Agenda item

Norfolk and Suffolk Local Industrial Strategy

Report of Leader of the Council, Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen.

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council presented the report that asked Members for endorsement of the draft Norfolk and Suffolk Local Industrial Strategy.

 

In October 2018 Government published the Local Industrial Strategy Policy Prospectus that set out its expectations on Local Industrial Strategies (LIS).  A local industrial strategy should bring together a strong, well-informed evidence base about an area’s economy and outline a long-term set of priorities that capitalise on existing opportunities in the economy, address weaknesses and resolve an area’s needs. 

 

The Inward Investment Manager added that the LIS was an expansive document that allowed Breckland Council to have a strong voice in terms of financial distribution and strategy going forward.

 

Councillor Borrett asked if the document gave sufficient weight to the market towns as they were key within Breckland.  The Inward Investment Manager felt the document needed to be strengthened in that regard as Market Towns were essential not just in Breckland but across the County.

 

Councillor Borrett went onto raise his concerns about the electricity distribution across the District, in particular with industrial development not having enough electricity.  The Executive Director of Commercialisation said conversations were underway with the Government, Homes England and locally to try and solve issues to ensure power was at the forefront of the strategic position within Norfolk.  Councillor Borrett understood that the power at Necton was being distributed further afield and not across Norfolk and whilst he had asked if authorities could tap into it, was told that would not be possible.  The Executive Director of Commercialisation informed Members that she had asked the UK Power Network the cost of distribution and it was commented it would cost a significant sum to convert large scale power outputs to neighbourhood level power, that would then need to be distributed.

 

The Leader added he had recently had a conversation with the Secretary of State for International Trade who had not been aware of the power issues across Norfolk and the Eastern Region.

 

It was asked that the response to Government regarding the issues with energy be attached to the LIS response to raise the concern with energy.

 

Councillor Duigan asked for clarity on the term ‘Knowledge Transfer’ that had been cited within the report.  The Inward Investment Manager confirmed it was the way information flowed between the Universities and Research & Development Centres; both of which were activities not available within Breckland due to the rural location of the District. 

 

Councillor Duigan went onto ask what would happen if everyone moved to electric cars as there would not be enough electricity to cope with the demand.  The Executive Director for Commercialisation explained that this would be incremental growth.

 

The Deputy Leader added that from reading the document, the supply of water could also be an issue going forward.  Members were informed that Anglian Water were also aware of and were investing in advance of anticipated need as their programme of activity timelines were in advance.

 

Reasons for Recommendation

1.     To ensure that Breckland’s local future needs were incorporated within the Local Industrial Strategy whilst fully supporting the strategic objectives of the strategy.

2.     To ensure that Breckland Council continued to have a strong voice within Norfolk and Suffolk’s future growth strategy and delivery plan.

 

Options

1.     Cabinet endorse the draft Norfolk and Suffolk Local Industrial Strategy and request that the Leader of the Council write to the Chair of the New Anglia LEP confirming endorsement but pointing out those areas within the Strategy which the Council consider require updating, based on the Officer feedback contained within the documentation.

 

2.     Cabinet endorse the draft Norfolk and Suffolk Local Industrial Strategy on the condition that New Anglia LEP agreed to incorporate updates based on the Officer feedback summarised within the report.

 

3.     Cabinet do not endorse the strategy and risk losing influence during the next strategy delivery period.

 

RESOLVED that Cabinet endorse the draft Norfolk and Suffolk Local Industrial Strategy and request that the Leader of the Council write to the Chair of the New Anglia LEP confirming endorsement but pointing out those areas within the Strategy which the Council consider require updating, based on the Officer feedback contained in the documentation. 

In addition, the LIS response should include the response to Government regarding the concerns with energy.

Supporting documents: