Officer: Shifa Mustafa
Key decision: yes
The Leader welcomed Amy Lamé, London Night Czar, to the Cabinet meeting and for her support in Croydon.
A presentation on the Economic Strategy was provided by the Cabinet Member for Economy & Jobs and outlined how, through the Strategy, Croydon would build and diversify the local economy. Members were informed that the Strategy had been developed through the joint working of three Cabinet Members; the Cabinet Member for Economy & Jobs, the Cabinet Member for Safer Croydon & Communities, and the Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure & Sport; and the local business community. The intention of the Strategy, it was stated, was to put Croydon’s businesses and residents at the heart of the economy as it was recognised that work to build and deliver the Strategy had to be collaborative.
There were a number of areas of development which were outlined within the Strategy; including the development of a university in Croydon, improving open spaces, supporting local businesses and creating ambitious opportunities through sustainable growth.
Members were informed that the main query during the consultation of the Strategy had been how would success be measured, and were informed that there would be annual evaluations and plans. It was important to ensure there were good jobs in the borough and the council would continue to encourage local businesses to pay staff the London Living Wage.
The Cabinet Member for Safer Croydon & Communities spoke on the 6 till Late Plan which recognised the importance of creating a plan which fostered an evening and night-time economy within the borough. It was the ambition to support Croydon in becoming a night-time social destination, not just for residents, but also across London which people found safe and supported local businesses. The Cabinet Member thanked the Steering Group for the night-time economy for their commitment to creating the plan which built upon the strengths of the night-time economy and recognised the individuality of different areas.
The importance of culture was recognised as an important aspect of the Strategy and the Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure & Sport stated that the council wanted to see a vibrant series of events across the borough. Members were delighted that the renovated Fairfield Halls had reopened, but also recognised a number of innovative projects taking place across the borough including board game cafes, traditional pubs, music events, and the varied events which took place.
The council was congratulated by the London Night Czar for driving forward the creation of a strategy forward which was an important piece of work to support the local economy. It was stated that 1.6 million Londoners worked at night and a large number of Londoners were active at night. Furthermore, it was known that the London night-time economy was growing at a faster rate than the daytime economy and, as such, it was important to develop plans to support the growth. The London Night Czar stated that Croydon were leading the way for planning for this growth and would inspire other London boroughs to review and support their night-time economies also.
It was recognised that Croydon was undergoing a large amount of renovation which would see the population grow substantially and by planning and supporting the local economy it was suggested that the Strategy would support in making Croydon an even better place to live, work and visit.
Members thanked those involved in the development of the Strategy as it demonstrated that by working collaboratively across Cabinet Member portfolios and with the local economy that culture could be put at the heart of regeneration which benefitted the local community. Local businesses were benefiting also by supporting and attending events held across the borough which raised awareness of their work also. The Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport & Regeneration (Job Share) confirmed that local pubs were recognised within the Local Plan and stressed the importance of Local Place Plans to support them further from redevelopment.
Members further welcomed the focus on inclusivity and diversity through supporting increased in employment rates of under-represented groups, and for the focus to support young people to socialise and get jobs.
Members noted that the Strategy had been to pre-decision scrutiny and the Chair of Scrutiny & Overview Committee thanked Cabinet Members and officers for taking on board the recommendations from scrutiny.
The Leader of the Council delegated authority to the Cabinet to make the following decisions:
1. Endorse and adopt the Economic Strategy 2019-2024, attached to the report at appendix 1; and
2. Endorse and adopt 6 ‘til Late our Evening and Night Time Economy Plan for Croydon, attached to the report at appendix 2.