Agenda and draft minutes

Economic and Skills Development Partnership - Tuesday, 8 May 2018 8.30 am

Venue: Dell, Cain Road, Bracknell, RG12 1LF

Contact: Lizzie Rich  01344 352253

No. Item


Action Points from Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 166 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 6 March 2018 were approved as a correct record.  Arising from the minutes the following points were noted:


  • Contact was made with Paul Thomas of Newsquest about help with publicising the Photography Competition.  His help would be enlisted in alignment with BFC’s current publicity arrangements.
  • A response to the Heathrow Airport consultation on infrastructure design options had been submitted on behalf of the ESDP.  This concentrated on improved rail access to Heathrow from the south west.
  • The next issue of Bob’s Blog will include reference to the very successful Breakfast Forum held recently.  As a result of comments, made it was proposed that the next issue should try to be a little more controversial in order to stimulate debate and interest on important local issues for the ESDP.
  • The presentations at the last meeting about the current work of the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce had been most interesting and well received.  There was a good measure of co-relation between the business manifesto of the Chamber and the ESDP Action Plan and it would be appropriate to consider how the two groups could be further aligned.
  • The Business Improvement District (BID) Steering Group was building support from local businesses to get behind the BID to progress the initiative to the ballot stage.  Action to enlist the help of local MP, Philip Lee, was planned but not until the appropriate time.

      (Action: Andrew Hunter/Bob Collis)

·        A stakeholder meeting for the BID was planned to be held on 20 September 2018 (venue to be confirmed) where participating businesses would be able to become involved in moving the BID forward.  Businesses will be invited to attend. (Action: Bob Collis)


Heathrow Expansion Consultation


Sundeep Sangha, Head of Economic Development at Heathrow attended the meeting to give a presentation on the proposed expansion of Heathrow Airport.


From January to March 2018, Heathrow had carried out a wide ranging consultation on its plans for expansion, following the Government announcement in October 2016 that a northwest runway at Heathrow was its preferred scheme for the expansion of airport capacity in the South East.  The consultation had concentrated on two aspects:

  • The physical changes on the ground to build a new north-west runway and operate an expanded airport; and
  • The potential principles that could apply when ‘building’ the new airspace strategy.


Sundeep explained the consultation in the context of Heathrow’s commitment to the communities around the airport and the huge contribution that the airport made to the national and local economy.  Heathrow’s community relations programme included a wide range of initiatives that encompassed all three elements of sustainability: environment, social and economic, together with support in the form of charitable donations, staff volunteering and other resources, such as the sharing of professional skills and expertise, or the use of equipment and premises.  Support was initially concentrated on the five boroughs closest to the airport: Ealing, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Slough and Spelthorne; some boroughs contributed up to 10,000 employees towards the 70,000 total workforce at Heathrow.  Heathrow Airports has now expanded its engagement to cover a wider area, including Windsor and Bracknell Forest.


The case for expansion of Heathrow was being promoted on the following benefits that would arise:

  • Up to £187 billion in economic benefits across the country with up to 180,000 new jobs created
  • A doubling of the current cargo capacity, supporting British exporters
  • Up to 10,000 new apprenticeships
  • Up to 40,000 new jobs in the local area


The recent consultation had covered the following particular topics:

  • Runway length and location
  • Terminals, satellites and aprons
  • Taxiways
  • M25 alignment and junctions
  • Local roads
  • River diversions and flood storage
  • Airport supporting facilities
  • Airport related developments (eg. hotels, offices etc)
  • Land uses affected by the expansion
  • Construction sites


The consultation had also set out proposals for managing the expansion covering:

  • Property compensation/land acquisition
  • Noise
  • Surface access
  • Air quality and emissions
  • Carbon and climate change
  • Natural and historic environment


Progress of the expansion plans now awaited the adoption by the Secretary of State for Transport of the National Policy Statement (NPS), expected by mid 2018.  This would confirm the draft Airports NPS published in February and again in October 2017, and would set out the Development Consent Order (DCO) process by which Heathrow would seek permission to carry out this major development.  It was hoped that the statutory consultation on the DCO application would commence in 2019.  Given the length of the planning process and the extent of the construction work necessary, it was anticipated that the earliest date a new runway could be operational was 2026.


