Agenda Item No 3
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 9th April 2013
Report of the Director of Development Services
Changing Economic Circumstances: Supporting Businesses in the Local Economy
Purpose of the Report
1. To apprise Members of the arrangements and the invitations that have been extended to businesses to attend this meeting.
1. That the contents of the report be noted.
2. That details of the discussions held at the meeting be reported to Cabinet for consideration as appropriate.
Reasons for the Recommendations
1. To apprise Members.
2. To allow for any issues to be considered by Cabinet.
2. Extraordinary Scrutiny Committee meetings have previously been held as it was and remains the Committees view that it is essential for evidence to be gathered from representatives from various bodies in order to assist the Council in considering ways to mitigate the effects of the economic downturn on local businesses. This Committee has also since the Local Government elections 2012 recommended that similar exercises be continued to be repeated in future years to explore ways to aid local businesses.
3. Cabinet in 2012 also considered and agreed a report regarding a number of business liaison activities which outlined the types of activities that would take place as well as acknowledging that on an annual basis a meeting would be held by the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) to consider the economic situation and business issues.
Relevant Issues and Options
4. It is important to note that the Council, as an employer, facilitator and enabler, plays a role in the economic development and regeneration of communities and if regeneration activities are to be sustainable, they must take account of social, economic and environmental issues simultaneously. Local Authorities therefore play a key role because they are involved in all three areas of activity.
5. Local Government can also assist local businesses and the economy through a number of means including procurement, support for businesses, promotion of entrepreneurship, bringing forward regeneration schemes and ensuring that planning decisions are dealt with effectively and efficiently.
6. A number of stakeholders and organisations have been invited to this Committee meeting, and a complete list of attendees can be found at Appendix 1 to this report.
7. The Chairman of the Committee when inviting the key stakeholders referred to two key specific questions for them to address:
Can you describe how your business or sector is coping with the very difficult trading conditions and whether you feel that we are indeed seeing the green shoots of recovery?
Can you indicate whether there is anything the Vale of Glamorgan Council can do to help your business and / or sector?
8. The invitation also advised that following the meeting a report would be prepared and any recommendations forwarded for consideration to the Council's Cabinet.
9. The minutes of the previous extraordinary meeting held on 7th June 2011 are attached at appendix 2 for information. The meeting was seen as an important opportunity to continue the Council's good working relationship with key stakeholders and to seek further views from them on working together to promote the Vale of Glamorgan for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.
10. Following representations by the stakeholders, amidst a number of issues, the following key suggestions were made:
The need for sites to be identified for a sizeable manufacturing facility to be established in the Vale and the importance of keeping a skilled workforce in the area.
Every opportunity should be taken to market the Vale to attract key development to, for example, the Waterfront and Barry Island, with the possibility of Barry being made an enterprise zone.
That the planning department consider change of use policy to enhance and encourage the use of farm land for small industrial units. The need to expedite the planning process in order to not jeopardise development and to enhance road links with the M4.
Promote more attractions to the Vale in order to save local employment and ensure local spend.
Assist Town and Community Councils in rebranding their towns - Llantwit Major at that time was working with the University of Glamorgan in this regard.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
11. The meeting is funded from within existing budgets.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
The development of a strong local based economy will assist in achieving sustainability objectives.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
12. None directly attributable to this report.
Crime and Disorder Implications
13. None directly attributable to this report.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
14. There are no direct equal opportunities implications directly relating to this report although any information that will need to be marketed will need to be presented in Welsh and English.
15. The Vale of Glamorgan has a thriving economy supporting cohesive sustainable communities.
Policy Framework and Budget
16. This report is in the Council's policy framework and budget.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
17. As this matter affects all Wards in the County Borough, no consultation was undertaken.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
18. Economy and Environment
Scrutiny Committee Reports
Scrutiny Committee Minutes.
Mrs. Karen Bowen, tel: 01446 709856
Bob Guy, Operational Manager - Countryside and Economic Projects
Rob Thomas, Director of Development Services