Appendix 1 Summary of responses to consultation on the Draft Macclesfield Borough Economic Development Strategy Amendments to the strategy (appendix 2) have been added in italics. Macclesfield Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise 1. Overview Welcome the preparation of the Strategy, which indicates recognition of the importance of wealth creation. As in the regional and sub regional strategies, the strategy should continue to emphasize ‘investing in success’ to protect and grow the economic prosperity of the Borough. Three areas need reinforcing: The need to ensure sufficient supply of available land for employment purposes The need to ensure a sufficient supply of housing to meet the needs of those employed in the Borough The need to ensure sufficient investment in transport infrastructure 2. Specific comments: Action Plan : Objective 1 (i)Chamber comment The Chamber emphasise the need for face to face business support in addition to on-line communication. Encourage MBC and other agencies to channel appropriate enquiries through the Chamber’s ‘route to market’ business support. MBC Response Add to EDS 2 ‘Action’ column : ‘(iii) Signpost appropriate enquiries to MCCE to access face to face business support services (ii)Chamber comment The implementation of Action Plans for town/village centre requires active support and prioritisation by Borough / County services, otherwise delivery will be compromised. MBC Response Delivery requires the support of many partners and stakeholders. The Town and District Centres Strategy Action Plans under preparation will need to build in recognition that aspirations may need to be tempered by resource realities. Partners will need to be creative in accessing alternative resource channels. Add to EDS 6 ‘Delivery’ column: ‘CCC, private/voluntary sectors’. (iii)Chamber comment Support to the proposed feasibility study for an international school. A timetable should be set. MBC response Support welcomed. Given the likelihood that this will be pursued at the regional level with the involvement of Manchester City Council and University of Manchester, it is not appropriate at this point in time to set a timetable for the study. Further discussions are necessary to establish the intentions of the Manchester agencies. (iv)Chamber comment Actions to support tourism, particularly business tourism should be added MBC response To date tourism promotion within the Council has been delivered separately from Economic Development. However from 1 April 2006 restructuring has brought tourism promotion under the Planning and Development Directorate, which will enhance opportunities for collaboration. Add new Activity EDS 7: ‘Tourism’. Under ‘Action’ column add : ‘Work with the Cheshire & Warrington Tourism Board and Peaks & Plains of Cheshire to promote tourism opportunities benefiting the local economy’. Specific proposals will emerge following the appointment of the new tourism officer and development of collaborative working with the Cheshire and Warrington Tourism Board. (v)Chamber comment The skills component could be strengthened by: Exploiting opportunities presented by the new Business Link structure (from April 2007) to ensure businesses get excellent business support Exploiting opportunities presented by Macclesfield College’s Centre of Vocational Excellence in Aerospace Engineering Developing Leadership and Management in SME’s Supporting collaborations between schools and colleges to enable students to access a broader curriculum Encourage continuous development/re-skilling of the workforce to anticipate demographic change MBC response Whilst these aims are supported in principle it is felt that other agencies, such as the Learning & Skills Council and Cheshire County Council, are better placed to lead on issues such as the development of Leadership and Management in SMEs and collaboration between schools and colleges. At this stage it is not clear how the detailed aspects of the new Business Link structure will affect business support in Macclesfield. However it is suggested that support for the actions of appropriate agencies be included as well as a commitment to work with the Chamber and other bodies to maximise the opportunities to Macclesfield presented by the new Business Link operation. Add to EDS 2 ‘Action’ column: (v) In conjunction with MCCE and other appropriate agencies, seek to maximise business support opportunities arising from the new Business Link structure (April 2007). Add to EDS 5 (formerly 4) ‘Action’ column: (ii) Support the work of the LSC, MCCE, Macclesfield College, Job Centre Plus and CCC in providing the necessary workforce skills for Borough employers. (vi)Chamber comment Cheshire & Warrington Economic Alliance should be added to the list of partners in the ‘Action’ and ‘Delivery’ columns for EDS 9 MBC response Add CWEA to respective columns Action Plan : Objective 2 (i)Chamber comment Supply of available employment land is insufficient to meet long term needs based on the evidence in the Macclesfield Property Study. This makes it imperative that the South Macclesfield site is evaluated to determine its economic viability. If unviable then there should be acknowledgement of the need to identify alternative employment land. The Chamber supports the proposal to provide managed workspace/incubator facilities on the South Macclesfield site but believes that other locations should also be considered. Accessing ‘ring fenced’ resources from CCC following the sale of Venture House, Macclesfield, should be explored to support such a project. MBC response Paragraphs 4.40 to 4.44 acknowledge the lack of available employment land and the urgent need to bring forward land at South Macclesfield for employment development. This is fed through into the Action Plan which proposes a Feasibility Study to assess its viability (EDS 9). It is also suggested that the Feasibility Study/Property Study feed into the Local Development Framework, including a review of the distribution of employment land in the Borough. The LDF is the appropriate arena to determine the need for additional employment land. Amend EDS 10 ‘Outcomes’ column : after ‘Financial viability established’, add ‘If unviable, identify alternative options through the LDF process’. Amend EDS 11 ‘Outcomes’ column : after …..