Agenda Item No. 3 meeting: MM I N U T E S REGENERATING WOLVERHAMPTON SCRUTINY PANEL date: 21 APRIL 2005 PRESENT:- PRESENT:- Councillor L J Turner (Chair) Councillors Bowen (part), Constable (part), Lockett, Newman, Mrs P A Patten, Mrs Thompson and Wynne (part) ABSENCE:- APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:- Apologies for absence were submitted from on behalf of Councillors Gwinnett, Jones and Page and Paul Buszard (guest speaker, University of Wolverhampton) ATTENDANCE:- IN ATTENDANCE:- Councillors Mrs Bradley, Byrne, Lockett, Nicholls, Mattu and Mrs Stevenson ATTENDANCE:- OFFICERS IN ATTENDANCE:- K Cannaby - Scrutiny Officer K Hartshorne - Sustainable Communities B Holt - Sustainable Communities B Kay - Children and Young People C Mantle - Scrutiny Officer M Read - Sustainable Communities J Speht - Sustainable Communities K Westwood - Sustainable Communities J Jones - Democratic Support Officer GUEST SPEAKERS Jayne Hettle - Head of Regeneration, Sustainable Communities, Wolverhampton City Council Martyn Jones - Manager, Organisational Advancement – UK Timken Aerospace David Jukes - Managing Director, D A Stuart Ltd Rob Harris - Deputy Director of the Institute for Innovation and Enterprise and Principal Lecturer in Marketing, University of Wolverhampton Angie Took - Wolverhampton City Centre Manager Councillor Louise Miles - Cabinet Member for Economic Development 21 Declarations of Interest No declarations of interest were declared. Minutes 22 Resolved:- That the minutes of the meeting held on 11 January 2005 be approved as a correct record. “Image of the City” The Chair, Councillor L J Turner, welcomed those present and advised that Kevin Westwood, Economic Development Officer, would introduce each of the guest speakers and referred to the Schedule giving background information on the guests (Appendix 1/8). Following their presentations, Councillor Miles, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, would speak to a circulated document entitled “A Proposal for Enhancing the Image/Identity of Wolverhampton” (Appendix 1/9) and ask Members of the Scrutiny Panel to endorse the proposals set out and recommend to Cabinet that an operational plan be developed. Presentations 1. Jayne Hettle – Head of Regeneration, Sustainable Communities Summary of Presentation (i) What has been achieved to date to regenerate the City: Refurbishment of Mander and Wulfrun Lively University Centres New Market Square Molineux Hotel Southbank nearly complete Various industrial buildings Learning Quarter Science Park Wide choice of quality housing Bilston Market Way Bentley Bridge (ii) Future Developments: Dudley Street/Queen Street Springfield Brewery Retail Core Expansion i54 Wobaston Road Canalside Quarter Goodyear Site Transport Interchange (ie Gateway Bilston Urban Village Site into City Bentley Bridge, Phase 2 GKN Site Bilston Town Hall Wednesfield Village Link Industrial Areas/Technology Wolverhampton Development Corridor/Science Park Stage IV Agency Optimistic that all these initiatives will encourage people to work, live, do business and play in the City and help change old perceptions. 2. Martyn Jones – Manager, Organisational Advancement Timken Aerospace Martyn Jones described the long association his company has enjoyed with Wolverhampton and illustrated graphically the far reaching international links Timken Group enjoys (including the USA and Europe). He also described the high quality of Timken’s product and its important community role. Summary of Presentation (i) What can City Council do to improve image? Promote manufacturing base in Wolverhampton. Provide opportunities for visiting corporate executives to be excited about Wolverhampton and to meet Civic Leaders. Provide appropriate marketing media on Wolverhampton. Help navigate the “red tape”. Support Council officers to achieve mutually beneficial objectives. 3. David Jukes – Managing Director – D A Stuart Ltd David had canvassed his national and international customers together with his European based work colleagues so that he could present a consensus of opinions about Wolverhampton. Summary of Presentation (i) Wolverhampton’s Image UK visitors expect City to be dirty, industrialised, old fashioned and with poor facilities. They are pleasantly surprised at the City Centre, University facilities, regeneration, the greenery, people and its history. Overseas visitors have no pre-conceived expectations. Feedback includes: Lack of good quality hotels Lack of good quality restaurants Good rail connections Advantage of closeness to Birmingham Airport Lack of knowledge of Wolverhampton including current and past. The (ii) Suggestions For Getting The Wolverhampton Message Over Have one major focal point Co-ordinated approach – one stop shop/account manager Accentuate the positive ie University, Science Park, i54, skilled people, Heritage, Business Support, Countryside. (iii) Court Decision Makers Continuous Civic input into the business sector Regularly invite the overseas