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Thriving Economy

Report June 2022
Introduction from Cllr Hilary Bastone

This report is the first thematic update report on the progress we are making against our Better Lives for All theme of Stimulating a Thriving Economy.

Since adopting our Corporate Strategy in September 2021, we have made significant progress against the actions set out in our plan.

Some of the recent highlights include:

✔ Working up bids for Government Levelling Up Fund and UK Shared Prosperity Fund to deliver our priorities:

  • Farming, Active Travel, Marine Economy, Business Support
  • Priority infrastructure – Lee Mill West Bound Off Slip

✔ Securing Freeport Status for Plymouth and South Devon Freeport

  • £25m of Government funding
  • Securing investment
  • Creating jobs

✔ Continuing to promote South Hams through our #MyPlace campaign

✔ Agreeing a 3-year partnership agreement with Visit Devon

✔ Completing a £170,000 programme of activities to support our high streets through the Government Welcome Back Fund

✔ Commenced discussions with organisations in South Hams to develop a 3-year marketing strategy for the area

Each action has a number of activities and the following table sets out the progress against those specific activities.

  • 6 Activities are on track
  • 0 Activities are slightly off track but plan in place
  • 1 Activity is at risk of not completing as agreed
  • 0 Activities are not yet due to start

While there has been a lot of positive progress in most actions, unfortunately our plans for a £9m investment in Ivybridge have been impacted and planning permission for the scheme has not been granted. As a result, the next quarterly performance management report to Executive will recommend removing this as an action within the delivery plan.

Over the coming pages, we set out more in-depth updated for each action and subsequent activities.

Action TE1.1 Enhancing the coastal areas

Key Highlights

  • The marine sector is playing a key role within our Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) investment plan for the South Hams – this will greatly enhance our evidence base on our coastal economies and how we can best support them
  • Town centre health reports – data being collated using gazetteer information; car parking usage and vacant unit statistics are being collated to provide baseline information for each town; footfall data collection is being explored.

Key risks / Issues

  • Although unlikely, the investment plan could be rejected by Government

Looking ahead to the next six months

  • Data gathering for town centre health reports should be completed.
  • SPF investment plans will be submitted to Government on 1 August and should be determined by the end of October 2022

Overall Rating GREEN

Green - on track

Action TE1.2 Marketing and advertising of the area

Key Highlights

  • Our #MyPlace campaign has seen a co-ordinated approach to promoting local places, shops, restaurants etc. This also includes a focused campaign through the spring and summer where all town and parish councils have been asked to let us know of any events happening so that we can promote them to hopefully increase footfall.
  • Talks have begun with external partners to develop and implement a three-year marketing strategy

Key risks / issues

None identified

Looking ahead to the next six months

Development of a three-year marketing strategy for the area. Continuing the promotion of our #MyPlace campaign

Overall Rating Green

Green - on track

Action TE1.3 Development of a specific budget for the promotion of the visitor economy

Key Highlights

  • Discussions have taken place with several organisations, and there appears to be little interest in pooling resources. However, there is significant interest in working collaboratively to ensure that marketing campaigns are cohesive and have their impact maximised.
  • Annual partnership agreement has been signed with Visit Devon for 3 years of activities to promote the South Hams visitor economy
  • The Shared Prosperity Fund investment plan includes significant funding that will be put towards active travel and creating better links with our visitor attractions and natural capital. There will also be funding in place to support new posts within the placemaking service, which will enable greater capacity for promotional activities to be delivered

Key Risks / Issues

None identified

Looking ahead to the next six months

Discussions with Visit South Devon are ongoing and will maximise the channels through which the South Hams visitor economy can be promoted.

Overall Rating GREEN

Green - On Track)

Action TE1.4 Provision of grants for our key towns and advice for businesses

Key Highlights

A number of grants were made available during 2021/22 to our towns in order for them to deliver schemes that would encourage people back into the high streets on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally almost £170,000 of government funding was used to promote our key towns. We were able to deliver schemes that made a difference to the appearance of the street scene. This included additional street scene activities, bunting and planter dressing, replanting public areas etc. to enhance the visitor experience.

We continue to commission Business Information Point to deliver business start-up advice across the area and await their latest report on progress.

Key Risks/Issues

None identified

Looking ahead to the next 6 months

Continued support to businesses through our contract with Business Information Point.

Overall Rating - GREEN

Green - On Track

Action TE1.5 Enhancing Ivybridge as a retail and social destination with a £9m investment

Key Highlights

Submission of a planning application to the agreed timetable was successfully achieved.

Key Risks / Issues

At the 7 July 2022 meeting of the Executive consideration was given to a report that presented an update on the Ivybridge Regeneration Project. This followed the meeting of the Development Management Committee held on 6 July. At this meeting the Planning Application was considered and refused.

As a result of the discussions and following his update to the Executive, the Lead Member for Economy proposed that:

  1. the Ivybridge Regeneration Project be now terminated; and
  2. it is noted that £483,925 has been invested into this Project.

Looking ahead to the next six months

Not Applicable

Overall Rating - RED

Red - Not able to deliver

Action TE1.6 All of South Hams main towns will have had the opportunity to update or create a Town Centre Plan by 2024

Key Highlights

  • Linked with Neighbourhood Plans and other town engagement activities.
  • Dialogue between Placemaking and the town councils regarding economic issues.

Key Risks / Issues

  • Possible implications for Council resources.
  • Town councils decide not to prepare a town centre plan.

Looking ahead to the next six months

  • Development of a project plan and identify key milestones.
  • Data gathering for town centre health reports should be completed.

Overall Rating - GREEN - on Track

Action TE1.7 – Develop starter units to provide affordable employment space and marine facilities

Key Highlights

We have continued with our plans for enhancements to marine facilities including

  • Batson Creek Commercial Units: comprises the construction of five new commercial units to deliver 375m2 of new commercial floor space to support local marine businesses.
  • Batson Creek Harbour Depot: comprise the construction of a new purpose built facility within SHDC’s Batson Creek car park.

The schemes remain on budget but behind the original programme due to current challenges within the construction industry the schemes with revised estimated completion in Autumn 2022. The action was rolled forward from 2021/22 delivery plan and while not in line with the original capital plans, is in line with the strategy delivery plan.

Key Risks / Issues

There continue to be unknown risks that could arise from the ongoing construction industry challenges and general supply chain.

Looking ahead to the next six months

Completion of schemes in Autumn

Overall Rating - GREEN - on Track

This update will be considered at South Hams District Council Overview and Scrutiny Meeting on 21 Jul 2022 at 2 p.m.

You can watch the meeting on our YouTube Channel

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