Business breakfast event gives input into Uttlesford growth
PUBLISHED: 06:30 23 November 2016
Businesses shared their aspirations for Uttlesford at a breakfast networking meeting.
The event at Saffron Walden Golf Club, organised annually by Uttlesford District Council, saw firms of all sizes and from across the district link up to discuss how to drive forward economic development and attract businesses to the area.
In an open discussion session during the event on Thursday (November 17), business owners outlined their key priorities for Uttlesford.
• Improved transport links
• Clarity over where business rates are spent and a call for a proportion of rates to be re-invested for business
• Better access to the M11
• A stronger sense of identity for Uttlesford, particularly as part of a Cambridge hub effect
• Connecting existing trade forums
• Further expanding superfast broadband and improving mobile phone signal
• Creating more overnight accommodation for tourists and visiting workers
• A good supply of commercial property of all sizes
• Ensuring education, healthcare and other amenities were of good quality to attract business owners to relocate to the area.
Julie Redfern, district councillor for economic development, said: “At Uttlesford District Council we have long recognised the importance of having successful businesses who employ people and generate wealth. Our focus is on supporting you in a number of ways.
“It is easy to focus on the things that are not as good, but there are a lot of positives we can take.
“Economic development is a key priority for the council, and the feedback which comes direct from local businesses is vital in helping shape the way we support and grow business within the district. We are really keen to hear what they have to say.”
Cllr Redfern championed the economic development strategy drawn up by the council, and applauded the high number of successful rural business grants won by companies in the district.
She also said a Business Improvement District could be set up for Saffron Walden.
Gerald Carey from Archant, publisher of the Saffron Walden Reporter and Dunmow Broadcast, also outlined the Uttlesford Business Awards recently launched by the media group and sponsored by London Stansted Airport and Uttlesford District Council.
The event also saw a presentation from the council about the draft Local Plan and the importance of the document to businesses.
Jo Heart, from Mantel Business Centres, said: “It is the first time I have been to this event and it was interesting to learn more about the input Uttlesford District Council has, its plans and aspirations for local business, and how it can support small and medium size businesses.
“It was also good to learn about how we might get more involved with that, and networking and meeting other businesses you don’t already know is also useful.”