Diary of a Sutton Councillor

Supporting business in Sutton

What is Sutton Council delivering for you?

As a continuation of a series of posts setting out current activities in the areas covered by my committee portfolio – the Housing, Economy & Business Committee I have previously posted about Housing, and Employment and Skills. This post focuses on business.

 

SUPPORTING BUSINESS IN SUTTON

Sutton Lib Dems are ambitious for Sutton, and we want to see growth in Sutton, good growth that benefits the community and existing businesses.

 

Attracting new business and investment

To achieve those ambitions Sutton’s Lib Dem Council has taken a proactive role to stimulate economic development in the borough. We have deliberately sought to attract new business and investment, and to support and encourage our existing businesses to grow and flourish.

We have put money in, we have put work in, and we have vastly changed the way we work to make things happen.

 

 

Making the borough a great place for business

Making our district centres  more attractive for shoppers and easier to access.

We have improved Wallington, Hackbridge, and Worcester Park and we are currently working on a major programme in Beddington. Sutton Town Centre has its own Masterplan.

 

We have encouraged Business Improvement Districts and now have three established BIDs: Successful Sutton, Kimpton Park and our second Industrial BiD in Beddington. Successful Sutton and Kimpton Park have both been successfully renewed. We expect a new BID in Worcester Park to be voted on later this year.

 

We have lobbied hard for improved transport links that are an essential for business.

We have succeeded in getting the Sutton Tram extension included in the London Mayor’s plan, successfully lobbied for retention of the Thameslink loop line, and we expect to benefit locally from the Mayor’s plans to increase the frequency of trains on our networks. We succeeded in securing significant TfL funding for improvements to the road network in our Beddington industrial area.

 

 

Supporting small businesses

We have over 6,000 small businesses in Sutton, representing a significant proportion of the business community.

We have worked specifically to provide the right conditions for small businesses to start up, thrive and grow, and we arrange key advice and new opportunities to grow small businesses into larger ones. We encourage start ups with schemes such as our local business rate relief scheme for business keen to expand into Sutton town centre, and our Award-winning Pop Up Sutton project.

 

We also worked to ensure that small businesses can compete equally with larger firms to win council contracts. Our Procurement Strategy was redesigned to create a more level playing field, and now 80% of our contracts are awarded to SMEs, amounting to 50% of the total value of our awarded contracts. We also require our larger contractors to use local suppliers and sub-contractors, to make sure that small businesses can still benefit when they win a tender.

 

 

Skills training to improve the local workforce offer

Very importantly we have been keen to ensure that it is our businesses and residents that reap the benefits of this business expansion and investment by ensuring that our residents have the necessary skills to take up the enhanced employment offer this presents. This has been done through our Skills Match programme, with a special focus on Sutton for Science to ensure local people benefit from the new job opportunities offered by the London Cancer Hub development.

 

Achieving success

Our ambitious approach has already proved fruitful. We have attracted new business, new development, new interest and new investment into Sutton.

New investment to the tune of £330 million pounds. 939 new businesses and 33 new shops opening in just the first few years, resulting in a 137% increase in net growth.

 

New businesses coming to Sutton like Metro Bank, Patisserie Valerie, Shinner and Sudtone, The Slug and Luttuce, Sainsburys, Lidl, El Mexicana, Foxtons, GoGym, and with H&M now confirmed as taking over the old BHS site.

 

New investment like Subsea 7’s expansion into new headquarters, Sutton Point‘s hotel, shops and housing currently in development, new housing from big developers like L&Q, Barratt’s & Redrow, the redevelopment of Times Square shopping centre and new ownership of the St Nicholas Centre, the refurbishment of the Empire Cinema, the Maggie Centre development by the Royal Marsden and the new Diagnostics Centre being built by the ICR.

We have also seen an increase in ambition and optimism for the borough amongst our businesses, and we have been making our mark on the national stage too. Our London Cancer Hub Opportunity is being marketed around the world.

 

Advertisements

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Information, Liberal Democrats | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chair’s update on the work of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee

HEB Meeting held on Tuesday 13th February

Key items of business:

  • Local Plan adoption – agreed unanimously. The Plan was fully approved at Full Council
  • Local Development Scheme – programme of ongoing strategic planning work agreed
  • Locally Listed Buildings of Sutton document- excellent catalogue of listed buildings in the borough which we hope to publicise more widely.
  • Brownfield site register – new requirement for a list of sites available for development – taken from Local Plan
  • Economy Watchlatest economic statistics for the borough
  • Discretionary Rate Relief – Pub Scheme extended for another year

 

 Other Business since last meeting

Tram extension to Sutton

Myself, Cllr Whitehead and Cllr Dombey, along with senior officers and the Merton Council Leader met with the London Deputy Mayor for Transport and TfL to discuss progress on delivering the tram extension. TfL were extremely positive about the plans and appeared dedicated to making it happen. Some new options have been proposed to bridge the funding gap with external sources. This was followed up with a joint presentation by Merton & Sutton to the Mayor’s Good Growth Board on 28th February.