‘at South Macclesfield employment site’, add ‘ /other locations. Financial support from CCC to be pursued to progress suitable projects.’ Action Plan : Objective 3 (i)Chamber comment Lobbying for rail infrastructure should be added to the proposed activities MBC response Add new EDS 16 to cover this point (see Action Plan) (ii)Chamber comment There is a need to develop additional car parking in town centres and rail stations MBC response Addressing the issue of car parking requires taking a balance between Government policies promoting an emphasis on more sustainable forms of transport than the car, and appropriate local provision to meet shopper, residents, commuter and business needs. A detailed Action Plan to deliver a Car Parking Strategy is being progressed by the Borough Council. This will also feed into the Town and District Centres Strategy Action Plans to be progressed under EDS 5. Amend EDS 17 ‘Action’ column : add ‘Develop Car Parking Strategy Action Plan for the Borough.’ (iii)Chamber comment Active support and lobbying for the M6/A556/M56 improvements should be added MBC response Amend EDS 15 ‘ Activity’ column : Add ‘M56/M6/A556 improvements/traffic management’. Action Plan: Objective 4 (i)Chamber comment Actions to support tourism should be added to support this objective. Town/village centre action plans should also refer. MBC response More appropriate to include tourism support under Objective 1.Add new EDS 7 ‘Activity’ : ‘Tourism support’. Add to ‘Action’ column: ‘Work with the Cheshire & Warrington Tourism Board and Peaks & Plains of Cheshire to promote tourism opportunities benefiting the local economy.’ Action Plan : Objective 5 (i)Chamber comment MBC should explore whether actions emanating from the LSP could be cross referenced in the Economic Development Strategy to create greater focus of effort on the areas of deprivation in the Borough. MBC should consider surveying areas of deprivation and encourage property owners to improve them. MBC response The areas of priority for the LSP have still to be finalised and it would be premature at this stage to link specific actions. However the Strategy recognises that the LSP is the lead body for progressing regeneration activity for areas of deprivation. The Strategy proposes appraising current regeneration activity led by the LSP to provide baseline evidence which can be used to inform future activity. Supply of Housing (i)Chamber comment The Chamber have identified this as a particular priority which is not addressed in the Action Plan. There is insufficient supply for people employed in the Borough and if not addressed, will compromise wealth creation. ‘Affordable housing’ needs to be affordable for new and recent graduates entering the employment market. An adequate supply of housing supports sustainable economic development by minimising commuter traffic into the Borough. MBC comment Cheshire Structure Plan requires 3,100 new dwellings to be provided 2002 – 2016. Because of the rate at which permissions and windfall sites have come forward there are only 600 sites from 2002 to be found to meet this target. This has led to the introduction of the Restrictive Housing policy to ensure the Structure Plan target is met. However the emerging Regional Spatial Strategy is suggesting a higher rate of housing provision for the Borough and if adopted would lead to adjustments in housing provision and phasing. The Council is also now required to ensure a 5 year supply of land is maintained. The Restrictive Housing policy is also being used to address the affordable housing issue (identified in paragraphs 4.85 – 4.88 of the Draft Economic Development Strategy, which acknowledges the effects on the economy of a continuing shortfall). The policy is seeking to achieve 100% affordable housing on some sites and the Council has a corporate task to provide at least 100 affordable housing units per year. This may mean that a higher proportion of affordable housing is negotiated on housing sites than in the past. It is accepted that the affordable housing issue should be referenced under Objective 1 of the Action Plan. Add new EDS 3 :’Activity’: ‘Encourage and support the delivery of affordable housing’ Cheshire County Council The County Council commend the Borough Council on an excellent strategy, particularly the accurate analysis of the issues affecting the local economy and use of high quality and relevant research data. Support and assistance will be given to the Borough Council through the annual review of the Strategy CCC is happy to work with the Borough to address the reduction in the new business formation rate. CCC support the SRES proposal to address the affordable housing issue Support for the Economic Development & Enterprise block of the LSP Support the Borough’s work on the South Macclesfield Employment site in terms of feasibility and possible incubation scheme Support for ‘ Made in Cheshire’ initiative and continued inward investment support noted. The support of start ups by CCC through grant aid to MCCE to be noted. MBC response The support of Cheshire County Council is welcomed. In respect of start up support add ‘CCC’ to the ‘Delivery’ column of EDS1 in the Action Plan. Suggested amendments by CCC to the Action Plan (i)CCC comment Include Key Account Managers (KAMs) in EDS 2 and MBC financial contribution. MBC response Under EDS 2 ‘Action’ column, point (iv), add ‘KAMs’ to ‘Delivery’ column and ‘£500 06/07’ to ‘Funding/Resources’ column. Add new para 4.19 : ‘The Borough Council is also continuing to work with the CWEA’s Key Account Manager (KAM) whose purpose is to establish relations with companies of importance to the local economy to advise of business support services, and facilitate this where needed.’ (ii) CCC comment Include CWEA as ‘Delivery’ partner for International School project (EDS 7) MBC response Amend as requested (iii) CCC comment Include CCC, MBC in ‘Funding/Resources’ column of EDS 9 MBC response Relates to assessment of the reports findings, not to the funding of the report. (iv) CCC comment Include technical support and facilitation of NWDA property enquiries by CCC in ‘Action’ column of EDS 12 MBC response Amend as requested (v) CCC comment MBC to support extension of ‘Made in Cheshire’ initiative for further 3 years via DEFRA and NWDA (under EDS 20) MBC response Amend as requested Manchester Airport MA comment Support for the clear vision of the Strategy, and is an objective of much of the Airport’s own activity. However disappointed that there is no recognition of the role of the Airport as an economic engine for the regional, sub-regional and local economy. The Airport is treated as a transport matter rather than the economic opportunity that the Airport offers. MBC response Manchester Airport has long been recognised by the Borough Council as an important economic driver for the region and local economy. There are references to the importance of the Airport in the SWOT analysis recognising the advantages of proximity and business opportunities arising from growth of the Airport. However is accepted that this should be emphasized more in the text of the Strategy. Add new para 4.20: ‘The presence of Manchester Airport on the Borough boundary brings major benefits to the local economy, providing around 2000 jobs for Borough residents, access to international markets, tourism opportunities, and supplier chain benefits. It is also a major asset in a global economy and of particular importance to the strong knowledge economy in the Borough.’ Add to para 4.71: ‘Proximity to an expanding Manchester Airport is a major advantage, bringing tourism opportunities, particularly business tourism, to the Borough.’ MA comment The Manchester City Region Development Programme emphasizes financial services and life science industries as especially valuable assets, which are very strong in the Borough. This is also recognised in the Sub Regional Economic Strategy, which highlights the importance of the Airport to the ‘North East Cheshire Growth Engine’ . This is overlooked in the Borough Draft Strategy and furthermore there is no direction or leadership from the Borough Council on how to link growing businesses with skill enhancement and the promotion of neighbourhood renewal. MBC response References to Financial services are made in the Strategy in paragraphs 4.13 and 4.17 and there are also acknowledged as a key strength in the SWOT analysis. The importance of pharmaceuticals (Life science sector)) is highlighted in paragraphs 4.16 and 4.18, and acknowledged in the SWOT analysis. The Borough Council works in partnership with other agencies to address skill needs and neighbourhood renewal. For example the implementation of the Learning Zone will improve vocational and academic educational opportunities. The Council is also leading on a project to bring forward a major employment site at South Macclesfield which if realised could link with the Learning Zone in terms of skill development needs, and initiatives to continue the regeneration of the adjacent Moss Rose estate. MA comment No clear direction on how the regeneration objectives can be achieved or clear measures of success. It is important to have targeted actions. MBC response Regeneration initiatives and targets will emerge from the LSP, which will act as the lead body in progressing these. These are at an early stage and will be incorporated into a review of the Strategy. MA comment It is important to have a joined up approach to economic development, spatial strategy and transport infrastructure. The LDF should recognise the need for available employment land and set out an allocation to capture that arising from the Borough’s principal assets, including economic activity generated by Manchester Airport. The Strategy is inward looking with too much emphasis on the status quo. It is at odds with the economic development agenda set out in the Northern Way Strategy and Manchester City Region Development Programme. MBC response The Borough Council is opening up employment land at Parkgate Industrial Estate in partnership with a developer, and is seeking to do the same at South Macclesfield. If the latter cannot be progressed there will be a need to assess alternative options including the need for additional allocations. This will be progressed through the LDF. The Strategy operates within a strategic planning restraint framework where growth potential has to be balanced by environmental policies and support for the regeneration of the Manchester conurbation. The emerging Regional Spatial Strategy, within which sit the City Regional Development Policies, will not be adopted until 2007, and will feed into a review of the Borough Economic Development Strategy. Comment from a Resident Comments relate mainly to car parking provision in Knutsford Town Centre. Car parking provision is at crisis point and there should be a policy to prevent any development that cannot provide all necessary car parking on site. The shortage of parking deters shoppers and thus effects the economic viability of the town centre. There are too many A3 users and a policy should be adopted to prevent any further permissions. MBC response The car parking issue is acknowledged and will feed into the LDF preparation and the forthcoming Car Parking Strategy Action Plans and the Knutsford Town Centre Action Plan. Current Local Plan policies restrict the amount of A3 uses to protect vitality and viability. This will be reviewed in the LDF.
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