Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Lynn Cain  Email:

No. Item


Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary and Non-Disclosable Pecuniary/Other Interests


There were no declarations of interest made.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 150 KB



that the minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 26th July, 2016, be received and approved.


Introduction to New Scrutiny Review - Encouraging Small/Medium Businesses into Ashfield and Filling Empty Shop Units pdf icon PDF 184 KB


The Chairman introduced the item and explained that the topic had been placed on the Scrutiny Workplan to enable the Panel to explore and understand what actions the Council already had in place to encourage the local economy through supporting and assisting small to medium businesses.  There would also be the opportunity for the Panel to consider what more could be done to ensure that empty shops and units continue to be occupied.


Carol Cooper Smith, the Council’s Interim Service Director for Planning and Economic Development and Paul Thomas, the Council’s Shared Service Regeneration Manager, were also welcomed to the meeting.


The Scrutiny Manager proceeded to give a brief overview of the values identified in the Council’s Corporate Plan for Ashfield to be “Enterprising, Ambitious and Innovative.”  The Council already had an excellent track record for providing high quality business support through the “Ambition for Ashfield and Mansfield” programmes and the overall aim had always been to create vibrant town centres that offered a variety of destinations for quality goods and service.


When the item was initially placed on the Scrutiny Workplan, Members had indicated that they were interested in the following:-


·         What main challenges were being faced by the Council with regard to filling empty shops and units;


·         How were small/medium business being encouraged to set up within Ashfield;


·         What the Council was currently doing regarding ongoing high street issues;


·         How the Portas funding had been spent;


·         How many empty shops/units were there currently within the Ashfield District?


Prior to establishing the remit for the review, Members were asked to consider what they wanted to gain from the exercise, what information was required and if they would wish to speak to any new business representatives or market stall holders/shop owners to gather any additional data to inform any outcomes.


At this point the Scrutiny Manager handed over to the Regeneration Manager who undertook a presentation to the Committee. 


Current town centre challenges being faced by the Council fell into the following categories:-


·         Changing shopping habits including the shift towards online shopping;


·         Vacant premises and their long term impact on town centre viability;


·         Balance of uses/arrangement of shops to encourage shoppers to visit both ends of a town centre;


·         Accessibility in relation to public transport, private transport and car parking facilities;


·         Appearance of the town centre to encourage footfall and facilitate an enjoyable experience;


·         Disposable income within the local economy and providing a range of shops that appealed to the local demographic.


The Council’s Regeneration Team continued to encourage and attract businesses into the District in a variety of ways:-


Invest Ashfield and Mansfield

Invest Ashfield & Mansfield was an initiative aimed at promoting the area as a place to do business, both helping existing businesses grow and attracting new ones into the area.  The website offered commercial property searches for potential new businesses or existing businesses looking to expand or relocate, promoted business events and provided ambassadors to celebrate success and showcase the area as a place to do business  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.