To consider a report of the Corporate Director (Place) and Deputy Chief Executive
The report provides information about the progress with work to develop and produce a new economic plan for Stockport, and how it relates to the Local Plan and the Borough Plan. The report is intended to be part of the early stage engagement in developing the Economic Plan, particularly focusing on emerging issues, and is part of a wider programme of engagement with stakeholders.
The Scrutiny Committee is recommended to:-
· Consider the emerging evidence issues raised in the report, and provide feedback as part of the Economic Plan consultation and co-design.
· Help encourage engagement in the consultation and co-design process by local communities and organisations.
· Note that a further update report will be submitted to the meeting on 20 January 2022.
The Corporate Director (Place) and Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) on progress which had been made with work to develop and produce a new economic plan for Stockport, and how it related to the Local Plan and the Borough Plan. The report was intended to be part of the early stage engagement in developing the Economic Plan, particularly focusing on emerging issues, and was part of a wider programme of engagement with stakeholders.
Patrick Gulliver from the consultants, Hatch, attended the meeting to update the Scrutiny Committee on the work which had been undertaken.
The Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration (Councillor David Meller) attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Scrutiny Committee.
The following comments were made/issues raised:-
· Reference was made in the ‘People Summary’ to the comment that Stockport’s ageing population was a multi-faceted challenge. Overall Stockport had a paucity of young professionals and this would have significant implications for the role and functions of Stockport’s town and neighbourhood centres. In effect, the economically active population was becoming smaller.
· Males, early career, and older workers had been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. More data was required on why men had been more affected by job losses during the pandemic. Hatch consultants agreed to provide a fuller, evidence-based analysis of the situation. This would tie in with the Committee’s Scrutiny Review on Stockport’s District Centres post Covid-19 Pandemic.
· District Centres had to part of any economic plan. The propensity of young people to move out of the district centres and the number of vacant sites and brownfield sites in economic decline were significant. The Covid-19 pandemic had alerted people more prominently to the condition of their local neighbourhoods.
· The question could be asked how the Economic Plan could be used to support the borough’s most deprived neighbourhoods. The socio- economic inequality in Stockport had been a significant problem for a long time. Housing was one way of addressing those inequalities, but it was not solely by having more affordable housing in the northern part of the borough.
· The feedback from micro-businesses who were not members of any ‘umbrella’ organisation was important.
· Engagement with businesses had taken place through the Stockport Economic Alliance, an advertisement in the Business Bulletin and 1:1 discussions and business focus groups through the existing business ‘umbrella’ groups.
· It would be difficult to produce a definitive Stockport Economic Plan because there so many component parts in a constant state of flux and volatility, and therefore it would need to be updated on a regular basis.
RESOLVED – That the report be noted.