Venue: Bromley Civic Centre
Contact: Jo Partridge 020 8461 7694
WELCOME AND APOLOGIES
Apologies for absence were received from Zoe Carr – Beckenham Together BID Company & Penge SE20 BID Company, Russell Clarke – Sundridge Investments Limited, Mark Haynes – The Glades, Lesley Holland – Bromley Education Business Partnership, Mike Lewis – Michael Rogers LLP, Helen McIntosh FCIPR – South East London Chamber of Commerce and Chris Travers – Orpington 1st BID Company.
Apologies for absence were also received from Louise Wolsey – London South East Colleges, and Andrew Cox attended as substitute.
Apologies for lateness were received from Bruce Walker – Lansdown Asset Management.
The Chairman welcomed Liz Timms, Treval Engineering Ltd, to the meeting and proposed that she join the membership of the Partnership as a representative of the engineering sector. Following a brief discussion, Members of the Bromley Economic Partnership agreed with this proposal.
RESOLVED that Liz Timms join the Bromley Economic Partnership as a representative of the engineering sector.
QUESTIONS FROM COUNCILLORS AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC ATTENDING THE MEETING
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 25th January 2023.
No questions had been received.
The Chairman noted that there were no matters outstanding.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 1st November 2022 be agreed.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT - UPDATE
o Night-Time Enterprise Zone (NTEZ) and Strategy
o High Streets For All (HSFA)
o Levelling Up Fund (LUF)
The Partnership received an update regarding the Night-Time Enterprise Zone (NTEZ) and Strategy, High Streets for All (HSfA) and Levelling Up Fund (LUF).
Hal Khanom, LBB Head of Economic Development informed members of the Partnership that the Local Authority had been unsuccessful in its Levelling Up Fund bid for the proposed work in Crystal Palace Park. This was disappointing, but it was felt to have been a strong application and they would give consideration to applying for the next round of funding.
Lorraine McQuillan, LBB Place Shaping and Local Economy Manager advised that Bromley town centre had been awarded two pots of money. The first was part of the HSfA programme, and would be used to deliver youth markets during March and April 2023. The aim was to attract young people into the High Street and engage with them in a positive way. The second pot related to Bromley town centre becoming a NTEZ. Funding had been awarded to three London boroughs to boost activity in their High Streets after 6.00pm, and events and projects would be delivered throughout the year. The LBB Place Shaping and Local Economy Manager highlighted that these funding pots would provide a great opportunity to showcase the town centre to the rest of the borough, as well as the rest of London.
Members of the Partnership were advised that although the NTEZ funding was specifically for Bromley town centre, there was also a requirement to produce a night-time strategy for the borough. This year the work in the town centre had involved trialling project and events with a view for them to also occur in other parts of the borough. Research and engagement to help underpin the strategy was also being undertaken and the LBB Place Shaping and Local Economy Manager introduced Matthew Hopkinson, Managing Director – Didobi and Satu Streatfield, Publica, who were leading on this work.
Matthew Hopkinson, Managing Director – Didobi informed members that the company worked with the GLA to create evidence bases for night-time economies. Didobi focussed on the quantitative and qualitative research while Publica looked at urban realm improvements and engagement. There were three core parts:
- Engagement – with businesses, night-time workers, residents and visitors. It was key for them to understand what people felt was needed, and what they would support, in order to gain an idea of the social, economic and environmental impact. This would involve analysing data related to things such as footfall, transport and crime.
- Creating a model for economic uplift – changing opening hours could create more jobs and employment, and result in more money being brought into the local economy, but the associated costs also needed to be considered.
- Production of a Toolkit – to support local businesses, the Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and the Council.
Satu Streatfield, Publica informed members that they were looking at improvements to the public realm to help support the night-time economy. There were already some amazing ... view the full minutes text for item 28.
LOCAL INDUSTRIAL-BASED BUSINESS - CASE STUDY
o Opportunities and challenges experienced by the business within the Cray Valley
The Chairman invited Liz Timms, Director – Treval Engineering Ltd (“Director”) to the meeting to provide an overview of the company.
Members of the Partnership were advised that Treval Engineering Ltd was a structural steel fabricator, working in the construction industry and energy sector across the UK and Channel Islands. Established in 1968, Treval Engineering Ltd was a third-generation family business – the site they work from, a former riding school near the boating pond on Cray Avenue, had been in the family since the 1940’s.
In terms of the challenges faced by businesses in the manufacturing and construction industries, it was considered that increased costs, for utilities, consumables and materials, were having a huge impact. Steel prices had increased 120% within three months and had increased more than 200% over an 18-month period. Cost basis was particularly difficult and as a small business this had a big impact. There was also a potential slowdown of the economy looming – they were seeing a slowdown on the residential side of the market, but the main contractor business was currently still strong.