decision makers on an individual and collective basis Help protect existing companies based in Wolverhampton Forge links with other business organisations eg the German – British Chamber of Commerce. Questions to First Three Speakers (i) Councillor Mrs Bradley to David Jukes – Is the Chamber of Commerce as effective as it could be? DJ It could be better. In some areas it is effective, however in other areas there could be improvements. The recent changes at the Black County Chamber will definitely lead to better and more efficient performance. (ii) Councillor Mrs Thompson queried views on restaurants. DJ Own opinion is that they are good but the top quality restaurants are all out of Wolverhampton. The fact that Wolverhampton is a “City” conjures up the image that there will be high quality restaurants. Councillor Miles advised that it was a consistent aim to obtain a top quality hotel/restaurant in the City and that this was an on-going project. (iii) Councillor Bowen – Who will lead the “Proposal for Enhancing the Image/Identity of Wolverhampton?” Councillor Miles – the City Council would take the lead but would work in partnership to the mutual benefit of all involved. Presentations 4. Rob Harris – Deputy Director of the Institute for Innovation and Enterprise and Principal Lecturer in Marketing, University of Wolverhampton Summary of Presentation Rob Harris stated that the University has international links with Tyumen, Moscow, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Madrid, Portugal and had a Centre for International Development. (i) How University views the future International competition will not go away No political will to “prop up” industries or companies in decline International competition means companies have to change Cannot change the world or stop the competition, therefore have to help change happen smoothly. (ii) What changes are needed? To compete internationally, companies need to use technology - To improve produce - To improve productivity Companies need new management skills and knowledge eg - Changing the way their supply chains work - Collaborating with international partners - Finding overseas suppliers and customers (iii) How can the University help? Training programmes eg Exel, MNA etc Supporting industry clusters Consultancy eg IIE Activities (Business Enterprise Network), Business Support for Start Up’s/Spin Out’s, Business Matters/Enterprise Fest Mentoring and Counselling (iv) Conclusion University strongly supportive of initiatives to support local companies in their efforts to maintain international competitiveness and is happy to collaborate with the City Council to help ensure that the City builds on its reputation as a centre of international business. 5. Angie Took – City Centre Manager Summary of Presentation (i) Image and Quality of the City Quality Opinion is that Wolverhampton is based in the past – must change this perception. Quality of the environment is a huge factor – must be clean and safe. Reference made to City Safe; CityEye; Floral City. (ii) Marketing Objectives Developing and strengthening profile of Wolverhampton Developing a varied and unique “events calendar” Liaising with local and national media to create a fresh, positive ‘buzz’ about the City Consistently promoting Wolverhampton City Centre alongside media and marketing partners Creating and strengthening a communication network with our Wolverhampton partners Positively promoting work and membership of the City Centre Company (iii) City Brand Aim of brand is to raise profile of Wolverhampton and market its vibrancy, diversity and accessibility to ensure it becomes recognised nationally and internationally as one of the principal cities in the region. (iv) Wolverhampton Shows Off Businesses across Wolverhampton are being encouraged to participate in a major event being held throughout May to celebrate the granting of City Status. ‘Wolverhampton Shows Off’ is an ‘open city’ event and the Wolverhampton City Centre Company is appealing to organisations to open their doors to allow an ‘access to all areas’ look behind the scenes at features that are not usually open to members of the public. Have encouraged organisations to brand any events being held during May with celebration logos to highlight their involvement. (vi) Marketing Plan Purpose of the marketing and communications plan is to facilitate the Wolverhampton City Centre Company and its partners to connect all city centre activity, identify audiences, build on successes and to promote Wolverhampton in the future. The marketing plan has been prepared by the City Centre Marketing Group Sub- Group. Outlined activities that have already taken place eg development of Wolverhampton brand, dedicated hotline for information events, Events Guide, and pr/media action plan. Emphasised that more partners are needed. (vii) here? Where do we go from here? Must make Wolverhampton a “choice” place to be ie Image + quality = feel good factor = £ investment. Councillor