28 May Norman’s Notes – May 2018
Norman Webster, Town and District Councillor for Mid Sussex and Cabinet Member for Community updates us this month.
MSDC Economic Development Strategy to 2031
As you will know Mid Sussex District Council has developed a new Economic Development Strategy so I felt it important to update EGBA members on how this affects East Grinstead.
The Mid Sussex Economic Development Strategy was formally adopted by The Council on 25 April 2018. The Strategy sets out a vision for how Mid Sussex should develop between now and 2031 in order to ensure a thriving and sustainable economy.
The Priority Themes underpinning the Vision focus on place, premises, people and promotion. These Themes set out the priority activities through which MSDC will realise their Vision for a vibrant and growing Mid Sussex.
The Strategy also features a detailed Action Plan to be updated every 5 years which sets out the specific activities that MSDC will undertake and the outcomes those actions will deliver.
Throughout the Strategy and Action Plan there are a range of outcomes and actions that focus particularly on East Grinstead. I will summarise some key examples of the work MSDC and partners will be doing in and around East Grinstead to meet the current needs of our community and create a vibrant and modern place that future generations can continue to take pride in.
Priority theme: Place
Work to redevelop Queens Walk has commenced. The new development will provide 129 homes, 1,624 square metres of retail space and a new car park.
Revisions to the agreed planning application of May 2017 were agreed at the District Planning meeting on 25 January 2018. Apart from some technical matters there were revisions to the internal layout of apartments, the external appearance, size and bulk of the structure and additional parking.
Within The Strategy one of MSDC’s key outcomes is to create:
“Viable and vibrant town and village centres with their own identity which meet the retail, leisure and employment needs of the growing population”.
In delivering this outcome, for East Grinstead, MSDC will undertake a Conservation Area Character Appraisal and Management Plan for the historic core of East Grinstead to ensure that any new development builds upon and respects its historic core. This reflects the importance of ensuring that in delivering economic development the unique and attractive qualities of East Grinstead are preserved.
The priority theme of Place also features an outcome to:
“Delivery of infrastructure improvements which meet business needs”.
Part of the work to deliver this outcome will include bidding for additional funding to develop Sustainable Transport Packages for East Grinstead in order to deliver improved accessibility and quality of the public realm.
MSDC is currently undertaking a road space audit for East Grinstead which will provide information to refresh the Parking Strategy and deliver improvements in the quality of parking provision in the town.
MSDC will also be working with the EGBA to programme and deliver improvements to Business Parks funded by Section 106 monies.
Priority theme: Premises
Throughout The Strategy MSDC places strong emphasis on recognising and responding to the need for more business premises for the district. For East Grinstead, MSDC has particularly focussed on the need to:
“The develop hotel and conference facilities to meet the needs of visitors and the business community”
With that in mind there is a specific action to deliver mid-range hotels in East Grinstead to meet that demand and to help promote the town’s visitor economy and promote the town as a conference destination for businesses. MSDC will work closely with the developers of hotels already granted planning permission to facilitate their delivery in order to meet identified business needs.
Priority theme: People
MSDC will be working to ensure that all residents of the district have access to the skills they need to take advantage of the high-value, high-skill jobs that our growth and regeneration programmes will create. In addition, MSDC wants to ensure that the growth and success of local small businesses is promoted and reflected in the outcome to:
“Ensure businesses can access robust and effective advice and support for their stage of growth, including start-ups and scale-up businesses”
To help deliver that outcome MSDC will work with the EGBA to promote and deliver the 2018 Micro Business Grant Scheme and 2018 Independent Retailers Fund. Through the Micro Business Grant Scheme (launched last month) MSDC are offering the opportunity for small businesses to bid for funds to help them grow or recruit an apprentice.
The Independent Retailers Scheme, due to be launched next month, offers the opportunity for high street shops to bid for funding to help them improve their shop fronts and provides training to help them maximise their impact on the high street. MSDC will be actively promoting the scheme to independent high street shops in East Grinstead. MSDC will also continue working closely with the EGBA to identify ways in which we can support local businesses.
Priority theme: Promotion
Promoting East Grinstead as a visitor destination is a key part of the Priority theme of Promotion. As one of our key actions in The Strategy MSDC will continue to support the Mid Sussex Experience network of high quality tourist attractions and luxury accommodation, working in collaboration with East Grinstead Town Council.
Further information and contact details
For any further information or to discuss any of the matters I have touched on please contact:
Regeneration and Economy Programme Manager
Economic Promotion and Planning