Letter from Cllr Mark Williams
Draft Old Kent Road AAP
Thank you for taking the time to meet and show us around Kaymet. It was great to visit your premises and find out more about your business. From the many meetings we have held with individual businesses and the representations that have been made on the AAP (well over 1,000) it is clear the economic sectors represented around the Old Kent Road play a really important part in servicing central London’s economy and need to be part of the area’s future.
We mentioned at our meeting that we are keen to reinforce our links with local businesses. Historically we have found it more difficult to engage businesses in preparing planning policies and we are looking to redress this through consultation in the opportunity area. Back in 2014/15 we carried out our initial survey of businesses in the area, both as a means of making contact with businesses and also to find out more about them. This was a good place to start from but now needs to go further.
We are keen to renew and widen our engagement with businesses in the Old Kent Road. We also recognise that the opportunity designation has generated many questions for businesses and some uncertainty. With that in mind we have recently launched an Old Kent Road business network with a dedicated page on our website which focusses on business engagement.
We are kick starting this with an invitation to businesses to sign up and also complete an on-line survey to update the information received in 2014/15 and find out more about businesses’ aspirations. The feedback we receive will be used to better understand the requirements and aspirations of existing businesses in the area and inform the types of new business space that are built in the area. In the longer term it will be used to help create a database of businesses that would be interested in occupying new space in existing or new developments. The wider the network can be extended the better and we would be very grateful if you could forward the links to businesses in your emerging business association and encourage them to sign up and participate.
We are continuing to build up the evidence base which underpins the AAP and also to review and refine the policy approach in the AAP. The next iteration of the AAP will be published in the autumn and in the meantime we intend to publish a number of draft supplementary planning documents (SPDs). The AAP policies are strategic in nature and SPDs provide the opportunity to provide a finer grain of guidance on a range of issues, including the approach to business space. The first of these SPDs will focus on the area around the Cantium Retail Park, Glengall Road, Latona Road, Bianca Road and Livesey Place (OKR14 in the AAP). The SPD will be published for consultation at the end of April and provides a good opportunity to focus on the issues affecting that area. As part of the consultation, we will set up an event with businesses and workspace providers in the area to focus on the issue of business space. Again, we would welcome your participation and the involvement of other businesses. We anticipate that this consultation will take place in May and will confirm the date in due course.
Cllr Mark Williams
Cabinet Member for Regeneration and New Homes