Arising from questions and discussion, the ESDP noted details of the Heathrow Community Investment programme, the very successful Heathrow Jobs and Careers Fair, and the work with SMEs around the Heathrow supply chain and the promotion of networking opportunities.  Some concerns were expressed as to whether the local economy could support 40,000 new jobs in terms of potential employees with the right skills and sufficient accommodation for housing them within proximity of the airport.  It was disappointing that consideration of proposals for improving rail access to Heathrow from the south-west had been delayed although the Network Rail public consultation about a new direct rail link from the west to Heathrow was about to commence.  Heathrow had made commitments to contribute to improved transport link links such as this and the Piccadilly line upgrade. 


The Chairman expressed the ESDP’s appreciation to Sundeep for the very informative presentation and she responded by thanking members for the opportunity to speak, and offered to return to update the Partnership at a suitable time in the future.


High Performing Workplaces of the Future - Forum feedback


Bob Collis reported feedback from the Breakfast Forum at Wellington College on 12 April on the subject of “High performing workplaces of the future”.  There had been presentations from City Fibre and Exponential E about the technology aspects and from Morgan-Lovell on office design/layout/use of space.


There was general agreement that the Forum had been very successful, well attended and had afforded valuable time for networking.  The presentations and discussion had highlighted the importance of a fresh approach to the issue of the interface between business, customers and the workplace and agility in the use of space.  Flexible working and differing patterns of employment were changing the impact of business on the environment and called for wider consideration of how to invest in the appropriate setting and workspace for employees.


ESDP members considered the following issues were of particular importance to address in Bracknell:


  • What opportunities were there for start-ups and small businesses to find suitable workspaces in the locality?
  • Were the larger office complexes still suitable for current company staffing patterns and profiles?  If not, could they be adapted to be more flexible and appropriate?
  • Was there a requirement for office space to be more closely located to amenity and social facilities?
  • What ‘Bracknell Forest model’ would be needed for the future in terms of office space, nature, location, proximity to other facilities, access to transport links etc.
  • There were also challenges around skill shortages in Bracknell (eg. in the Town Centre), retention of young people in the area, under-provision of affordable housing etc. which needed solutions.


These were issues which could form the agenda for discussion at the next ESDP Forum, say in about six months’ time.  Topics which could dovetail with the needs of the future BID area. (Action: Bob Collis)


2-Year Plan Review pdf icon PDF 153 KB


This item was held over to the next meeting.


Sub-group updates pdf icon PDF 330 KB

Additional documents:


This item was held over to the next meeting.


BID Update


Bob Collis reported further (see Action Points arising above) on the progress of the BID.  Panasonic were now represented on the Steering Group. Approaches to Vodafone and Honda to get involved had yet to be successful.  Ambition Creative, the digital design agency, was providing free website and social networking facilities for the BID.  Page Hardy Harris was one of the small/medium sized businesses involved but wider representation from this sector was desirable.


A three part stakeholder survey was proposed comprising an on-line survey to all businesses, a 10% sample face-to-face survey followed up by a 30% detailed survey.


It was hoped the planned stakeholder meeting on 20 September 2018 would raise interest and support for the BID.  Also there was an opportunity for one of the participating companies to volunteer or second a suitable communications resource to help promote the BID.


LEP Update


Bob Collis gave a brief update, provided by Campbell, on the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP which continued to rank second only to London in its contribution to driving the national economy.  A very successful Skills Summit had been held on 19 April 2018, being well attended and with a good line-up of speakers.  The Government had introduced a shift in the way LEPs obtained funding which involved a softening in the requirement for match-funding of all projects.


Thames Valley Berkshire performance was rated in the top four of the 38 LEPs and had been judged to be “good with outstanding features”.


Dates of Future Meetings

3 July 2018


The next meeting was due to be held on 3 July 2018 (venue to be confirmed).