Another potential challenge was the ULEZ expansion – as the business was located on the boundary they had had to update their fleet of vehicles, which had a huge financial impact and took away from any other forms of investment. This was a major concern for staff – they were young people, with young families, who had moved out of the borough. They could not afford to change or upgrade their cars, or pay the proposed ULEZ charge. This created a challenge in terms of staff retention. Treval Engineering Ltd had considered relocating their premises to a site they owned in Tunbridge Wells, but at the moment they did not want to move out of the borough.
The Director said that the company had weathered the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic well. Steel prices were starting to reduce, and it was hoped that this would make things more competitive, and the market would start to pick up. The company had always tried to look at apprenticeships and other avenues for training. This had been difficult, as the work was quite specialist – however their first welding apprentice was due to graduate at the end of March, which was a positive step. It was good to see that colleges were taking on more industry-focussed apprenticeships. The Director said the company felt extremely lucky – they had a young workforce, who were eager to learn and a joy to work with.
In response to questions from the Chairman, the Director said that the company had 18 full time employees, but they also employed subcontractors for various jobs. Their customer base was national, and they worked with oil terminals all over the country and the Channel Islands. The company used to feel that it was connected to other local manufacturers, and had attended the Cray Valley Partnership, where local businesses met every few months. However lots of these businesses had now gone, ... view the full minutes text for item 29.
o Presentation on LSEC’s green projects update
Andrew Cox, Group Director of Strategic Growth and Partnerships – London South East Colleges (“Group Director”) provided an overview of the Local London Green and Digital Strategic Projects.
The Group Director informed members that LSEC were working on the Green Project in partnership with Local London and its associated boroughs. Two further projects had been secured:
- GLA funded: Local London Green and Digital Mayoral Academy (£237k)
A sub-regional project which would collaborate across 11 further education providers, 9 London boroughs and 30+ employers in the Local London region to ensure the GLA had a central delivery mechanism to improve its Green and Digital offer.
- DfE funded: Local London Green Academies Partnership (£2.46m)
A sub-regional project which aimed to increase inward investment across the Local London region. Through an intensive capital and revenue investment model would see 13 further education providers collaborate to improve the regions Green skills offer.
These strategic projects were intrinsically linked with the Local Skills Improvement Plans, which were implemented under the Skills & Post-16 Education Act 2022. This was designed to put employers and local skills needs at the centre of post-16 education and colleges had a responsibility to make training and skills development more responsive to the needs of the local labour market. The Local London & Green Skills Academy and Local London Green Academies Partnership were centred around designing courses aligned to meet current and future skills needs across the Green and Digital sectors.
The Group Director advised that, over the two projects, partnership engagement included 3 Further Education (FE) provider; over 30 employers supporting were the projects; 11 Local Authorities; and 5 Chambers of Commerce. To develop this further, a Green & Digital Advisory Board had been established. The membership included key colleges and training providers to ensure the provision and initial foundations were right, and this would later develop into an Employment Board.
In terms of the progress made to date, this included:
- Commissioning industry consultants to review each Colleges estate, curriculum and staffing teams;
- Work had begun on building and fitting out 8 green laboratories across Local London, focusing on retrofitting, heat pumps, EV and solar PV (ready for September 2023);
- In the process of scheduling executive/SMT training for College leaders across the region;
- Begun the development of new curriculums to support the incoming green skills crisis;
- Cross working across a variety of sub regional boards to ensure consistent knowledge exchange (Retro-fit London, Green New Deal, Local London Employment and Skills Board);
- Green and Digital training delivered to over 1,000 learners;
- Exploration of a Green and Digital Metaverse to improve accessibility to Green and Digital training; and,
- Supporting a variety of events to improve employer engagement.
A visiting Member considered that the building and fitting out of 8 green laboratories seemed to be ambitious with the grant awarded. The Group Director said that there were 8 local green laboratories located between Enfield and Bromley, and there were three different investment levels – four colleges ... view the full minutes text for item 30.
UKSPF BUSINESS SUPPORT
o Borough Allocation Funding Proposals
o UKSPF Open Call
The LBB Head of Economic Development informed members of the Partnership that the UKSPF had replaced the EU structural funds. Each borough had received an allocation and there were strict rules in terms of what the money could be spend on. In terms of the business support element, £400k would be received over three years and would be used to build on the work undertaken as part of the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). This included ‘Start Up Bromley’, providing advice and space for a further two-year period and ‘Bromley Business Hub’ being reinstated to the level initially envisaged.
