Agenda and draft minutes

Contact: Jo Partridge  020 8461 7694

No. Item




RESOLVED that Katy Woolcott, London Biggin Hill Airport be appointed Vice-Chairman for the 2020/21 municipal year.





Apologies had been received from Councillor Vanessa Allen, Carol Arnfield – LBB Head of Service for Early Years, School Standards and Adult Education, Zoe Carr – Beckenham Together BID Company and Penge SE20 BID Company, Dave Freeborn – Proctors, Chris Glover – Churchill Theatre Bromley, David Marcelline – Stiles Harold Williams Partnership LLP and Lee Thomas – Fairlight Group.




RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 14th January 2020 be agreed.





Members considered the Terms of Reference and membership of the Bromley Economic Partnership.


Members were advised that some minor amendments had been made to the Terms of Reference, mainly relating to the names of organisations and their representatives.


RESOLVED that the revised Terms of Reference for the Bromley Economic Partnership be agreed.




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



-  Bromley Town Centre public realm scheme

-  Orpington development

-  Digital infrastructure

-  Economic Development Plan

-  Bromley and Orpington SPDs


Robert Buckley, LBB Head of Renewal provided an update on Town Centre renewal across the Borough.


With regards to Bromley Town Centre, architects had now been appointed to design a small public realm scheme, to include features such as a performance area, covered seating area, water fountain and sculpture. The aim of the scheme was to make the town centre a destination that residents were encouraged to come in to, and interact with the new features. The designs were currently being drawn up and further information would be circulated relating to the online public consultation, which would start from 25th November 2020.


A Member noted that it was positive to hear that investment was being made into the infrastructure of the town centre, and enquired as to how the area would look and feel like when it was not being used, and if there was a programme of events for its use. The LBB Head of Renewal said that the intention was for the space to be used as flexibly as possible, and the designs to be provided for public consultation would show the potential for a tiered seating area which could still be used even when no events were taking place. With reference to what the performance area would be used for, Members were advised that this would be an event driven space. The Council would engage with Your Bromley BID Company to create a series of events to attract people into the town centre. Outside this, it was a space that could be used by the community. The Chairman noted that the stage would effectively be the use of a part of the existing pavement.


In Orpington, work was being undertaken on the proposed redevelopment of The Walnuts Shopping Centre, for which some public consultation had already taken place. The developers, Areli Real Estate, were intending to submit a planning application in spring 2021, and included in the plans was the provision of housing; a new leisure centre; day centre; and public realm improvements – plus retail, work space and hospitality offers on the ground floor.


The team were also working on a Digital Infrastructure Strategy, which was centred around place-based infrastructure such as broadband cabling and the provision for wireless connections. A Memorandum of Understanding was being established with BT Openreach, who were the main provider of fibreoptic cables to businesses within the Borough – the aim was for full fibreoptic broadband to be provided to 85% of the Borough by 2023. Similar work was also being undertaken in relation to 4G and 5G networks.


An Economic Development Plan was being produced with the LBB Planning Policy team and the Borough’s Small Business Champion, Councillor Yvonne Bear. This was to help support the economic wellbeing of the Borough, which would include looking at training; tackling unemployment; and enhancing business networks.


Members were advised that Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) would be produced for Bromley and Orpington. These documents supported existing planning policy, but provided more guidance for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5a




Ben Johnson, LBB Head of Planning Policy and Strategy provided an update in relation to Planning Policy.


It was highlighted at the meeting of the Bromley Economic Partnership in January 2020, that information relating to the London Plan was still awaited. The LBB Head of Planning Policy and Strategy advised Members that this was still the case – it remained a Draft London Plan and there was currently no indication as to when it would be adopted. Several policies would be affected by this, including how planning applications in the Borough were determined. The situation would be monitored, and further updates would be provided once it was adopted.


Some substantial changes had been made at a national level, including significant changes to planning use classes. Several use classes, which categorised developments such as shops and financial institutions, had now been grouped into one use category. This allowed more flexibility for a change in use for different shop units across all areas and undercut some of the policies included in the Local Plan, which had been adopted the previous year. There had also been a number of new permitted development rights introduced nationally – allowing the building of up to an additional two storeys to create more homes in a building, and the demolition of purpose-built offices to be rebuilt for residential use. It was noted that this could affected the ability to balance commercial versus residential use in town centres and economic areas.


Last week, the Government concluded a consultation on some significant planning system reforms. The White Paper proposals would fundamentally change the current system, moving to a zoning-based system, which was seen on the Continent and in the United States. This would see every inch of the Borough mapped into particular zones, which would dictate what could be developed in that area. Going forward, different elements of the proposals would be consulted on individually, but the Government envisaged that they would be in place by 2024. The LBB Head of Planning Policy and Strategy advised Members that detailed reports on these changes had recently been taken to the Council’s Development Control Committee, links to which were provided following the meeting:


Development Control Committee report, 14th July 2020, Upwards Extension Permitted Development Rights -




Development Control Committee report, 24th September 2020, ‘PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE’ CONSULTATION -


A Member noted that due to current circumstances, large numbers of people were now working from home, and asked if this had been factored into the development of upcoming policies. The LBB Head of Planning Policy and Strategy advised that this was at the “forefront of their minds”. The LBB Head of Renewal had mentioned the SPDs earlier in the meeting, and one of the original rationales behind these being developed was to allow for more flexibility in town centres. However,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5b



-  Business Support Task Force

-  Reopening the High Streets


Lorraine McQuillan, LBB Town Centres and BID Development Manager provided an update relating to Business Support.


