Opportunity Sutton conference held to attract business
Sutton Council staged a conference in a bid to attract more businesses to Sutton.
Opportunity Sutton was held on June 13 for businesses to hear about business opportunities in the borough, which has one of the highest business start-up rates in the country.
Chief executive Niall Bolger told the audience inward investment and regeneration resources were being bolstered by the council to build on Sutton’s commitment to become London’s sustainable borough.
Business Secretary Vince Cable enthusiastically praised the "team spirit" which he said saw Sutton Council working with local businesses, and said the borough was faring well against a difficult financial backdrop.
At the event, sponsored by the Sutton Guardian, he said: "There is a sense of a "Sutton united" approach, which is heartening if you want to get things moving."
More than 100 delegates heard that, despite the recession, in 2011 13.2 per cent more businesses started up in Sutton than in the previous year, bringing the total number of businesses based in the borough to more than 6,600.
Among the speakers were representatives from Schroders and Savils, who are working on plans for the Felnex site in Hackbridge, which will see 90,000 sq ft of zero-carbon development.
Included in the plans are 725 new homes, a supermarket, offices, dental surgery and a park – much of which will use renewable heat and energy sources.
Gerald Almeroth, Sutton Council’s strategic director of resources, said Sutton was looking to take advantage of changes in government finance including the allocation of business rates, TIFs and CIL to make the borough more attractive to businesses.
Mr Almeroth said: "Sutton wants to strike the right balance between encouraging investment and paying for infrastructure to generate that investment.
"We could have charged up to £574 per sq m, but we are going for £100 per sp m on residential property, which shows we want to encourage development in that area.
"This proves we are open for business in Sutton and want to encourage investment."