They would also be gathering evidence and data to support business aims. Members of the Partnership often raised issues about the lack of supply and a robust employment land and space study would be undertaken. This had now gone out to tender and the successful company would speak with members of the Partnership as stakeholders. This work would go beyond the numbers-based supply and demand study and would look at the context of typology as well as land.
Other elements of the work would include providing a business advice programme, which would also go out tender, and could still be shaped. They would also be building on their understanding of economic data such as footfall, spend and vacancies.
The LBB Head of Economic Development advised that the GLA had launched an open call for 8 programmes across London, which had a £30m pot of funding allocated. The programmes were related to:
- Supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to bridge the digital divide;
- Growing the local, social economy;
- Property advice service for SMEs;
- Low carbon;
- Support for fast-growing diverse founders; and,
- Investment-readiness support for diverse founders/SMEs.
The applications were open for subregional partnerships and businesses to apply, however this work would need to be scaled. They were working closely with members of the Local London partnership to look at the digital divide and growing local social economy, as well as considering what they could do on a borough level. The LBB Head of Economic Development said that an update would be provided at a future meeting of the Partnership.
Lee Thomas, Fairlight Group advised that businesses in other areas were receiving 20-50% towards green upgrades to their buildings. It was considered that the team would need to push further to take their fair allocation of the funding pot from central government. The LBB Head of Economic Development said that there were four staff members in the Economic Development Team, and they were building on working smartly and in partnership. For example, the digital divide programme would give £2,500 to SMEs to connect to fast fibre broadband – Bromley could be part of this as they had joined Local London. This provided access and maximised the impact of the work undertaken.
Christopher Evans, Community Links Bromley said he welcome the proposed work around the digital divide. In response to a question, the ... view the full minutes text for item 31.
o Key updates from Partners
Steve Lipscombe – Ronin Marketing advised that he ran a design and marketing company, and they were cautiously optimistic. Before Christmas there had been an element of fatigue – his company had spent some time focussing on its own design and marketing, which was starting to bring results.
Christopher Evans – Community Links Bromley (CLB) informed members that a partnership recruitment fair had recently been held. It had been attended by a range of health providers and visited by between 250-300 people. A further event was taking place at LSEC on 10th February 2023, which would focus on apprenticeships and volunteering. CLB had also been supporting the night-time economy bid and, as part of the Mottingham Big Local, the refurbished local church would be reopened the following day.
The Vice-Chairman – London Biggin Hill Airport (LBHA) informed members of the Partnership that Bombardier were now operating in their new facility. This had left a gap in the tenants, and this space had been filled by a new company and had created a new handling facility on the airport. A new development for an existing tenant, Castle Air, who serviced and chartered helicopters, was underway as their business had grown, and Oriens Aviation had built a new facility of more than 20,000 sq. ft which was now operational. The Airport had been working on its spatial plan and looking at their growth strategy over the next decade. LBHA had recently opened its training facility and would be hosting a Future Week, commencing on 13th February, and a Careers Day on 16th February. The practical completion of the 56-bed hotel facility and restaurant was expected to be reached on 13th February.
A visiting Member advised members of the Partnership that the LBHA CEO chaired a Leaders Group which provided an opportunity to identify needs and give feedback. Futures Week had been a successful programme, which would continue to be held twice a year, and had provided three new apprenticeships at Bombardier. There had also been demand for work experience at the Airport, and 15 young people would spend a week experiencing the different trades at the airport. It was noted that the LOCATE business brunch would also be returning.
Gary Hillman – N. Hillman & Sons said that the recent planning application for the Royal Bell Hotel had been refused. They were looking to add another two rooms, from 56 to 58, in the existing footprint and conversations were continuing with the Technical Support Officer.
Bruce Walker – Lansdown Asset Management advised that they had two schemes that were ongoing in the borough. One of these schemes was for 85 units in Orpington, which was mostly social housing and shared ownership units. In response to questions from the Chairman, Mr Walker said that sale prices were holding up and there was a great deal of demand, but issues related to planning were highlighted. Building costs had jumped significantly but were now levelling off and had reduced in some areas ... view the full minutes text for item 32.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
o Request for future agenda items
Members of the Partnership suggested the following items of interest for subsequent meetings:
- Local Plan
- Continued conversations regarding the UKSPF
- ULEZ expansion
The Chairman advised members of the Partnership that the consultation on the Bromley Supplementary Development Plan (SPD) would be closing in the coming days.
RESOLVED that the update be noted.
DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS
4.00pm, Tuesday 18th April 2023
4.00pm, Tuesday 18th April 2023