The Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, the Town Centre and Strategic Partnerships presented the Bromsgrove Town Centre Management Strategy Action Plan for the period April 2021 to March 2022.
Members were advised that the previous Bromsgrove Town Centres Manager had departed the authority and unfortunately it had not been possible to recruit a replacement by the date of the meeting. In the interim period, an events company, Blackberry Productions, were working on managing the town centres on the Council’s behalf. The report therefore provided an update on interim measures that would remain in place until a new Bromsgrove Town Centres Manager was recruited.
The Head of North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration explained that a Business Advisor had been recruited who would cover the business engagement duties usually undertaken by the Bromsgrove Town Centres Manager. There were an increasing number of online retailers operating in Bromsgrove District and the Business Advisor would assist these companies with matters such as non-Covid grant applications and the adoption of digital technology. In addition, there had been recent investments in the former St John’s Wine Rooms, which indicated that there were signs of confidence in Bromsgrove town centre.
Members discussed the report and in so doing noted that Aston Fields had been added to the list of town centres that were managed by the Council. Members noted that Aston Fields was an important strategic link for Bromsgrove, as Bromsgrove Train Station was located in that ward.
During consideration of this item, reference was made to the Overview and Scrutiny Board’s pre-scrutiny of the report at a meeting held on 13th September 2021. The Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Board explained that Members had raised concerns that the loss of staff had had an impact in the town centres. The Board had agreed that the situation in a number of the town centres had changed since the Action Plan was developed and, therefore, as well as approving the strategy, the Board had recommended that the relevant lead officer should visit all of the town centres to observe the conditions and then subsequently update the Action Plan.
The Overview and Scrutiny Board’s recommendation was discussed and it was noted that this proposal would add value to the management of the town centres in Bromsgrove District. For this reason, the recommendation was approved.
1) The Bromsgrove Centres Management Action Plan (April 2021 – March 2022) be approved; and
2) At the earliest opportunity the relevant officers revisit the Town Centres to update the plan and offer support.