Business community urged to give views and help shape support strategies

Last Updated: 12 November 2021

11 November 2021

Business owners are being invited to give their views to help shape South Lakeland District Council's economic support strategies and inform its plans and policies.

The Economy and Culture team at SLDC has launched its annual South Lakeland Business Survey for 2021 and is urging members of the business community to take part.

With challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic still affecting the economy, it is critically important that business owners give their views and share their insights to ensure SLDC's support can be targeted where it is most needed in the most effective way.

The survey is undertaken annually by the Economy and Culture team at SLDC to provide an up-to-date local assessment of business needs over the next 12 months.

The survey runs until January 31 next year. Businesses will receive an email with a link to the survey or will be sent a paper form to be completed and sent back.

Councillor Robin Ashcroft, Portfolio Holder for Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: "We at South Lakeland District Council continually strive to do everything we can to support businesses and stimulate the conditions necessary for them to thrive.

"We undertake this survey annually and the information gathered is vital in giving us a clear picture of what is happening now, as well as an indication of future plans, which means we can offer support and advice where required and also develop our strategies and policies based on first-hand evidence.”

The most recent survey found that more than half of business owners in South Lakeland were positive about the future.

Fifty four per cent of respondents to the South Lakeland Business Premises Survey said they felt confident about the next 12 months, including eight per cent who said they were very confident. This compared to 73 per cent confident in the previous survey.

Cllr Ashcroft, who chairs an Economic Renewal Strategy Group for South Lakeland which has representation from MPs, major employers and partners from around the district, added: "In the meantime, SLDC ensures business support and advice is available to firms in the district. I would urge anybody who feels in need to take up that offer."

Cumbria Business Growth Hub supports businesses of any sector at any stage, from those thinking about setting up a business, in the early years of trading or established businesses through expert 1-2-1 advice, free workshops to expand knowledge and skills, access to funding for specialist consultancy support as well as other further support.

Cumbria Business Growth Hub also offers access to Peer Networks and support to businesses looking to export through the Department for International Trade (DIT).

More information can be found by calling 0844 2578450 or emailing info@cumbriagrowthhub.co.uk.

Business owners can complete the Southlakland Business Premises Survey 2021

Focus

Supporting businesses fighting to survive the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic is one of South Lakeland District Council's key priorities.

SLDC has a clear plan of activity for the district which will help with recovery, build confidence, attract investment and ultimately make South Lakeland a better place to live, work and explore.

Short-term actions already in place to address immediate short-term pressures brought about by coronavirus include:

  • Administering more than £148 million in business grants since the start of the pandemic;
  • Making a significant financial contribution to delivering free support to start-ups and existing businesses, in partnership with Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and others;
  • Providing vital financial support to our Strategic Cultural Partners;
  • Partnering with Cumbria Action for Sustainability to fund initiatives and support which enables businesses to make the most of opportunities presented by the green economy, including grants to SMEs towards improving their environmental credentials, increasing their profitability and reducing their carbon footprint in the process.

Medium/long-term strategic projects aimed at delivering a significant long-term economic benefit include:

  • Councillors approved £285,294 of core support over the next three years to Kendal Futures Community Interest Company (CIC) to deliver activities identified in the Kendal Vision and Kendal Town Centre Strategy;
  • Moving to phase one of multi-million pound project to repair and refurbish of the Grange Lido site, as well as plans to repair and rejuvenate the promenade;
  • Commissioning a masterplan to guide future development of the GSK site in Ulverston after the company’s decision to reduce its operations on the site;
  • Transforming part of South Lakeland House in Kendal into more modern, flexible space for use by start-ups and SMEs which will provide additional space for business start-ups and growth;
  • A masterplan has been commissioned to look at commercial opportunities to improve the offer on the Glebe tourist hotspot in Bowness.

Long-term projects include working with partners Highways England, Cumbria County Council, Cumbria LEP and Homes England to develop a new roundabout at the A590 Cross-a-moor junction which will address a significant highway capacity constraint and unlock the development of 1,062 new homes at Swarthmoor and Croftlands, as well as:

  • A redeveloped leisure and community facility in Ulverston;
  • Building on the success of the Great Place: Lakes and Dales scheme, which aims to attract, inspire and empower young people in our area;
  • The next South Lakeland Local Plan will look ahead to 2040 with a long-term view of the development of the area