight Group highlighted that the green agenda had been accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and rise in fuel prices. Grade A office space would be new to the market as the old stock could not be refurbished to this standard. The old stock was likely to be turned into other uses which meant that the office hubs would not be retained unless A grade offices came forward and the Local Plan was supportive of such employment uses.


Mr Baker – Chairman of The Commercial Park Group advised that the partnership of the John Baker Group and Sir Robert McAlpine had designed the proposed Bromley Park development, located on Elmfield Road. There was a need to build and develop prime real estate as companies wanted spaces that they could occupy long-term and required associated facilities and amenities. Phase 1 of the Bromley Park scheme proposed the redevelopment of Wells House, which would deliver around 100,000 sq. ft. of Grade A office space, and an application for a further 50,000 sq. ft. had been submitted in the vicinity. Bromley South had been pitched as a commercial hub which had great transport links and was in close proximity to London Biggin Hill Airport and Gatwick Airport, and shopping centres such as The Glades and Bluewater. Companies were looking for large spaces – to attract big companies, the right environment needed to be created and Bromley needed to “be ahead of the game” in providing commercial basis for the future. There were two major organisations on the verge of signing up and the potential lettings could bring  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.



A film highlighting the impact on the start-up businesses supported through the programme this year


The Chairman welcomed Martin Stone – Sector Libraries Manager, GLL to the meeting and Members were shown a video showcasing the Start Up Bromley initiative:


Members were advised that Start Up Bromley had been developed over the last year, and now had around 250 members. Business lounge facilities were available at Bromley Central Library, Orpington Library and Biggin Hill Library and there was an ongoing programme of workshops, events and walk-in consultations.


The Start Up Bromley Business Week had taken place between Monday 14th March - Saturday 19th March 2022, during which a number of business-related events were held to promote support to businesses primarily within the borough, as well as aspiring entrepreneurs. These had included workshops on e-commerce, intellectual property and legal and compliance issues, and a Business Pitch Competition had also been held with the winner receiving a cash prize. On the 19th March 2022, a Spring Marketplace had been held at Contingent Works allowing 20 owners to display their businesses and network with others.


Feedback from members of Start Up Bromley highlighted that they benefitted from the provision of appropriate spaces to work; training; coaching sessions; and networking, which could allow new schemes to develop. Members were advised that the ARG funding was coming to an end, however GLL had agreed to fund Start Up Bromley for another year.


Lee Thomas – Fairlight Group said that through running businesses centres, he was aware that there was good encouragement for small businesses, however as they grew, they often left the borough. Christopher Evans – Community Links Bromley, advised that external delegated authority had been given to distribute £235k of lottery funding. This had been oversubscribed with £1m worth of bids having been received. A programme of support would be provided to both successful, and unsuccessful, bidders and it was considered that there may be some synergy with the Start Up Bromley offer. Mr Thomas and Mr Evans said they would like to discuss this further with Mr Stone following the meeting.


Chandra Sharma – Federation of Small Businesses congratulated Mr Stone for the work undertaken to provide businesses with support through the Start Up Bromley scheme. There was a need to undertake further work in relation to broadband, and adjustment of the opening times, but there had been some great showcase events. The Chairman highlighted that every business started as a small business – it was important to support them as they were the future.



o  What is your organisation/business doing to work towards the green economy?

o  What are your current or planned projects locally where you think we could work together?

o  What are the challenges associated with STEM skills and recruitment?

o  How can we promote STEM clusters in the borough?



The Chairman noted that the Council was making good progress towards its target of being carbon neutral by 2029.


Lee Thomas – Fairlight Group, advised that if funders required ESG targets to be met, this would be something that developers would need to address. Organisations would need to work towards this – larger businesses would have to abide by regulations and be an exemplar, and then SMEs would generally follow suit.


Katy Woolcott – London Biggin Hill Airport, informed the Partnership that they had a corporate sustainability and environmental programme in place. This looked at elements such as employee travel plans; expectations of suppliers; CO2 emissions; and performance certificate categories of buildings. Councillor Gray noted that London Biggin Hill Airport had hosted business brunches, which brought local businesses together discuss ideas on delivering innovation, green initiatives and enhanced connectivity. This was an important agenda, which the airport was taking seriously.


Michael Humphries – Handelsbanken, said that discussions regarding sustainability and the environment took place at every meeting. Banks had a role to play in looking at their own suppliers and how staff travelled to work – and they also spoke with customers about what they were doing, as well as their plans and aspirations. The requirements for EPCs were changing all the time and customers were looking at the quality of buildings and could look to offload weaker stock. Mike Lewis – Michael Rogers LLP, said it was proposed that by 2027, buildings would need an EPC minimum ‘C’ rating to transact any business, and by 2030 the minimum rating would be ‘B’. There were concerns that existing stock would be rated as ‘E’ and if it was not possible to get them to a rating of ‘C’, whole swathes of office space may be unlettable and untransactable. Mr Lewis highlighted that EPCs were produced by trained assessors and not building surveyors, and this needed to become far more stringent.


In response to a question from the Chairman, the LBB Head of Planning Policy and Strategy said that through London Plan policy, a certain level of carbon reduction was received, with the rest offset through a payment. The payment received by Bromley went into an affordable energy pot which could be used to pay for things such as solar panels and LED lighting. There was an ambition to deliver carbon neutrality on sites, but they were not yet at this stage.


Chandra Sharma – FSB, advised that resources and information was available via the FSB Sustainability Hub: and the Zero Carbon Business website:


Councillor Gray advised that she had been appointed as STEM ambassador for London Biggin Hill Airport and would be leading on the ‘Unite to Inspire’ initiative. This aimed to inspire younger people into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industries. A ‘Futures Week’ had been held in February 2022, which was designed to inspire and encourage young people interested in pursuing a career in the aviation industry and had provided an opportunity for 14 young  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.



Members of the partnership are requested to notify the clerk of any items to be

discussed at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.


The Chairman informed Members of the Partnership that he would not be standing for re-election and therefore this would be his last meeting. On behalf of the Partnership, Councillor Hannah Gray thanked the Chairman for all the work he had undertaken over a number of years.



4.00pm, Tuesday 19th July 2022

4.00pm, Tuesday 1st November 2022

4.00pm, Tuesday 31st January 2023

4.00pm, Tuesday 18th April 2023


4.00pm, Tuesday 19th July 2022

4.00pm, Tuesday 1st November 2022

4.00pm, Tuesday 31st January 2023

4.00pm, Tuesday 18th April 2023

APPENDIX A pdf icon PDF 960 KB