Miles, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, thanked the speakers and referred to the circulated leaflet “A Proposal for Enhancing the Image/Identity of Wolverhampton” and in particular the back page inviting Members of the Panel to endorse the proposals. She referred to the detail in the document and invited Members, if they wished, to write in with responses/observations on the content. Question and Answer Session Following the speeches and presentation of the Proposal document a further question and answer session took place when the following main observations/points were made: (i) Councillor Mrs Thompson – more recognition and promotion of vital links between the University and business sector should be highlighted. (ii) Councillor Mrs Thompson – whilst acknowledging industrial heritage, rural benefits of Wolverhampton should be given equal prominence in order to help change the perception of the City. (iii) Councillor Mrs Bradley – what help is being given to school children by industrialists and the University to pursue skilled jobs? M Jones – try to promote career opportunities and also offer work experience, teacher placement and opportunities for young people to join the company. D Jukes – similar opportunities with work experience and taking on 16/17 year olds. (iv) Councillor Mrs Thompson – must try to change perceptions. The more the City has to offer the more people will be prepared to stay. Overall opinion seems to be that it is easier for graduates to find work in London and the South whilst the West Midlands is more difficult. (v) Councillor Lockett – appears that people who live in the City believe the myth of its historical reputation. Its citizens must believe in the City and appreciate advantages. Many of the big famous cities fail to live up their reputations of having a quality environment. (vi) Councillor Nicholls – great concern at the low budget provision for promoting the City. Councillor Miles – all aware of need to promote City and the need to ensure that budgetary resources are used appropriately to market the City. (vii) Councillor Mrs Stevenson – should take note of the positive impact cultural aspects can have on a city and should bear this in mind as being a great attraction. Should consider pooling cultural benefits with Dudley, Walsall and Sandwell in order to compete. Councillor Councillor Miles – need to bear in mind that different audiences need to be targeted. Wolverhampton people are very proud of their heritage and what it stands for and we do need to market the success of the City to its inhabitants as well as the international/national community. Whilst taking the City forward, this should not be underestimated and the tradition of Timken Aerospace industry is an ideal example of tradition and forward thinking. (viii) Councillor Mrs Thompson – acknowledge history of City but Wolverhampton does have higher than average unemployment and there has been loss of self-esteem. Need to bring back pride. Need also to be aware of crime rates, and how this could impact on the image of the City. Councillor Miles – not seeking to gloss over these areas. The success of the regeneration strategy depends on how it is delivered on the ground and it is very important to talk-up the town. (ix) Councillor Mrs Stevenson – questioned whether problems of M6 affected national/international views on the City. M Jones – no longer seen as a problem. The toll road has had a major positive impact. Would be even better if toll road extended to link with M54. (x) Councillor Mattu – suggested University should devise a short course on how to promote the City. Could involve business champions and key people with the aim of selling Wolverhampton to decision makers. R Harris – confirmed University could be involved in this if required. ____________________________________ The Chair thanked all those present and reminded Members of Martyn Jones’ invitation to visit the company. Those interested were advised to speak to officers after the meeting. Councillor Miles referred to the proposal as set out in the purple box on the back of the circulated document (Appendix 1/9) and asked Members of the Scrutiny Panel to strongly endorse the recommendations. 23 Resolved: That, subject to further work being carried out on the following issues, the proposals detailed in the document ‘A Proposal for Enhancing the Image/Identity of Wolverhampton’ be endorsed and Cabinet recommended that an operational plan be developed: (i) Reference to the desire to offer apprenticeship schemes wherever appropriate to be included. (ii) the need to look at the role of the Mayor and how it fits in with the Council’s system. (iii) the need to take account of the relevance of European policy to ensure the City does not lose input of European structural funding. Vote of Thanks 24 Resolved: That the thanks of the Panel be accorded to the Chair for his able and courteous conduct in the chair during the past municipal year.
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