An opportunity for the Committee to question the Cabinet Member, Councillor Alan Strickland, on the Economic Development and Social Inclusion portfolio.
The Committee received a brief update of the Cabinet Member portfolio for Economic Development and Social Inclusion.
· Tottenham Regeneration – the Council had set out 12 pledges to the community with key items of work by end of calendar year. Councillor Strickland placed on record his thanks to the officers involved with the works already carried out.
· A new team had been introduced to tackle grime and enforcement issues in Tottenham in the form of a neighbourhood action team, launched in March 2012.
· Activities had been arranged in Tottenham High Road to bring more people to Tottenham and restore confidence. A number of events had taken place – medley market, film festival (400 people attended), and there would be a music festival in December.
· The Bruce Grove Youth Centre was re-launched in April 2012 and had run a summer programme.
· The Jobs for Haringey scheme had been launched in May 2012 and had so far made good progress. 48 people had been helped into work through the brokerage scheme and 17 new jobs had been created locally. There had been 154 applications jobs to be created, with a target of 200. There had been good interest from local businesses, with officers working hard to challenge developers to create local jobs and recruit locally.
· A new enterprise centre was due to open at 639 High Rd - a temporary building (639b) had opened in July and was run by the London Youth Support Trust.
· Phase 1 of the Spurs development started on 24 September, starting with the supermarket development.
· The Authority was keen to make sure that the community were involved in regeneration. Working groups had been set up in Tottenham Green, Bruce Grove and West Green Road, and chaired by local Councillors. Successful meetings had been held over the summer period, supported by the Princes foundation to work up designs for Tottenham Green.
· Tottenham High Road - the Post Office was relocated in January, Job Centre Plus had now been reopened and both Aldi and Carpet Right had been granted planning permission to re-build.
· Work on removing the Tottenham Hale Gyratory was due to begin next month.
· Good progress had been made on the 12 pledges, and a progress report would be published at the end of the year.
· Town centres – Councillor Strickland was keen to get to learn more about the Borough’s town centres in greater detail. There were challenges across the whole Borough. £100k Government funding had been received to support town centres and this money would be distributed as follows: £50k to West Green Road, and the remaining £50k would be split between the remaining five town centres to support local initiatives and drive growth.
· Planning policies group had been set up, with cross party membership, to work through policies and ensure that these reflect political and local priorities.
· There had been good activity across the borough during the Olympic period – arts programme at Bruce Castle Park, art exhibition at Bruce Castle museum, a one-day festival in Bruce Castle Park (with 7000 attendees) and Holland Heineken House at Alexandra Palace. However, it was acknowledged that Crouch End, Muswell Hill and Wood Green did not receive as many visitors as would have been liked.
· 200,000 people had lined the streets for the torch route, with 7000 people attending the evening celebration at Alexandra Palace.
· There were worries about the number of residents struggling financially and rise of pay day loan shops across the borough. The Council had agreed to lend £750k (in 3 batches) to the Credit Union for them to work with local people.
Councillor Strickland and Marc Dorfman took questions from the Committee:
How would the money for West Green Road be spent, and how would this tie in with the development of Wards Corner
The Wards Corner development was situated at the east end of West Green Road - much needed regeneration in the area next to the tube station. The Lawrence Road development would be situated further along the road. These two developments would take some time to complete, so the Council were keen to give an initial boost to the road – a task and finish group would be set up to decide how to spend the £50k funding. It was important that there was a local responsibility for area – for example, if every trader repainted their shop frontage then the look and feel of the high street could be improved.
What was the position of the appeal against the 2011 Wards Corner decision
The 2011 appeal had been withdrawn by Grainger. Planning permission for the development had been granted in June 2012, and the s106 agreement signed, however Judicial Review had been lodged against this.
Graingers has an ongoing commitment to Wards Corner, and therefore were not expected to withdraw due to the delays.
What type of jobs had been created under the enterprise scheme
Efforts were made to ensure that there was a good mix of jobs, with a balance in all areas of the borough.
Town centres could be seen as ‘things of the past’ – what work was being done to deal with these difficulties, particularly in Tottenham High Street.
The Council had concerns over it’s town centres, however the shop vacancy rate was 6.4% compared to the London average of 10%. Muswell Hill was a particular concern. Tottenham High Street was a particular problem due to the length of the street, and this needed to be looked at in closer detail.
In relation to housing above shops, it was vital that these types of properties were monitored. The HMO licensing scheme expansion would start to deal with issues in these properties.
Credit union – there were no premises in east of borough where they were most needed
This was one of the key challenges put to the Credit Unions, and it was found that the reason for this was that in order to keep costs down, fewer premises were rented. It was suggested to them that they needed to have a proactive ways of reaching residents, and the idea of pop-up shops / outreach in areas which currently had no access was discussed.
What work was being carried out to enable young people to build up work experience
Councillor Strickland agreed that this was a struggle for young people. The Council had been encouraging businesses to go into schools and talk to young people and to provide work experience places. The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CHENEL) were working hard on apprenticeships and also established 10 pre-apprenticeship programmes.
There were some good examples in the Borough of schools building informal relationships with businesses. Gladesmore had linked with Moody’s (city based finance company), who had arranged for pupils to have practice interviews with senior officers from the company.
What scope was there to carry out work to secondary roads once the ‘town centres’ had been improved.
Although the Council was keen to improve other roads, it was important to remember that the funding was additional Government funding and there was no budget for additional road improvements.
There was a perceived lack of active planning enforcement – how was this being addressed.
There had been a lot of progress and success – there had been more prosecutions made in the last year than over the past ten years. £18k of fines has been allocated where enforcement notices had not been complied with. The enforcement team were relatively successful in moving from simple warnings and negotiations and were quicker to enforce and prosecute.
New legislation in the Localism Act allowed the Council to pull down hoardings and graffiti and then charge building but there were still priorities on what issues should be dealt with. An area based enforcement update was due at the next Regulatory Committee, which would detail demand for enforcement and where issues had been addressed.
Outcomes from Muswell Hill walkabout – request for use of space behind library
Councillor Strickland agreed to chase up this issue and provide a response to the Committee.
Were there any plans for mitigating the increase in business rates, considering the effect of re-evaluation at 2008 levels may have on rate payers
Throughout the recession a system had operated whereby rate payers could pay smaller rates. However, this was a ‘two edged sword’ for the Council, because smaller business rates meant less income.
The Chair thanked Councillor Strickland and Marc Dorfman for attending the meeting.