Earlier this week around 70 local business leaders met at Epsom Downs Racecourse to discuss how to grow the Borough’s economy.
Organised through a partnership of Surrey Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses and Epsom & Ewell Borough Council the event was seen to be a significant step in the development of an economic strategy for the Borough.
Key local businesses including Atkins, the Ashley Centre, Epsom Coaches, and Boots looked at a range of ways to make Epsom a better place for companies to do business. The discussion included diverse topics such as investment in transport infrastructure to tackle congestion, how to attract more businesses to the town and what further support is needed for small businesses.
Also under discussion was the potential for a Business Improvement District for Epsom Town Centre. Business-led, business-driven BIDs provide an income stream to pay for such things as marketing and branding of a town, environmental improvements such as additional planting and public space improvements, and running of events. All Epsom’s town centre competitors – Kingston, Sutton and Guildford– now have BIDs in place and concern was expressed that Epsom retailers are at a disadvantage.
Speaking after the event, Louise Punter, Chief Executive of Surrey Chambers said, “Epsom has a strong local economy but we want it to be even stronger. There were lots of ideas about how to do that this morning – and lots of agreement on the way forward.
“A number of initiatives were raised as important in moving forward including - the availability of space for business incubation, the creation of a Business Improvement District, sharing of information on what support is available to small businesses, and the importance of bringing Oyster Zone 6 to Epsom.”
Frances Rutter, Chief Executive of Epsom & Ewell Borough Council added: “I found this event hugely valuable. We’re at the early stages of creating an Economic Development Strategy for the Borough that will look at ways in which the Council can protect and grow employment space, what our focus should be in bidding for infrastructure investment such as road improvements and encouraging more sustainable transport uses. We’ll be using the views expressed today as we develop this Strategy”.
Information from: Epsom & Ewell Borough Council