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December 19 Edition: SBP Newsletter

Published: Tuesday, 17th December 2019

The latest Southend business news brought to you by the Economic Development Team!

December 2019

With Christmas just around the corner this is the last newsletter of 2019, and what an eventful year it has been. We have run three large scale briefings featuring a wide range of topics and speakers; including The Thames Estuary - A Gateway to Growth, Southend 2050 and The Development of a Superhub and Connected and Smart. These were all partnered with extensive marketplaces where you could find information and advice on how to grow your business while networking with a wide range of other businesses. Our network has grown dramatically and we now have over 1,100 business professionals as part of the membership. We hope to continue to grow the base and also to increase our relevance to the wider business community in Southend over the coming year. We would be very pleased to hear from any businesses who would like to join the partnership which is free to join, as well as to hear from the existing businesses about how we can evolve to better meet your needs. Please pass this newsletter and the information within to your business contacts to help us achieve this ambition and email economicd@southend.gov.uk the contact details of businesses who would like to join.

During the last year we consulted with members on the current format of the Partnership and will be continuing this work into 2020, to ensure we meet the needs of local businesses and to work with the Council to help business thrive and prosper in Southend.

Southend on Sea Borough Council has also hosted a number of events to support the business community including: Apprenticeship events which had a very high attendance enabling our Southend businesses with active vacancies to select quality apprentices to fill their positions. Following the success of these events they will be running further events in 2020 starting on the 12th February from 3pm at the Park Inn Hotel. In addition, they will be holding an event specifically for businesses to find out more about how they can employ apprentices in the future, regardless of whether they are a levy payer or not. This event will be held on the 5th February and to book please click here.

Recruitment certainly seems to be a reoccurring theme for many of our Southend businesses so the Council will also be running a specific recruitment event for the Care sector on the 5th March from 3pm. Click here for more information and to book a stall to promote your business and vacancies.  For businesses in other sectors there will be a Careers and Apprenticeship event on the 10th June, in the Park Inn. Please click here for more information or to book a stall.

I also attended an event run by the Council on Friday for businesses in Southend to hear more about the services available to them and how they can work with the Council to enhance business. The message was really clear in terms of engagement and business growth so I would encourage you to talk to them in the early stages of business decisions. Business Rates team are encouraging businesses to check the rateable value of premises before purchase and also to check if your business qualifies for any reductions (call 01702 215001). The Planning team spoke about their pre-planning advice service and also the value of completing a Certificate of Lawfulness form, which is a quick and easy way to check if you need planning permission. The Council is also in the middle of developing a system where they will be able to share some data with businesses to help businesses. Obviously this is GDPR compliant data but could include: footfall data, CCTV data, traffic flows, health and wellbeing data, population data and business data. The council are keen to work with businesses who would like to lead on what data could be shared to enhance business performance across the Borough, if you are interested in hearing more then please click here. Finally, regulatory services talked about their service and how businesses can contact them to check compliance and ask for advice. More of these type of events are planned for the new year.

Work will start in the new year on the improvements to the high street which will begin with the pedestrianisation of the London Road leading to Victoria Circus, creating a leisure area with space for outside eating, new seating, lighting, cycle storage and planting to enhance the area. The Business Partnership supports this work to enhance our high street and looks forward to seeing the plans as they progress. In the meantime  we were pleased to hear more about the The Community Safety Patrol Team which now operates in Southend whose mandate is to respond to anti-social behaviour complaints Borough wide alongside tackling issues with street drinking, rough sleeping, begging and street homeless. The Community Safety Patrol Team operate 365 days a year over 2 shifts patterns which cover between 9am and 8pm daily.

If a business feels they were at immediate risk then this should be reported to the Police on 999 as standard. However, if there are reports of anti-social behaviour these can be reported via MySouthend (www.southend.gov.uk/mysouthend) and an officer will update accordingly. If people are out and about during the Borough and come across something they needed to report, they can either do it via MySouthend (also available as a smart phone app) or via switchboard on 01702 215000. Switchboard also gives the capacity to report emergencies out of hours.

Every 2 months the Community Safety Team arrange a partnership day of activity in an area of the Borough. The next event is on 16th January 2019 in Leigh, and will involve a wide range of partners involved in pro-active resident and business engagement surveys. If you would like to be involved or to complete the “Making Southend Safer survey” please click here or you can email southendCSU@southend.gov.uk. It is really important that we work together to make Southend a safe place to live, work and visit for everyone. You can also find out more about the team and the Community Safety Partnership on their website - www.southendcsp.org.uk and on Twitter -  @southend_csp

On a separate note all building contractors that operate in the wider Essex area were invited to view and feedback on a consultation that is taking place on " The Essex CC Developers Guide to Contributions". The closing date was 12th December and the link to access it was: https://consultations.essex.gov.uk/rci/ecc-developers-infrastructure-contributions, but if you have any questions or would like more information I believe you can contact Richard Bambridge from Essex CC.

Southend Borough Council is reviewing its Local Plan so recently presented to the SBP Executive.  Local Plans are the key documents through which local planning authorities can set out a vision and framework for the future development of the area, engaging with their communities in doing so.  Local Plans address needs and opportunities in relation to housing, the local economy, community facilities and infrastructure. They safeguard the environment, enable adaptation to climate change and help secure high quality accessible design. The new Southend Local Plan will also provide a degree of certainty for communities, businesses and investors on future development proposals, and a framework for guiding decisions on individual planning applications over the next 20 years. Consultation on Issues and Options for the plan took place in Spring 2019, including with the SBP Executive and the wider partnership. A Consultation Report containing each representation made and a Summary Report are both available at https://localplan.southend.gov.uk/issues-and-options/issues-and-options-reports.  All responses will be taken into account in preparing the next iteration of the plan which will be published in 2020.

I would like to encourage businesses and the voluntary sector to attend the Southend on Sea Borough Council Draft Budget Consultation on the 16th January at the Park Inn 8:30am - 11am, This is an opportunity to hear details of the draft budget and how this meets the Southend 2050 outcomes and to be able to provide your thoughts on this for consideration before it is considered by Council Cabinet. Click here to book your place. I am also pleased to announce that our next Southend Business Partnership Briefing will be on the 26th March at the Park Inn Hotel. To book your place, please click here.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 Murray Foster

Chairman of the Southend Business Partnership