A Business Support Taskforce had been initiated in April 2020, as a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This provided a partnership and business-led approach to supporting businesses through the immediate crisis, as well as the recovery of the local economy. Members of the taskforce included Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the South East London Chamber of Commerce (SELCC), London South East Colleges (LSEC) and Councillor Yvonne Bear in her role as Small Business Champion. The group had been instrumental in guiding the Council’s response to the pandemic – including setting up a Business Support helpline; establishing a mailbox to provide assistance to businesses; increased frequency of the Council’s business e-bulletin; and the website updated to create an online business hub. Members of the taskforce had also been involved in the project to reopen the High Streets.


The Business Support Taskforce was currently developing a recovery and resilience plan to provide support to business over the short, medium and long term. The group would be meeting the following day, and would be discussing their involvement in the new lockdown measures, which would be implemented from Thursday 5th November 2020.


Councillor Yvonne Bear, Small Business Champion, advised Members that the group would be looking at the new financial support to be offered to businesses during the new period of lockdown. Further specific details were awaited, but as it was anticipated that there would be another round of grants, preparations were already being made to administer these and provide support to businesses as soon as possible.


The LBB Town Centres and BID Development Manager informed Members that a number of measures had been implemented in the Borough’s town centres to encourage social distancing. These included floor stickers, signage and barriers to widen the pavements, which were continually being reviewed and monitored. An application had been made to the ‘Reopening High Streets Safely Fund’ to finance these measures, plus further measures such as providing business advice and replacing the red and white barriers with planters. In response to a question, the LBB Town Centres and BID Development Manager said that from this fund, the Government had allocated up to £295k which Councils could apply for. This funding was to be used to implement measures allowing people to shop safely in town centres.


A Member enquired if any statistics or information had been published regarding the grants that had been distributed. The LBB Town Centres and BID Development Manager emphasised that the final figures of the original business grant scheme were still being reconciled, but approximately £48m had been paid to 3,300 businesses in the Borough. There had also been a discretionary grant scheme, for which £2.275m had been distributed to 178 businesses. A news release relating to this had been published on the Council’s website.

A Member noted that feedback received in relation to the discretionary grant scheme was that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5c



On this occasion, please could partners notify the clerk by emailing if you wish to speak about something relevant to the group or a joint working opportunity.


Ms Caroline Tatchell, Splash Damage informed Members that staff had been substantially working from home over the past few months. Very recently, ten members of staff has returned to the office, along with the IT and Facilities teams – however due to the new lockdown measures, they would revert back to working from home again. Business overall was good, and it was noted that online gaming companies had been performing well throughout the pandemic.


Mr Greg Davies, BNI South East London advised that in relation to the local business community, they had around 200 members from across the Borough. There was a lot of insecurity following the recent announcement of a second lockdown, however they were seeing businesses grow and actively look for new staff. It was noted that there was a Government-backed scheme to get people aged 16 to 24 years, and on Universal Credit, into workplaces, which enabled them to add support and experience to their CV’s. A number of businesses were thriving, due to them benefitting from residents spending their money locally.


Ms Helen McIntosh, South East London Chamber of Commerce noted that the Chamber had been extremely busy since the first period of lockdown, and a number of breakfast meetings had been held – including one which had involved the Chairman, Councillor Peter Morgan, as guest speaker. For many years, the Chamber had been affiliated to the London Chamber of Commerce, and they were continuing to work with them closely. The Chamber community in London, and across the country, had really been strengthened. Ms McIntosh informed Members that as well as being the Chair of the South East London Chamber of Commerce, she had recently been appointed as Chair for the London Chamber of Commerce.


Mr John Coupland, South East London Business Network (SELBN) informed Members that the network did not charge any membership or joining fees. This was beneficial for members, but posed challenges in terms of justifying the work undertaken. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, SELBN had been one of the first networks to announce that face to face events would cease. In the spring an online proposition for sponsors was launched, however over the last few months he had been working on a voluntary basis to support the network. The latest campaign that the network was supporting was Small Business Saturday, for which an announcement had been made the previous day regarding a virtual bus tour, one of several events that would taking place. Members were asked to get involved, by creating tweets and social media posts regarding the Small Business Saturday events.


Ms Katy Woolcott, London Biggin Hill Airport (LBHA) said it had been a tough and challenging time for the aviation industry. A decision had been taken early on during the pandemic that LBHA would remain open. During the first month, large losses had been made, however during the subsequent month they slowly worked towards breaking even, and recorded a profit in the third month. It was noted that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.




Members of the Partnership considered the forward rolling work programme for the Bromley Economic Partnership for 2020/21. Members were asked to send any suggestions for agenda items to the clerk.




No other business was brought to the meeting.



4.00pm, Tuesday 12th January 2021

4.00pm, Tuesday 20th April 2021



4.00pm, Tuesday 12th January 2021

4.00pm, Tuesday 20th April 2021


Original Text: