Venue: Committee Rooms 1 & 2 Harrow Civic Centre
Contact: Alison Atherton, Senior Professional Democratic Services Tel: 020 8424 1266 E-mail: email@example.com
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary or non pecuniary interests, arising from business to be transacted at this meeting, from:
(a) all Members of the Panel;
(b) all other Members present.
RESOLVED: To note that the following interest was declared:
Agenda Item 8 – Information Report – Draft Revenue Budget 2016/17 and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2016/17 to 2019/20 and Capital Programme 2016/17 to 2019/20
During the course of the meeting, Councillor Bharat Thakker declared a non?pecuniary interest in that his wife, who was a solicitor based in Harrow town centre, had had her office relocated outside of Harrow. He would remain in the room whilst the matter was considered and voted upon.
Appointment of Vice-Chair
To consider the appointment of a Vice-Chair for the remainder of the Municipal Year 2015-16.
RESOLVED: To appoint Councillor Kam Chana as Vice-Chair of the Harrow Business Consultative Panel for the 2015/2016 Municipal Year.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 27 January 2015 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 27 January 2015 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.
To receive any public questions received in accordance with Executive Procedure Rule 50 (Part 4D of the Constitution).
Questions will be asked in the order notice of them was received and there be a time limit of 15 minutes.
[The deadline for receipt of public questions is 3.00 pm, <DATE>. Questions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
No person may submit more than one question].
RESOLVED: To note that no public questions were received.
To receive petitions (if any) submitted by members of the public/Councillors under the provisions of Executive Procedure Rule 48 (Part 4D of the Constitution).
RESOLVED: To note that no petitions had been received.
To receive deputations (if any) under the provisions of Executive Procedure Rule 49 (Part 4D of the Constitution).
RESOLVED: To note that no deputations were received at this meeting under the provisions of Executive Procedure Rule 48 (Part 4D of the Constitution).
Report of the Director of Finance
Members received a report of the Director of Finance which set out the Council’s proposals for the draft Revenue Budget 2016/17 and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2016/17 to 2019/20 and Capital Programme 2016/17 to 2019/20 for consultation.
The Chair welcomed local business representatives to the meeting. He explained that it was a statutory requirement that the Council consulted the business community before setting the budget and Council Tax for the forthcoming year.
The Interim Head of Strategic Finance and the Head of Collections and Benefits gave a presentation on the content of the report and outlined, in summary, the budget target and progress being made, the Capital Programme 2016/17 and the position in terms of business rates. The officers and Panel then received questions and comments from the business representatives present.
In response to a question as to how the trend in employers leaving Harrow could be reversed, the Chair advised that the Council did not have the economic levers to prevent this as it did not set the non domestic rate multiplier. The Council did, however, provide a number of services to the business community and the number of small businesses was on the increase.
The businesses representatives stated that the conversion of offices into residential use was a significant issue, particularly for small and medium businesses as it reduced the ability of businesses to grow due to space constraints. Harrow town centre was ideal in terms of business location due to its transport links with central London but due to the conversion of offices into residential, growth was difficult. The Chair advised that this problem was not unique to Harrow and that what the Council was losing in business rates would be gained in Council Tax.
In response to the concerns expressed by business representatives, a Member stated that, in his view, the Council could do more to retain businesses by using existing facilities and premises. He acknowledged that work was being done to look at other ways businesses could be supported.
A business representative emphasised the need for office space, referring to the change from office to residential in College Road which would, in turn, change the types of shop on offer. The Chair advised that retail premises, as well as offices, could now be converted to residential use due to permitted development.
The Interim Head of Strategic Finance confirmed that the Capital Programme included provision for the schools expansion programme due to the need for an increase in the number of school places. The revenue budget gap of £83m did not, however, include schools as they had a dedicated schools grant. Harrow had historically been poor in its leisure offer and the Council was looking to address this.
The Chair provided clarification on the location of the new Civic Centre in Wealdstone and the master planning for the existing Civic Centre site, which would include office space, a school and residential units.
The Panel and business representatives discussed the refurbishment of Harrow on the Hill ... view the full minutes text for item 13.