This report of the Strategic Director, Place (Document “AI”) updates Scrutiny Committee on progress with regeneration in Keighley and Shipley.
Members are asked to consider the content of this report.
(Paul North – 01535 618095)
This report of the Strategic Director, Place (Document “AI”) updated the Scrutiny Committee on progress with regeneration in Keighley and Shipley.
?The Assistant Director, Economy and Development, Programme Delivery Manager and the Project Devlopment Manager were present and invited by the Chair to introduce the report to the Committee. It was explained that Bradford was one of the biggest and fastest growing districts in the UK and the youngest city in the UK. Business success, jobs growth, skills and improved transport connectivity were essential to the city’s ambition to be the UK’s fastest growing economy over the coming decade
A scheme to undertake land use studies covered three key employment areas in the District’s main urban centres of Bradford, Keighley and Shipley in order to produce area improvement plans that would increase. The Council’s Economic Development Service would procure consultants to assist in carrying out land use studies, market research and development planning exercises. These will produce medium term improvement plans to make each zone more attractive and efficient locations for business to operate and invest in. They will encourage the reuse and development of employment sites and existing premises and increase the choice for businesses seeking to expand and relocate within the District. Work on the studies would take place over this year with final reports expected by September 2019.
Following synopsis of the report, a question and answer session ensued:
· Would consultants be procured into the scheme and what would be the likely cost to the Council?
o Yes but costs were unknown at present as the process was still ongoing;
· What process had been decided for the buildings that had been derelict for some time?
o The District Growth Scheme offered incentives in the form of business rates relief to companies creating new developments, taking on vacant listed properties and bringing empty town centre units back into economic use;
· What other activities were being carried out?
o The works compound at the end of the former college site had been retained to facilitate the demolition of the Cavendish Street building as previously requested by the Scrutiny Committee. Planning permission for the demolition had been granted and preparatory work had been underway. The demolition work would be tendered in early 2019 and it was proposed that demolition will commence later in the year;
· Land for shopping developments had been cleared and on standby for several years. What were next stages of the scheme?
o Demolition had been undertaken but there was still some demolition works remaining;
· Had other uses been considered opposite to the retail development?
o Discussions were still to take place;
· In relation to Growth Schemes and Pennine Projects funding, what would happen to funding if not spent?
o The funding is well used and awareness of schemes is engaged with local businesses including the invitation extended to Ward Members to get involved;
· Who was responsible for carrying out the planning stage of works?
o Engineers, specialists and consultations undertaken by consultants;
· How would the outstanding fund of £2.4m?
o Discussions were still ongoing in relation to the match funding;
· The objectives of the project were to relieve congestion and improve journey times along the Canal Road / Valley Road corridor and to deter traffic away from the Manningham Lane. How would this be achieved?
o By making the corridor more attractive for walking, cycling including greater access to public transport.
o The inclusion of ensuring the network being more reliable was also paramount;
· What was being considered for ensuring more jobs in Bradford for the Bradford residents?
o By making improvements to local development zones through land assembly, working with land owners and addressing transport needs for the purpose of creating jobs that are accessible;
· How were concerns being addressed about the age profile of managerial and technical staff in the sector and associated risk of the potential loss of expertise at retirement?
o This was being addressed by boosting the profile and reputation of the sector through the Centre of Excellence;
· Was there any information on the replacement of European Funding after March 2019?
o The government was dealing with a large funding source to address social and economic issues;
· There was a lack of detail in relation to the Crag Road site?
o Due to health and safety issues and the fact that the site was in private ownership; and,
· Was dialogue with private landowners ongoing or was the Council waiting to be contacted by them?
o The Council had contacted land owners and expressed a desire to be kept informed.
The Committee acknowledged that it was imperative that new regeneration was right on a logistical basis in order to attract businesses to the city and create further jobs. It was clear that these schemes were about connecting communities for access to employment and therefore congratulated the officers on the work addressed to date.
That the Committee thanks officers for Document “AI” and welcomes the many positive developments highlighted within the report.
LEAD: Strategic Director, Place