Consultants praise Hounslow's inward investment work
Tue 11 February 2014, 4:00 pm
London Borough of Hounslow was praised by management consultant Anderford for "the efforts the borough is making to encourage new people to invest, from overseas or from elsewhere in the country".
Anderford director Judith Rutherford was speaking at a special event organised by 3Fox International for the council, where updates to the local economic assessment were revealed to an invited audience of over 120 local businesses, established developers, prospective investors and council officers and members.
The council's partnership plans to attract funding from the London Enterprise Panel (LEP) were also unveiled, as was an early iteration of the masterplan for the A4 or Great West Road, now dubbed the Golden Mile. The event concluded with a panel discussion on the growth agenda that included contributions from developer St Edward, local business BSkyB, the local chamber of commerce, the Greater London Authority, the London Enterprise Panel, and council officials.
The event was organised at no cost to the council through the Great West initiative, which also involves an annual business magazine, networking events, website, quarterly newsletter and a private sector-led delegation to the global property show MIPIM in Cannes, France, each March.
"The council's plans are very ambtious and map very well against priorities for the LEP," Rutherford said. "it has brave and ambitious ideas about road congestion, which is key to unlocking major opportunities for growth. There is much higher new business formation here than elsewhere, and support for supply-chain opportunities with Heathrow and encouragement for SMEs to export, using the borough's great links to the Indian subcontinent."
"Placed between Heathrow and London this is a very desirebale place to have a business. It is number four in the country for where people are recommended to bring their firm, and in the top third of places where jobs will be created.
"It has a track record of delivery, in the marketing for Gillette Corner, the development of High Street Quarter and the current strengthening of the town centres."
Rutherford described an exciting opportunity to build a digital business cluster around BSkyB's headquarters, though she added: "There is a real need to improve the skills of the worksforce and some innovative work on how to help people on low incomes progress in work."
Earlier, Christine Doel, director of research consultant SQW Group, had noted that of the borough's 176,000 working age residents, only 40,000 worked in the borough; and of the 127,000 people working in Hounslow, the vast majority were attracted in from elsewhere by major businesses such as GlaxoSmithKline, Brompton, BSkyB and others.
Rutherford concluded: "There is a real appetite in the borough to support and facilitate growth. A lot of staff at the council feel empowered and determined to support growth. There's a real willingness to work with partners, and at whatever level it takes, to unlock the opportunities for growth.
"There's a marked enthusiasm to involve business and employers in shaping and influencing that agenda, whch is why we are here this evening. All these things make Hounslow distinctive."
Slides from the event are available in a 75MB pdf here.