 

London Plan

The Mayor’s London Plan is currently out for consultation until 2nd March. It contains new worrying housing targets that are double those in our Local Plan and the Mayor expects these to be delivered on small sites i.e. backgarden land, house conversions and flats in the middle of suburbia. This flies against our Local Plan where we seek to preserve the historic and suburban character of our borough and direct housing to town and district centres, with regeneration providing both additional housing and improved environments for existing residents.

Positive aspects of the Mayor’s Plan are the highlighting of Sutton as an Opportunity Area in light of the London Cancer Hub potential, and inclusion of the Tram extension to Sutton.

More here.

The council has submitted a response to the consultation.

 

Employment and Skills Board Meeting on 5th March 

Agenda included:

  • A talk on the work of the Early Help Board
  • A presentation by Reed in Partnership, the organisation procured by the South London Partnership to deliver the Work and Health Programme (now Better Working Futures)
  • An update on the Sutton for Science strategy and Big Bang Festival of Science activities
  • Regular Partners Updates 

 

SHP

I have continued attending regular Fire Safety Meetings of SHP and the Council following the Grenfell Fire.

HEB Members Cllr Melican and Cllr Emmerson attend SHP board meetings and associated events as the council’s representatives on the SHP Board.

Steve Tucker, previously Interim CE of SHP has now been confirmed to the permanent post of Managing Director of SHP – a posting that has met with widespread approval by tenants, leaseholders, staff and the council as great improvements in approach and service have been noted since Steve took over from the previous CE.

 

Beddington Farmlands

A petition has been raised by the Wandle Forum for enforcement of the planning conditions requiring the restoration of the landfill site at Beddington Farmlands into a country park and wildlife reserve. Cllr Piracha and myself met with Planning and Biodiversity Officers for an update on the situation. It was confirmed that progress has been ongoing with restoring the site and there has been oversight by Planning Enforcement, but there has been no breach and therefore no fault on the council’s part, or Viridors. The only delay to the restoration was due to the Judicial Review brought by the Green Party PPC which meant all work has to be stopped until the JR was concluded.

Officers plan to meet with representatives of the Wandle Forum to explain the situation and talk about the next steps for the restoration.

 

Sutton Living Ltd

A planning application for the Wallington public hall site has been submitted.

Rather than selling the site to a private developer the council is using its new Housing Development Company, Sutton Living Ltd, to build new homes for local people on the site. The plans propose using the hall site and half of the associated car park to deliver 31 flats of mixed sizes in two blocks of three and four storeys with a commercial retail unit fronting Stafford Road.

The development will provide the maximum required number of affordable units, and under the terms of the council’s company all the residential units are required to be marketed to Sutton residents first, with special discretion for care-givers moving in to look after a Sutton resident, or ex-forces personnel. The layout also preserves the access to garages of properties in Onslow Gardens.

Other projects in train are listed in the papers for the last Sutton Shareholdings Board on 6th December.

 

Council housing new build

I took the council leader to view progress with the council house new build at Fellowes Road and Ludlow Lodge. Kind & Co, the build contractors are ahead of schedule so we hope to see people moving in this year.

 

 

SDEN 

I attended a Golden Shovel event with Cllr Whitehead and partners Viridor, Barratts and Eneteq to celebrating getting the first pipes in the ground for the decentralised energy network. We were also able to view the properties being developed by Barratts in Hackbridge on the old Felnex site.

The company is currently billing new residents who have moved into the New Mill Quarter properties. A temporary energy centre is on site to provide energy until the pipes are connected which is expected to be July next year.

 

Economic Development

An investor conference was held on 1st March at the newly refurbished Empire Cinema. This is part of the work to attract quality developers and investors to Sutton to enable us to deliver the best quality environment we can. It also launched the Sutton for Science programme which aims to encourage Sutton residents and young people to take up training opportunities so that they can take advantage of the new employment offer arising from the development of the London Cancer Hub. It is a programme that local schools have been keen to participate in.

Cllr Dombey and I accompanied Vince Cable and Tom Brake on a visit to the ICR for Vince to learn more about the Cancer Hub project, which later appeared on BBC London News.

