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Ambitious, forward-thinking plans for Kingston’s economy outlined in new strategy

Kingston has produced its new Economic Growth and Development Strategy for 2018-25 which sets out ambitious goals to place the borough at the forefront of a number of sectors.

The strategy outlines the vision for Kingston as:

• the financial and business services centre for South West London and the Heathrow / Gatwick corridor;
• the location of a dense cluster of knowledge-based technology and creative enterprises;
• home to a unique market and a retail environment that competes with the top retail offer in London.

More broadly, it is expected that by 2025, the borough will be able to demonstrate it “is establishing itself as a 21st century university town with a stimulating riverside central area, a unique character and a melting pot of residents, students, employees and visitors enjoying the high-quality retail, cultural and leisure facilities and history. It will be home to the UK HQs of a growing list of businesses and the location of a dense cluster of knowledge-based and creative businesses which has grown up through a combination of university spin-offs and residents choosing to work nearer home.”

Existing strengths identified in the borough include its:

• Rich business base, including a large and growing health sector;
• Unique culture and heritage offer;
• Net contribution to the London economy;
• Riverside town centre with a high-quality retail offer and medieval street pattern;
• Locational advantages, including its proximity to Gatwick and Heathrow and the potential impact of Crossrail 2;
• Highly qualified residents.

The challenges the strategy has been designed to address include:
• The daily talent drain as highly skilled residents commute out of the borough;
• A lack of space for business start-ups and growing companies;
• Under exploited relationships with, for example, Kingston University;
• The absence of an effective business-led infrastructure to enable growth;
• Enabling the town centre to continue to prosper in a rapidly changing retail market.

The strategy also sets out a comprehensive plan of action to meet these challenges which will include:
• A programme to bring forward a varied portfolio of quality sites and premises to meet the growth ambition of Kingston businesses and developers;
• Tackling sectors with lower productivity through business support programmes and enabling growth in high productivity sectors;
• Providing opportunities for highly skilled residents to seek work within the borough by attracting more, or existing, employers able to offer degree qualified or above roles to entice residents to remain;
• Developing an enabling role within the Council to create the conditions to fully exploit Kingston’s assets and relationships;
• Tasking the business support organisations to redesign the infrastructure to support growth and development, working with local businesses to ensure buy-in;
• Creating a polycentric marketing offer, development of a strong USP and delivering inclusive growth;
• Exploiting Kingston’s competitive advantage and opportunities created by the borough’srelationship with the GLA and SLP, the postBrexit landscape, and the Industrial Strategy. This strategy is set within the wider context of the Mayor’s emerging Spatial Development Strategy, the London Plan (to be published inautumn 2019), which brings together housing, transport, economic development and environment
strategies. The Royal Borough of Kingston has produced a joint statement with the Mayor to support development and intensification, giving clarity to residents, developers and landowners.

Click here to read the strategy and associated documents.