Agenda and draft minutes

Environment, Housing and Regeneration Select Committee
Wednesday, 16th March, 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 5 - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Neil Fraser  Email: nfraser@hillingdon.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

69.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Kauffman, with Councillor Ahmad-Wallana present as substitute.

70.

Declaration of Interest in matters coming before this meeting

Minutes:

None.

71.

To confirm that all items marked Part 1 will be considered in Public and that any items marked Part 2 will be considered in Private

Minutes:

It was confirmed that all items would be considered in public.

72.

To agree the Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 112 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the meeting held on 16 February 2022 be approved as a correct record.

73.

Redevelopment of High Streets following the COVID-19 Pandemic pdf icon PDF 162 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Helena Webster - Community Engagement & Town Improvements Manager, Stephanie Waterford - Head of Trading Standards, Environmental Health, Licensing & ASBET, and Nigel Cramb - Partnerships and Business Engagement Manager, introduced a report detailing the work undertaken by the Council to help regenerate the Borough’s High Streets following the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The report was summarised, with Town Centre Improvements, including the use of grant funding to provide the ‘Welcome Back’ branding, temporary street furniture hire, and support for local businesses, all highlighted. The events and promotions carried out to incentivise increased footfall and promotion for local business were set out as per the report, and included events such as the Christmas Lighting Programme, arts and crafts festivals, and family food days.

 

The ‘Welcome Back’ initiative also allowed for the trial of temporary public realm changes and the installation of ‘parklets’ to help restaurants/cafes maximise available outdoor seating and patron safety.

 

Businesses were further being supported through the offer of a free training programme covering digital marketing. On this, officers advised that difficulty in identifying relevant businesses who could take advantage of the training was the main barrier to the uptake of the programme. Further information gathering and evaluation would allow for improvements to be made in this area moving forward.

 

The economic development of Uxbridge was expanded upon, with the Committee advised that, like a number of larger town centres, Uxbridge High Street had suffered from the closure of high profile, anchor stores and footfall had subsequently reduced. To address this, the Business Improvement District (BID) had carried out a number of actions including support for visitor health and safety, advice and support for businesses, promotional campaigns as the High Street re-opened, and events such as the Christmas Lights.

 

Additionally, the GLA provided the ‘High Streets For All Fund’, which was used in Hillingdon to commission research on residents and their use of the High Street. The research was currently being compiled for evaluation and would then be used to inform further actions to promote the High Street moving forward. The financial support provided by central government was also highlighted.

 

The activities of the Regulatory Services throughout the pandemic were outlined, and included visits and inspections, enforcement actions for those in breach of pandemic restrictions, risk assessments, support and guidance for activities, and the processing of licences and permissions for street markets and events. As restrictions had eased, the service had moved to carrying out a programme of catch-up inspections, as well fact-finding and advice for the promotion of local businesses.

 

Regarding inspections and subsequent enforcement action, officers confirmed that these had been carried out through proactive work undertaken by the service in conjunction with intelligence and reporting from residents and Ward Councillors.

 

Some Members provided feedback from themselves and their constituents regarding the events that had been held. While some feedback was positive, other feedback suggested that there was room for improvement.

 

Feedback included the importance of scheduling outdoor events when weather was good, provision for indoor activities if  ...  view the full minutes text for item 73.

74.

Cabinet Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the Cabinet Forward Plan and it was:

 

RESOLVED:  That the Cabinet Forward Plan be noted.

75.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the Committee’s Word Programme and it was:

 

RESOLVED:  That the Work Programme be noted.