The Executive Member for Jobs and economy updated Members on the services under the remit of the portfolio.
The Executive Member paid tribute to staff proactively reacting since the Covid lockdown in supporting business and the community, particularly in the speed at which grant applications were processed.
Actions delivered or progressed on the Council’s T10 projects included:
· Going to Town and Investing in Prosperity
Successful Future High Street Fund application; £9m bid for Market Hall, Queen St cycle improvements, decked car park; and Premier Inn in Teignmouth and Travelodge in Newton Abbot.
The Future High Street Fund is a significant bid for transformational improvements to Newton Abbot town center, for improvements to the market’s quarter, Queen Street public realm, cycling and accessibility, and Cricketfield car park capacity increase.
Covid had delayed many projects and had significantly affected the economy, particularly the leisure centers and Newton Abbot markets.
Unemployment had risen particularly for the 16 to 24 year olds, which was above the national average for Teignbridge. The effect on the economy had particularly affected the accommodation and food services, which was a national trend.
The Economic Development team were looking to take on a Kickstarter to assist with tourism and town center based projects, including setting up the Coastal Contribution scheme. The Coastal Contribution was a proposed visitor donation scheme, asking paying guests at participating accommodation providers (within one mile off the Teignbridge coast) to voluntarily pay £1 per room per night, capped at £3. The funds raised would be used to pay for conservation and tourism related projects for the coastal areas of Teignbridge. Feedback had been positive. The Kickstarter would be in place from March to August 2021, after which it was hoped the businesses themselves would manage most of the scheme with support from the Council.
· Great Places to Live and Work
Current projects included moving towards electric vehicles, supporting businesses and communities to encourage carbon emission reductions,
and working in partnership with parishes and towns to ensure car parks
were used to potential.
Successes for the car parks service included: an increase in the amount of customers using cashless parking payments; going live on a new parking management system, new machines purchased to replace existing stock; and 4 new car parks (3 pay and display and 1 reserved car park).
The Council was successful in working with businesses, delivering Covid grant scheme; had excellent connections with local businesses; and staff with expertise and knowledge. The Council was continuing to financially support businesses through the deployment of national grant schemes, from which 661 local businesses had benefitted. The Council was now delivering the Winter £5 million Programme of Local Restriction Support Grants and Additional Restrictions Grants, and working with community and business organisations to develop longer term plans for economic recovery.
In response to questions from the Committee: it was noted that the Car Park Review Group was meeting regularly to progress improvements, and would be reporting progress to the Committee; and the Leader advised he would approach Devon County Council regarding the school holiday hunger voucher scheme to extend the places the vouchers could be redeemed to include local shops and businesses.
The full presentation can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E109lUUY-JI