Other

I attended a Sutton Chamber Business Networking event that featured Paul Scully MP invited to talk about ‘The Future of Sutton’.

I attended another LGA Grenfell Task & Finish Group overseeing the work of the LGA on the response to Grenfell, this time in conjunction with the FAMC and the new London Deputy Mayor for Fire Services.

I joined Cllr Gordon and Cllr Wales on the Sutton Shareholdings Board, a sub-committee of Strategy & Resources which has oversight of the council’s trading companies on 22nd February.

 

March 6, 2018 Posted by | Committee Meeting, Information, Liberal Democrats | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chair’s Update on work of the Housing, Economy & Business Committee (HEB)

HEB Meeting held on 13th June key items of business:

Review of Planning Pre-application Service We agreed an amendment to the rate of charges to introduce an additional category to reduce the fees for smaller developments (1-4 units), formalised notification of councillors of major pre-app proposals, and asked officers to investigate whether we could publish the pre-app advice letter as part of the report to committee as standard practice.

Draft Character Appraisal of the Burton Estates Area of Special Local Character (ASLC) (produced by the Belmont & South Cheam Neighbourhood forum) This was agreed and we would encourage other Resident Associations to undertake their own Character Appraisals of ASLCs to strengthen their influence when determining planning applications.

Management of Housing Stock Review This considered whether we continue with Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP) as our Arms Length Management Organisation, bring the service in-house, or form a shared service with Kingston. On evidence gathered and external consultants’ report we agreed the option to progress with SHP as an improved ALMO. It was noted that this option could deliver the required savings.

Estate Regeneration Resident Engagement Proposals This set out the principles of engagement and transparency the council will adopt with residents in estates with potential for regeneration. The aim is for residents themselves to shape how their areas could be improved and intensified to make better use of space and provide improved communities and housing. It is noted that decisions to proceed with regeneration can only be made when the viability of proposals incorporating the needs and desires of residents has been assessed and shown to be feasible.

Annual Review of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme No changes proposed whilst new income band scheme beds in as it was only introduced from April 2017.

Discretionary Hardship Relief scheme for businesses re rate review Task & Finish Group set up to propose a scheme. This has met and a consultation has been undertaken recommending relief for small businesses (< £200,000 rateable value) facing increases greater than 12.5% of 100% in first year, 50% relief in second year , with businesses in CR4 getting 100% in both years to reflect the disproportionate increase in rateable value in that area. Final decision will be made in light of the results of the consultation at the 26th September Housing, Economy & Business Committee Meeting.

Ongoing business since last HEB meeting

Local Plan The Independent Examination-in-Public is to be held on 12-15th September 2017.

SDEN The agreement has now been signed with Barratts. Contractors have been procured to commence work delivering the pipes and installing them.

Tramlink Transport for London have allocated funding of £70m from the Mayor’s Growth Fund for the Sutton Tramlink, but this still leaves a significant funding gap. However it very much feels like it is back on the table with TfL keen to find ways to plug the gap either by saving costs or finding alternative funding mechanisms.

Sutton Economic Support Taskgroup (SEST) Quarterly meeting with Council post-14 Education Services, local colleges and training providers, JobCentre plus, and business representatives to discuss employment and training in the borough. Agreed to refresh aims for coming year and focus on engagement with businesses.

Meeting arranged with Children, Families and Education Directorate staff in August to discuss joined-up working across SEST & the Post 14 Progression and Employability Board.

Sutton Town Centre Masterplan Delivery Oversight and work with ward councillors continues in respect of delivery of the STC Masterplan. Includes North Sutton Gateway Scheme and estate regeneration work.

Jayne gave a presentation in July to open an Investor Tour event for investors and businesses expressing an interest in Sutton. Officers also gave presentations on the opportunities and sites in the town centre and at the London Cancer Hub and took them to visit the actual sites.

Open for Business Board Chaired by Cllr Wales this board is under the remit of Opportunity Sutton seeking to support local businesses. Last meeting looked at future of the Pop-up Sutton programme and will be seeking ways to build on its success.

Beddington Programme Consultation now out on various transport improvements along Beddington Lane in respect of the £7m awarded by TfL as a Major Scheme. https://www.opportunitysutton.org/beddington-gets-moving/

Sutton Housing Partnership Since the HEB agreement to continue with SHP as its ALMO in improved form Jayne has continued to meet with officers and SFTRA reps. Recent discussions focussed on governance improvements and oversight of the changes to sheltered housing support.

Business Improvement Districts (BIDS) Jayne was invited to provide an update on the Town Centre Masterplan at an event to celebrate the successful Sutton Town Centre BID renewal vote.

Work is also ongoing with traders to establish a BID in Worcester Park.

Sutton Living Ltd New plans are being drafted for the first of the company’s developments on the site of the old Wallington Public Hall.

Grenfell Tower fire local implications Jayne has been attending regular Fire Safety Briefings with Sutton Housing Partnership and Sutton Council senior officers and the local London Fire Service team to ensure that all council-owned residential properties in the borough have adequate fire safety measures in place and to respond to the latest advice and information following the Grenfell Tower fire.

Council Housing new build Work has commenced on the first council house new build, previously the Ludlow Lodge site. HEB members and ward councillors attended a ceremonial ground-breaking event at the Ludlow Lodge site and met with the building contractors Kind & Co a smaller construction company who impressed us with their commitment to award-winning build quality and consideration for neighbours.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Committee Meeting, Information | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things are happening in Sutton Town Centre

Exciting things are happening on Sutton High Street as some of the council’s projects and work to promote the town centre come to fruition.

Look up at Market Place Sutton to admire the improved frontages

Check out the new pubs

Our green wall looking succulent

Planters brighten up Trinity Square

Times Square renamed and refurbishment almost complete

TKMaxx reopening 15th June

Painting the Carshalton College ‘Live Art’ mural

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The award-winning entrepreneurs market

The Empire Cinema is also undergoing refurbishment and a big brand retail outlet is planning to move into Sutton.

With the additional development bringing housing, a new hotel, and new retail units around the station, and the new Sainsburys, flats and restaurants at the north end, Sutton certainly feels like it is booming.

May 29, 2017 Posted by | Information | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sutton wins Small Business Friendly Borough Award 2017

Heather Evans and Sarah Lomax from the Opportunity Sutton Team with Cllr Amy Haldane

I was very pleased to hear that Sutton was joint winner with Lambeth for the Small Business Friendly Borough Award presented by London Councils and the Federation of Small Businesses.

Our award was for the ‘Best Programme of Support’ by our Opportunity Sutton Team for the Pop Up Sutton Entrepreneurs Market.

Pop Up Sutton is an initiative to enable entrepreneurs to get a foot on the business ladder.

Over the course of the 18-month programme participants are able to access a series of workshops and one-to-one advice sessions designed to guide entrepreneurs through the process of setting up and running a business. Once a month a free pop-up stall is also provided to give entrepreneurs a platform to showcase their products or services to a ready made audience in Sutton town centre.

The scheme has been developed by Opportunity Sutton as part of its remit to stimulate and support new business in the borough.

We have had excellent feedback from participants in the scheme saying how much they have learnt that has enabled them to establish their business and develop their product lines.

There were 18 nominations for this category – the highest number of nominations, with 9 shortlisted, so congratulations Sutton for this achievement.

 

April 4, 2017 Posted by | Information | , , , , | Leave a comment

What is Sutton Council delivering for you?

All the work the council does and the decisions it makes are in the public domain and largely accessible through its website. However as this is often embedded in committee reports and paperwork you need to know what you are looking for or put in an FOI.

So in an attempt to make it simpler I thought I would do a series of posts setting out current activities in the areas covered by my committee portfolio – the Housing, Economy & Business Committee.

I have previously posted about Housing, so now it is the turn of ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

All the council’s work to boost the local economy is badged as  OPPORTUNITY SUTTON and is overseen by the Opportunity Sutton team.

This area of work is huge so I will have to break it down into parts on separate posts.

EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING

Partnership working for better jobs 

The council works closely with JobCentrePlus; local training providers such as Carshalton College, Sutton and District Training, JACE Training, Sutton College and Orchard Hill College; local business representatives including the Sutton Chamber and Successful Sutton; MENCAP; Epsom & St Helier University NHS Trust and SHP, bringing these partners together with council departments covering Education, Revenues and Benefits, Housing Services and Public Health. Together we work at improving the employment opportunities for people living in the borough. As a group we are called the Sutton Economic Support Taskforce which I chair.

Making apprenticeships easy

The Council paid SENSE Communications to set up and run an online Sutton Apprenticapprenticeship-hub-sutton-surrey1eship Hub bringing together information and apprenticeship opportunities all in one place. The Hub is useful for students looking for apprenticeship places, for businesses looking for apprentices, and is full of information about apprenticeships useful to businesses, students, teachers and parents.

