Contact: Lizzie Rich 01344 352253
Thames Valley LEP: presentation by Tim Smith, Chief Executive
Anneken Priesack presented on behalf of Tim Smith, Chief Executive of the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP.
The LEP was the strategic body for economic development in the Thames Valley, and was funded by central government as well as some European Union funding.
Productivity within the Thames Valley was the key focus for the Partnership for the upcoming Berkshire Local Industrial Strategy (BLIS).
The LEP was developing the Berkshire Local Industrial Strategy (BLIS) to replace the Strategic Economic Plan. Every LEP in the country is required to develop a Local Industrial Strategy, and the Thames Valley LEP had employed a consultancy, SQW, to support with the BLIS.. The BLIS would be supported by the Spatial Economic Narrative, which in turn was supported by local delivery plans and Local Authority economic strategies. The BLIS needed to be adopted at full Council in each Local Authority area.
LEP boundaries covered the country, and the geographies of each area were defined by central government.
The LEP had published an interactive Impact Report 2017-18 on their website at the following link http://www.thamesvalleyberkshire.co.uk/2018-impact-report
The LEP was due to publish BLIS by 2019. It was clarified that ‘industrial’ referred to the economy rather than just industry.
It was noted that although the number of businesses registering per year had plateaued in Bracknell Forest, the economy in Berkshire is thriving. However the LEP in partnership with the businesses and the six LA’s needs to work together in order to maintain and improve growth in the future.
In response to questions, the following points were noted:
· Government recently performed a LEP review which found the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP to be among the top five LEP’s of the country
· Bracknell Forest Council had benefitted from LEP financial support, and performance targets had been succeeded.
· LEPs across the country took different forms as there was no stipulation of requirement.
· It was recognised that there was a lot of cross-boundary working in areas of the country which shared LEPs.
· The ESDP queried how the GBA figure was calculated for the LEP.
Partners thanked Anneken for covering this update.
The ESDP received and noted the minutes of its previous meeting held on 26 September 2018.
Arising from updates, the following points were noted:
· Anneken agreed to follow up with Harry Pickering to make his presentation available for partners’ information.
· Partners noted that The Lexicon was still struggling to recruit staff, particularly in catering and hospitality.
· Anneken, Bob and Andrew were due to meet to discuss the Partnership’s structure and membership going forward.
· Bob Collis and Peter Smith were due to meet discuss a possible ESDP/Bracknell Forest Chamber of Commerce joint event.
· Nancy Lalor had agreed to chair the Employment and Skills sub-group. The refreshed sub-group had held their first meeting to assess their Terms of Reference and discuss the group’s priorities.
· Bob Collis updated the Partnership on the Photography Competition being held in conjunction with the Council’s Parks and Countryside photo competition. The competition had closed on 31 October, and had received 70 entries form 19 photographers. Business themed photos were included in the entries. Additional sponsorship had been offered by Duncan Yeardley. Photos would be used for the marketing of the ESDP.
ESDP Autumn Event: Making the Move
Bob Collis reminded partners about the ESDP Autumn Event which was to be held the next day, on 21 November 2018 at Lightbox.
Good attendance was expected, and speakers would include Andy Smith of Waitrose and David English of Panasonic to discuss Bracknell as a business location, and moving office spaces.
The event was being sponsored by Pegasus and Fantoo, and it was hoped to bring together businesses with property agents.
· Employment and Skills
The subgroup had restructured their work programmes, and were in the process of reassessing and simplifying their workstream.
The subgroup would be looking at how to influence business travel patterns, and the influence of working from home. It was hoped that case studies could be gathered for this work.
Electric vehicle charging had also been raised as a topic. While the Local Authority could not influence demand of vehicles by providing electric charging points, businesses were better placed to encourage this provision. The BID area companies might also be able to influence this matter.
It had also been suggested that the sub-group could encourage businesses to promote and enhance the borough’s natural estate, by exploring ideas such as outdoor offices, tree sponsorship and team building volunteer days.
The photography competition would continue to be progressed through the sub-group.
Bob Collis updated partners on the BID progress.
The steering group continued to progress and work well, and were producing a positive programme for consultation. Businesses in Southern and Western Business Areas had been consulted in October at an event held at Fujitsu.
The membership had grown with more businesses being represented across the two business areas. Members of the BID had met with Regus to connect with them and learn about the businesses hosted within Regus offices. Vodafone remained difficult to engage with, although it was noted that Vodafone may be excluded from the BID as their rateable value and business rates payments would mean they would hold 50% of any BID votes.
It was planned for Stage 3, the ballot stage, to be started on 1 April 2019 in order that a proposal for the ballot can be submitted to the Secretary of State and Local Authority in September 2019, for a result in November 2019.
Dates of Future Meetings
22 January 2019
19 March 2019
21 May 2019
22 January 2019