Agenda item

Business Growth Strategy - Monitoring Update (Interim) 2022/23


The Business Growth Manager provided a verbal update to Members on current progress against the Business Growth Strategy.


Key points of discussion included:


·         Crematorium Development – planning permission had been granted with specific conditions attached.  The detailed designs were being developed to go out to pricing.  The aim was to complete the build via Dragonfly following the changes to the company as this would give the Council more control over the development.  It was hoped to achieve BREEAM status for the building which would be crucial for long-term sustainability of the building.  If the next stages went to plan, it was hoped to be on site by June/July 2023.


A Member queried whether the use of Dragonfly as contractor was under full scrutiny and if an open book process was being used.  The Business Growth Manager explained that using this approach would give the Council far more control over costs and quality than if a wider procurement process was used.  All procurement standards would be met and the scheme would comply with the Construction Playbook.


  • Garage Sites – the review of garage sites was complete and all sites identified for disposal had been sold.  Sites identified as no longer suitable for use due to condition or not viable as a site, had been demolished to make way for redevelopment as green/open space.  A small number of viable sites remained in use.  The programme had brought in approximately £2m capital to the HRA.


  • Pleasley Vale – a dedicated officer was now in post on a temporary contract for three years.  Options for development work were being drawn up and there would be consultation with existing tenants in the New Year.


  • Portland Drive – a flood risk assessment was due to be completed as a result of the culvert on the site.  The current proposal was to erect 14 units with parking based on the size of the site and planning permission was due to be considered before Christmas.


  • Business support/engagement – a programme would hopefully be delivered as a result of UKSPF monies which had just been approved by the government.  The programme would involve business grants, tourism support, a net zero support programme and development of Oxcroft House.  The UKSPF monies had been used as match-funding to support the Levelling Up bid to redevelop Oxcroft House in to a cultural/creative hub.  The delivery plans for the UKSPF monies had finally been approved on 5th December 2022.


  • Oxcroft House – the Council had been approached with a potential letting option for the site.  While this was unexpected, work was progressing with the prospective tenant to secure a lease.  This would not impact the ability to create a cultural/creative hub through the Levelling Up monies as alternative sites had been identified.  If the lease option did not progress, then the hub would be based at Oxcroft House as planned.
  • Horizon 29 – a non-disclosure agreement was currently in place for one of the proposed tenants.  One confirmed tenant was Wollesley Group, which would generate at least 20 new jobs related to warehouse distribution.


  • Business Engagement Strategy – officers were currently working on a strategy to help businesses move forward within the District.  Support had been received from the LGA (£14k) and Grant Thornton were also providing support as part of its development.  The aim was to bring the Strategy to a future meeting of the Committee.


A Member queried if there was a known timetable in relation to the Levelling Up Fund and when an outcome would be received.  The Business Growth Manager advised that the current guidance was ‘before Christmas’.  Officers were also considering proposals that could go forward for round 3 of funding once this was confirmed.


Moved by Councillor Derek Adams and seconded by Councillor Tracey Cannon.

RESOLVED that the verbal report be noted.


(Assistant Director of Development & Planning/ Business Growth Manager)