Agenda and minutes

Place Making and Innovation Executive Advisory Board
Monday, 20th May, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Millmead House, Millmead, Guildford, Surrey GU2 4BB. View directions

Contact: Andrea Carr, Committee Officer Tel no: 01483 444058  Email:


No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitute Members

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Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Liz Hogger.


Local Code of Conduct and Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

In accordance with the local Code of Conduct, a councillor is required to disclose at the meeting any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (DPI) that they may have in respect of any matter for consideration on this agenda.  Any councillor with a DPI must not participate in any discussion or vote regarding that matter and they must withdraw from the meeting immediately before consideration of the matter.


If that DPI has not been registered, the councillor must notify the Monitoring Officer of the details of the DPI within 28 days of the date of the meeting.


Councillors are further invited to disclose any non-pecuniary interest which may be relevant to any matter on this agenda, in the interests of transparency, and to confirm that it will not affect their objectivity in relation to that matter.

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Councillor Jon Askew declared a non-pecuniary interest.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 321 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Executive Advisory Board meeting held on 8 April 2019.

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The minutes of the meeting of the Executive Advisory Board held on 8 April 2019 were confirmed as a correct record, and assigned by the Chairman.


Officer Update on the Council's Support for the Digital Games Sector in Guildford with Future Opportunities and Challenges pdf icon PDF 195 KB

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The Executive Advisory Board received a report and presentations in respect of the digital gaming sector in Guildford which was one of the most important hubs of digital games development in the country and worldwide hosting over 70 companies engaged in this sector.  The report provided the background to the sector, relevant facts and figures, future plans and how the Council could provide support to the industry, and outcomes for the Council.


An introductory presentation given by the Local Economy Manager, whose team included innovation, tourism and the town centre brief, outlined Guildford’s top performing economy, explained why digital games in Guildford were so important and promoted the annual Innovate Guildford Festival which sought to inspire young people into careers in science, technology and the arts.  A vitality index which considered twenty different data sets placed Guildford amongst the top ten economies in the country, the University of Surrey had been nominated as the Sunday Times University of the Year 2016 and several key corporations had their headquarters located in the town.  Challenges for the economy were ensuring any growth was proportionate and sustainable, providing sufficient affordable housing for key workers, congestion and its impact on productivity, future talent pool and availability of appropriate office space.  Digital games in Guildford were important as the digital economy was identified in the UK’s Industrial Strategy by the Government as a key part of the future prosperity agenda which would deliver future jobs in a relatively low carbon environment and the technology could help support other sectors and challenges around future living.  Also, there was a specific Corporate Plan action to support the sector which aligned with University of Surrey’s academic and research objectives.


A second presentation delivered by Sam Read, Games and Immersive Partnership Manager at the University of Surrey, referred to Guildford being described as ‘The Hollywood of Videogames’ by a Guardian journalist.  The presentation explained the impact of videogames on UK lives in terms of average weekly hours of gaming and game revenues, the value of the UK games industry and consumer market, Guildford’s videogame cluster, Guildford’s first videogame studio in 1987, enabling entrepreneurship through initiatives such as Rocketdesk, Galvanising Guildford Games (G3) futures, the Guildford Games Festival, Guildford games website and branding, and the UK games market growth in 2018 in terms of game software, hardware and culture.  G3 was the only games industry conference in the south-east and offered networking opportunities for around 150 attendees, brought external partners into the games industry and supported local games industrial initiatives.  There was a full branding project for Guildford’s games industry to utilise and the website highlighted Guildford’s studios, history, activity and supporting ecosystem with a view to enabling Guildford to become an easy-to-share example of creative prestige in the UK and to inspiring confidence for inward investment.


The following points arose from related questions and discussion:


·             It was acknowledged that gaming was very popular and played across the world and via local area networks.

·             Reference was made  ...  view the full minutes text for item BEI4


Officer Update on the Council's Support for the Tourism Sector in Guildford with Future Opportunities and Challenges pdf icon PDF 261 KB

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The Tourism Marketing and Development Manager gave a presentation to supplement her report in respect of the tourism sector which addressed the background to the sector and current performance; provided a SWOT analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with tourism; explained the meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) process; detailed group day visits and short breaks, visiting friends and relatives, free independent travellers and UK inbound tourists; described the Tourist Information Centre; and explained marketing collateral, key drivers, key industry partners and the future.


The current position consisted of strong partnership working with tourism businesses (hotels, attractions, conference venues and promoters) and working with key partners in the industry including Tourism South East, Visit Britain, Visit England, UK Inbound and British Destinations.  Guildford had a high profile in tourism in the UK and further afield.


The Cambridge Report 2017 detailed the 350,000 overnight tourism trips to Guildford in 2017 and advised that 4.8 million day trips were made to Guildford in 2016 and that £232.5 million had been spent by overnight and day visitors to the town.  The total value of tourism activity in Guildford in 2016 was estimated to be £307.5 million and the industry consisted of 4,158 full time equivalent jobs and 5,679 actual jobs.


In terms of meetings and conferences, Guildford continued to be a hub for business tourism, with its close proximity to London and the main airports.  It was a popular and convenient meeting place for local and global companies and some of the above footfall and bed nights were as a result of business tourism.  11,700 business events had been held at Guildford and Surrey venues and overall direct spend from delegates (and partners) was an estimated£129.4 million.  Residential / 24-hour delegate rates in Guildford and Surrey, at £173, were significantly above the national average (£134).  Day rates, at £42, were also above the national average (£37).


The SWOT analysis revealed that strengths were proximity to London, an existing and pro-active network, strong local partnerships and a wide range of ‘product’.  Weaknesses were staffing: students and EU workers, proximity to London, shortage of hotel beds and lack of funding (Discover England Fund).  Opportunities were Sterling versus other currencies in the short term, UK Inbound – other areas Brazil, India, Australia/New Zealand.  Threats consisted of Brexit, a lack of joined up approach from other Borough’s and larger destination marketing organisations with greater spending power inside and outside the UK.


Under MICE, members of the Conference and Venues Group paid £430 per annum and received a listing in the Venues brochure, a full entry on the website, press leads, and opportunities to join in pro-active marketing initiatives such as exhibitions and familiarisation visits at additional cost.  Networking meetings were held twice a year and there was a Tourism Conference in order to share best practice and discuss promotional opportunities.


Group visits usually consisted of day visits and short breaks by coach.  Group rate and coach parking information was  ...  view the full minutes text for item BEI5


Executive Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 673 KB

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The EAB acknowledged that it needed to become more familiar with the content of the Forward Plan before it was in a position to comment on it.  To assist with this process, it was agreed that the Corporate Plan 2018-23 be circulated to members.


EAB Work Programme pdf icon PDF 133 KB

To consider and approve the EAB’s draft work programme. 

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The EAB work programming process was explained to Councillors who were invited to suggest any items or join future working groups.  


Progress with Items Previously Considered by the EAB pdf icon PDF 166 KB

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The Leader of the Council advised that expressions of interest for nominations to the Executive Working Groups would be sought.  It was reported that the Bike Share Scheme would be delayed until the summer whilst the interaction with a similar scheme operated by the University of Surrey was agreed.  The possibility of adding electrical charging points to lampposts was raised, however, there were associated practical difficulties and resource issues.


Late Sheets

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The Late Sheet confirmed the membership of the Executive Advisory Board.