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New strategy will guide growth and development

Kingston has adopted a new economic growth and development strategy for the years 2017 to 2025.

The framework will act on key findings from consultancy firm Shared Intelligence who drew up the report. They include an increasing population and low levels of unemployment but high levels of out-commuting, especially to higher paid roles and lower pay levels for those working in the Borough and high percentage of part-time working. There is also a lack of grade A office space and little provision for start-ups and grow-on space.

Six strategic priorities have been identified:

● Excellent spaces to grow: To enhance the attractiveness of the Borough as a place for businesses,retail, culture and leisure, ensuring space, buildings and amenities are conducive for this – linking high streets across Kingston. Tackling slow growth in start ups and supporting locational advantages by providing the buildings that are needed in particular areas.

● Diversify – Business and People:Address the need to create higher levels of productivity and business diversity. Promote and attract business and skills of key growth sectors to ensure there is not a single reliance on the retail sector.

● Innovation in partnerships:To establish, enhance and maximise working relationships with key stakeholders of Kingston’s economy

● Talent:Deliver skills needs of businesses in the borough and provide opportunities for highly skilled residents to seek work within the borough by attracting moreor existing employers able to offer qualification Level 6/7 roles. To entice residents and provide choice to live and work in the borough.

● Resilience & accessibility:As the population grows in the town centre and produces additional pressure on transport networks – it is important to build business confidence in sharingthe narrative for the future and understanding the short term inconvenience that construction and infrastructure brings.

● Strategic Place Promotion:Promoting the Borough in a way that drives inward investment, business retention and develops talent. To create a comprehensive marketing offer,development of a strong USP, levels of high deprivation need focus and attention to deliver inclusive growth. Extensive research work took place,culminating in an evidence-base document entitled ‘Economic Baseline 2017’, as well as widespread consultation, both internally and externally.

The strategy also builds on Kingston’s economic strengths, including 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 document will soon be available on the council’s website.