3. As an overarching priority, our strategy emphasises the need "to secure better access to talented people and bright ideas and to use both more effectively".
Do you agree with this?
We agree with the statement 'people will choose Thames Valley Berkshire as the place to live and work'. We believe that the quality of our environment and quality of life is essential to attracting talented people to the area, and retaining those that we already have.
4. Four programmes for implementation are set out, focusing on:
• Promotion and international positioning
• Enterprise, innovation and business growth
• Skills, education and employment
Do you agree that these four encapsulate the top priorities for investment in Thames Valley Berkshire?
5. Of these four programme areas, which one would you regard as the single most important in making Thames Valley Berkshire a better place for your business (tick one only)?
Investment in infrastructure
6. In implementing these programmes, we want to achieve our vision for Thames Valley Berkshire, namely that by 2021, "The vibrancy of our business community will be internationally envied. The ambition and creativity of our established businesses will be energised through strong, knowledge-rich, networks. Our workforce will be the lifeblood of our economy: young people will be inspired and older workers valued. Our infrastructure will match the scale of our ambition and potential. And people will choose Thames Valley Berkshire as the place to live and work".
Do you agree with our vision?
This resonates completely with the overarching aim of the Local Nature Partnership, which is to ensure "Berkshire is a great place to live, great place to learn and great place to work"
7. If you wish to make further, constructive comments please do so below; this could include factual inaccuracies or areas that you feel strongly are not covered by the current draft SEP, in particular the implementation mechanisms and levers.
We were delighted to see recognition in the strategy that the quality of the natural environment is one of our outstanding locational advantages and that it must be sustained in order for Berkshire to continue to be a place in which people want to live and work.
Our partners would have liked to seen 'outstanding locational advantages' quantified as 'contributing to the health and wellbeing of the population as places to exercise, relax and inspire, whilst also providing much needed services such as controlling air quality, water filtration, flood defences and supporting the local food growing and horticultural economy.'
Whilst we recognise that the remit of the LEP is enterprise and growth of the economy, and we welcome comments that acknowledge the role of the natural environment in contributing to the economic success of Berkshire, our partners would like to have seen more detail on how the SEP ensures that the environment can continue to provide the numerous services that individuals and businesses benefit from, which form the bedrock for our economic progress.
This could be achieved by including the following points in section 'How we will monitor progress':
• the vibrancy of town centres – measured through number and size of business networks; number of new bars, restaurants, etc. opening in key town centres; provisions of green and blue infrastructure; footfall; and rents in town centres
• the percentage of capital investments in building and infrastructure which are environmentally sustainable
We would encourage rephrasing of the paragraph on page 21:
"First, as Figure 7 (on page 23) indicates, TVB is highly constrained in development terms. Much of the west of TVB is a protected landscape (North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) while the Metropolitan Green Belt features strongly in the east"
This does make the AONB and greenbelt area sound like an obstacle but in fact it is where many Berkshire residents go at the weekend to relax, both areas contribute considerable sums to the local economy and it is just possible that those sums are equal to what could be achieved if they were developed.
Perhaps something like '......Much of the west of TVB comprises our protected landscapes.....'
8. We see your business as crucial to the strategy. Would you like to stay in touch with the strategy's implementation as we move forward?