Offering council apprenticeshipsapprentices

Sutton Council aims to lead by example by offering a number of quality apprenticeships at the council. It currently employs 12 apprentices and is recruiting for a further 2. We were very proud to see one of our apprentices working in the Opportunity Sutton team achieve the ‘Apprentice of the Year’ awarded by London Borough Councils.

Improved training for local jobs

The council’s Sutton Skills Match programme brings together local businesses, schools and training providers so that employers can advise of the skills and training that is required for them to offer employment to local people. As a result of this relevant information the training providers have adapted their training programmes to better meet the local need, and businesses are working with schools to talk about career pathways. An excellent example of this work is Sutton & District Training taking over the Building Lives program which offers training in construction skills that offer a direct route into work with local construction firms.

img_0056Working with schools

The council works closely with local schools helping them with work experience placements and providing special courses to help students be work-ready.

Annual Careers Fair

Each year the council organises a careers fair for young people aged 14 to 24 with the help of the partners above.

Supporting disabled and disadvantaged residents into work

Through the Our Place scheme helping people with mental health conditions and the new DWP Work and Health Programme the council offers targeted interventions to help and support people with barriers to employment get into the workplace. Last year it successfully completed an EU funded scheme to help a number of lone parents into work. The Our Place scheme has now placed 30 people with mental health conditions into paid work with 4 recently achieving a full year of employment.

Developing budding entrepreneurspopupmarket

The council employs Successful Sutton to provide business training and advice to people thinking of or just getting started with new businesses. Together they are running a special project called POP UP SUTTON providing free monthly stalls in Sutton town centre accompanied by a programme of business advice and support for entrepreneurs wanting to try out their business ideas and products.

Working with local boroughs for a wider employment offer

Sutton is part of the South London Partnership which also includes the boroughs of Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Richmond. Sutton is leading on a programme of work to improve residents’ skills across the five boroughs, drawing on our local experience. This also involves supporting the area based reviews of further education providers. Cllr Ruth Dombey takes the lead on this area in the South London Partnership.

Skilling up residents for London Cancer Hub careersicr_lch_1a

Together with our partners the council is working to ensure there are opportunities in place offering health, science and social care training so that there is a pool of talent within our local community that the London Cancer Hub can draw on. The potential careers that the London Cancer Hub can offer will be huge and wide ranging and we want local people to be able to get the maximum advantage from having this illustrious campus on their doorstep.

Creating new jobs

Opportunity Sutton is working to attract new businesses to Sutton, and offers help and support to existing businesses so they thrive and grow. In both cases this leads to new job opportunities for local people.

Measuring success

The council reviews its progress in ensuring its residents can find work or training as part of an Economy Watch document that it publishes quarterly. I am pleased to report that Sutton has higher than average economically active residents at 82% of the population, and increasing. The number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance is on a downward trend across all age ranges, and there is an increasing number of business start ups.

October 29, 2016 Posted by | Information, Liberal Democrats | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Support your local small businesses on Saturday 5th December

unnamed

Small Business Saturday is an initiative that supports small local businesses by encouraging their communities to ‘shop local’. It is an opportunity for small businesses to showcase themselves and to grow by demonstrating the quality and value that it can give to its customers and how it differentiates itself from its larger competitors.

This year to support Small Business Saturday Sutton Council is offering free parking in locations throughout the Borough to encourage shoppers to shop locally and support their local high streets including Gibson Road, Wallington Library, Carshalton High Street, Kingsway Road Carpark Cheam.

There are 7,400 SMEs in Sutton and they rely on your support. Show them some love on Saturday 5th December.

And if you are a small business looking for help and advice the Sutton Chamber of Commerce run 121 Business Clinics offering just that. See their website for more details. Or check out the Council’s Opportunity Sutton website for details of its Business Rate Relief scheme for small businesses and other support and information.

November 27, 2015 Posted by | Information | , , , , | Leave a comment

New serviced office space and meeting rooms available in central Sutton

I wCitySkylineas very pleased to be shown around the new serviced offices in the St Nicholas Business Centre, Sutton by James Hale, the Managing Director of City Skyline.

City Skyline are a boutique operator of high quality fully serviced office centres with established suites in Epsom and New Malden. They have now refurbished 9,000 sq ft of Chancery House to provide high quality contemporary office suites  in a prime Sutton town centre location.chancery house 2

This not only represents a positive new business venture for Sutton, but provides a great offer for new or established businesses looking for a professional and hassle-free environment.

November 8, 2015 Posted by | Information | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sutton employer? Find out more about apprenticeships

Apprenticeship network

July 6, 2015 Posted by | Information | , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: