Agenda item

Review of Growth Boards

Report of the Director – Development and Economic Growth


The Service Manager – Economic Growth and Property delivered a presentation on the Review of the Growth Boards a process which presented findings from surveys and work completed and considerations and options for the future of the Growth Boards. The report and presentation focussed on the review itself and some proposed models for the Boards going forward.


The Group were provided with a brief background of the Boards from when they were established in 2015, reviewed in 2017 and 2019 and what the Boards had delivered during this period.


The Service Manager – Economic Growth and Property advised the group of more recent additional areas of work to provide broader context on economic growth related activity delivered by the Council.


The additional work includes:


·       Newton Community Partnership Board focusing on the Newton Strategic Urban Extension (SUE)

·       Sharphill Stakeholder meetings focusing on the Sharphill development at Edwalton

·       Fairham Growth Board

·       Ratcliffe on Soar Parish Forum

·       UK Shared Prosperity and Rural England Prosperity Funding

·       Rushcliffe Business Partnership

·       High Street and Town Centre Forums

·       Bingham Car Parking Stakeholder meetings

·       Big Business Carbon Club to support larger businesses to reduce their carbon emissions


It was noted the UK Shared Prosperity Funding has enabled additional business support activity and a comprehensive business support offer commissioned by the Council for businesses across the Borough.


With regards to the Growth Board surveys the Group were advised that Growth Board Members, Councillors and 2500 businesses were approached.


The result of responses were 14 responses from existing Growth Board members and Councillors and 69 responses from local businesses, resulting in the following feedback in descending order of priorities:


·       Business support (28)

·       Inward Investment (12)

·       Sustainability/green growth (11)

·       Employment and skills (11)

·       High Street/town centres (11)

·       Other (6)

·       Accessibility (4)

·       Tourism/place marketing (2)


Other feedback from the surveys included the following:


·       Good at bringing organisations together and getting updates on big projects/key priorities in an area

·       Need to review strategic objectives

·       Need to engage with businesses more


Overall, it was noted the Growth Boards had some value, but based on the identified priorities and considering other areas of work it may be time to reconsider what are the right objectives and membership.


The Service Manager – Economic Growth and Property provided an illustrative example of the preferred option with the Strategic Growth Board overseeing three other threads of Groups/Work:


1.     Development Boards at Fairham, Bingham, Newton, Sharphill and Gamston

2.     Task and Finish Groups/Work e.g. high street forums, landlord engagement, inward investment, area focused activity

3.     Meetings with the 6 largest Town/Parish Councils at Bingham, Cotgrave Radcliffe on Trent, Ruddington, Keyworth and East Leake and WB local area forum


The Group were advised that the current Growth Boards would no longer meet as outlined above as issues or opportunities arise could be dealt with via more focussed groups for example, the soon to be established Bingham Car Parking Group supported by the Borough Council.


Councillor Wheeler as a member of the West Bridgford Growth Board expressed concern with regards to over ambitious and over promising ideas which were deemed unrealistic, unaffordable or would take a long time to deliver. This was echoed by other members of the Group.


The Group felt the review was taking an improved approach and appeared to be heading in the right direction. Questions were asked about the Council’s role and the involvement of Town and Parish Council’s and businesses and other private stakeholders. Comments were provided on including smaller parishes in some of the dialogue as these communities are affected by development and growth in their larger neighbouring communities.


The Chair asked whether there is a distinction between housing delivery and economic growth and how this might shape the Growth Board at Fairham which is predominantly housing. Councillor Grocock commented that both housing and economic need to exist within the structure of the Growth Boards, utilising Task and Finish Groups with additional expertise for more narrowed approach on specific tasks.

Members of the Group asked for more clarity around the new Development Boards and Task and Finish Groups and how these are distinguished from each other and where they sit in relation to the Strategic Growth Board. The Service Manager – Economic Growth and Property explained that there would be crossover and some flexibility would be required to respond to particular issues when they arise this could be health, education or parish lead as examples.


In conclusion the Group accepted the options being proposed but wanted the work streams to be clear on what was to be achieved by way of outcomes. The Group suggested more engagement with private external landlords and businesses, also the involvement of ward councillors and parish councillors where applicable.


It was noted that the structure of the Boards, Finish and Task Groups and Town and Parish meetings would be fluid and there is likely to be some cross over of work streams. Most important to the structure was to get the right people around the table to support businesses, growth and local communities.


It was RESOLVED that the Growth and development Group


a)    Considered the priorities, contained in the report (paragraph 4.20), for any future Boards and suggest areas of focus and any additional priorities


b)    Based on the preferred option (from paragraph 4.27) set out in the report the Group made a recommendation to Cabinet for the new structure of the Growth Boards




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