Committee considered a report which provided the 2019/20 Growth Indicator outturns.
A summary attached to the report contained an update on the Growth Strategy for the period 2015–2020, together with the outturns for performance indicators for 2019-20, which supported the delivery of the Growth Strategy.
In 2014 the Council committed to a Strategy to focus on unlocking the potential to deliver growth for the District. Through the Growth Strategy and the Corporate Plan (at that time) 2015-2019, the Council set out its ambition to create a sustainable high performing economy. The Council established 3 strategic priorities to unlock our growth potential;
1. Supporting Enterprise: maintaining and growing the business base,
2. Enabling Housing Growth: increasing the supply, quality and range of housing to meet the needs of a growing population and support economic growth,
3. Unlocking Development Potential: unlocking the capacity of major employment sites.
Three performance indicators were at ‘exception’ with a full explanation provided within the appendix. Two performance indicators were awaiting data - information had been delayed due to Covid 19.
The Council had approved a new Council Ambition and developed a performance framework to deliver that ambition over the period 2020-2024. One of the aims to support the Ambition was our economy – by driving growth, promoting the District and being business and visitor friendly. Delivering a new Business Growth Strategy by March 2021 was one of the targets to support this aim. Once the new strategy was approved this report would be reviewed as required.
A Member queried what the process for defining the next Growth Strategy would be and as it was based on ambition, would it be measured in the same way with different targets being broken down. Further, the graph showed an increase in unemployment so would a bigger focus be put on ECO.01 and would this include a strategy to bring in more jobs to the District, potentially utilising a lot of the empty space at Pleasley Vale. The Assistant Director of Development advised Committee that work on the Growth Strategy was ongoing and a priority. An economy recovery plan was drawn up in the early stages of lockdown and this was developing into a Business and Growth Strategy. Jobs were a huge objective in the Strategy and a whole range of work was being carried out, for example, with the Council’s Partnership Team regarding the ‘Kickstart’ scheme and the Institute of Technology and also getting employment sites up and running etc. Work was also being undertaking with the Portfolio Holder for Economic Development on the service plan objectives and targets.
A Member referred to the figures for business rates growth and arrears in the report and queried if this data was broken down by ward. The Information, Engagement & Performance Manager would enquire and inform Members if this were available.
A Member queried how the new Planning Indicators in the Growth Strategy would match up to the proposals in the Government’s new White Paper on Planning. The Assistant Director of Development advised that the White Paper was a consultation document and it was unsure what the new Planning performance targets would be, so the Council’s current targets would remain relevant for the foreseeable future. However, this would change as the white paper progressed into law. There could also be significant changes to how the Planning Service was delivered. The main concern for the Council was the prospect of having to re draft the Local Plan if the White Paper went through as drafted as this could cost the Council between £600k and £1.5m. A significant amount of work was currently being undertaken by Planning officers in response to the White Paper. An update would be given to Members at an informal meeting after the Council meeting on 16th September 2020.
Queries in relation to Dragonfly and expansion of business units had been raised at the Scrutiny pre meeting by the Chair and Vice Chair and responses to those queries had been circulated to Members as follows;
Is there any further detail in relation to Dragonfly?
Meadow Close, South Normanton – 1 remaining plot and if remained unsold would be utilised for a sales suite for Park Lane until it sold.
Park Lane, Pinxton – this site was ready and Board approval was awaited (4th September) to deliver a further 10 units.
Mill Lane, Bolsover (Former Depot) - a procurement exercise was being undertaken to demolish the old depot. Architects had been working on plans across both Oxcroft Lane and Mill Lane but these would now be reviewed to ensure the single site mix was right (Oxcroft Lane, Bolsover would now not be progressing following discussions with Old Bolsover Town Council).
Rood Lane, Clowne - this had been suspended for further discussions regarding the use of the land.
Is there any detail on whether officers are looking to increase supply of larger units, where businesses are looking to expand?
Shirebrook was the main focus but we’re also looking at land across the District, for the larger units, the most favoured sites are those with easy access to the Motorway.
The Assistant Director of Development advised that acquiring land was competitive. However, in addition to the above, talking to the different land owners regarding delivery of the former Coalite site, Markham Vale and Whitwell Colliery was ongoing to see if there were any partnership opportunities to bring forward developments. Also looking for incubator units for smaller businesses. Units at Pleasley Vale could be promoted and used but it had no modern buildings.
The Property Services Manager added that the Council was also looking for land for domestic properties as well as commercial and requested that if any Members knew of anyone that owned land in the District who would be willing to engage with the Council to let him know.
Moved by Councillor Tom Munro and seconded by Councillor Jenny Wilson
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
The Portfolio Holders for Economic Development, Housing, Partnerships & Leisure, the Information, Engagement & Performance Manager and the Property Services Manager left the meeting.