Greater Brighton Economic Board

*Event Alert* Prosperity Through Innovation – Driving Growth Across Our Coastal Region

Prosperity Through Innovation –

Driving Growth Across Our Coastal Region

Thursday 7th March 2019.

Centenary Innovation Centre / Ricardo’s, Shoreham Airport / BN43 5FG

4pm – 7pm with refreshments provided

An opportunity to promote our coastal region; from high-speed digital connectivity to unlocking development sites, our speakers will outline the different creative strategies and technological advances that have the potential to deliver economic growth in the area. Our speakers include:

• David Joy, Chief Executive at London and Continental Railways Ltd with vast experience of working with Local Authorities to bring forward economic growth and development

• Martin Kemp, City Fibre who are transforming the digital infrastructure along the coast

• Lawrence Wright, Head of Innovation at Willmott Dixon will look at building for the future and addressing the sectors future challenges

• Dr Lucy Greenwood, Savills will give an overview of the coastal regions housing market and the trends likely to affect the area in the future.

Time is running short and spaces are limited so please click here to register via Eventbrite

If you haven't already registered, this is a reminder for the coastal region's business leaders event:

A little bit about our organising partners:

• The Coastal West Sussex Partnership is a business led partnership bringing together senior leaders from industry, education and the public sector to take action and use its individual and collective talents to make a difference in the local economy.

• The Greater Brighton Economic Board is the overarching, legally constituted body behind the growth of the Greater Brighton City Region.

Willmott Dixon is a privately-owned contracting and interior fit-out group. Founded in 1852, we create value for customers, stakeholders and communities by working in a sustainable and responsible way to shape the built environment and make a positive impact to society's well-being.

Greater Brighton leaders welcome 'unique opportunity' to transform key port town

“A unique opportunity to create jobs and regenerate a whole town” - that’s the view of Greater Brighton leaders after meeting the people tasked with transforming Newhaven into a great place to live and work.

Home to one of just 44 Enterprise Zones in England, the port town is undergoing a period of rapid change which will see thousands of jobs created and millions invested into the local economy.

A year on from the Newhaven Enterprise Zone (NEZ) going live, Councillor Garry Wall, chairman of Greater Brighton, and Councillor Andy Smith, Leader of Lewes District Council, were given an update on the progress by its programme director Corinne Day.

During a tour of the town, businesses and residents spoke about the impact of the investment so far, which has seen the creation of new business, jobs and workspaces.

Cllr Wall, who is also Leader of Mid Sussex District Council, said: “My everlasting impression from my visit is that there's massive potential in Newhaven. This means there’s a considerable opportunity for businesses to invest in Newhaven; to get government agencies, such as Coast to Capital and Greater Brighton to help bring those investments forward; and for Newhaven to take its rightful place as a major contributor the regional economy.

“Greater Brighton needs to continue to grow, it needs to look at where it can make those growth points and Newhaven is clearly one of them. The opportunity here is unique - one that will create jobs and regenerate a whole town. It’s therefore vital that we do what we can to get the development right for residents and businesses.”

The NEZ was established as a three-way agreement between the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, Lewes District Council and Government, with the support of Greater Brighton.

Covering eight sites and 79 hectares in the town, the NEZ acts as a catalyst to deliver new economic development opportunities. The aim is that within 25 years it will create 55,000 square metres of new commercial floor space for employment to sustain around 2,000 jobs.

During the visit, the two council leaders saw progress on some of the £30 million that has already been invested in the area - with critical flood defences created, new business units built and key regeneration sites unlocked.

The tour also took in the site of a new £23 million port access road, which received £10 million of government funding last month. This will provide direct access to the East Quay area of Newhaven Port unlocking 80,000 square metres of business space, generating up to 1,500 jobs and taking HGV traffic away from unsuitable roads in the town.

Another area visited was the town centre, which will be the focus of a £38 million mixed-use scheme to create hundreds of jobs in the construction, retail and hotel sectors, while generating an extra £100 million of inward investment into the local economy.

Cllr Andy Smith, Leader of Lewes District Council, said: “What we’ve seen is that the Newhaven Enterprise Zone isn't just the public sector working together; this is about the private sector coming in and working with us. By far the most amount of money coming into the town is coming from the private pocket.

“We want to deliver 2,000 jobs but we also want to deliver improvements to people's lives. This will become a great income generator for the area and a great wealth generator for its local people."

The Greater Brighton delegation also heard that a key part of Enterprise Zones is business rates discounts worth up to £275,000 over five years while pre-planning fees on employment led schemes are also waived.

One of those taking advantage is ValetPRO, who provide vehicle cleaning products across Europe. The company relocated to Newhaven this year from Uckfield, doubling the size of its warehouse to 12,000 square metres.

Milton Watts, ValetPRO’s operating manager, said: “The business rate relief was a significant reason for moving here as it allowed us to use that money to invest in other parts of the business, such as warehouse facilities.”

Sara Williams, of local business The Patchwork Cat, which is a cafe and fabric shop, said: “Newhaven has got huge potential. I think by bringing new businesses to the town and people having faith in the town it will be back to where it was - a good thriving town.”

Corinne Day, NEZ programme director, said: “It was great to welcome two board members from Greater Brighton to see the ongoing work in the Enterprise Zone.

“We want to tidy this place up - not just beautify, but give it a real sense of place so when people come here they want to stay. We want Newhaven to be somewhere that’s known for what it's about.”

Greater Brighton leaders: Why the myths of the Sunny South could hold us back

Greater Brighton leaders: Why the myths of the Sunny South could hold us back

‘Forget about the myth of the Sunny South’ - that was the message from Greater Brighton today as it calls for decision makers to ditch the notion that everything is rosy on the coast.

With government and big business shifting investment focus to the north, Councillor Garry Wall, the chairman of Greater Brighton, argues that overlooking regions south of the capital risks “choking off the contribution our economies make to UK plc”.

In an article for the respected Municipal Journal magazine, Cllr Wall made clear that the City Region, which contains nearly one million people from the south coast to Gatwick, is a vibrant place to do business with an economy worth more than £21 billion a year.

But he said that key issues, such as a lack of investment in transport infrastructure and a major skills shortage, are holding the region back, hampering growth and costing the treasury billions of pounds a year in revenue.

Cllr Wall argues that it is only by decision makers looking beyond the preconceived notion that everything is rosy on the coast that a true national economy can be created.

Cllr Wall, who is also leader of Mid Sussex District Council, said: “We have a simple request for investment bodies, big businesses, decision-makers of all kinds and, yes, government. That is to forget the preconceived notions about Greater Brighton, that here in the sunny South we are all comfortably well-off or retired to our seaside cottages.

“I’m asking that you don’t simply lump us in with London, that a Greater Brighton population of nearly a million people deserve better than that.”

The article references Channel 4’s recent decision to overlook the city of Brighton & Hove for a new creative hub.

While understanding the reasons for the broadcaster’s decision, Cllr Wall said he was concerned about the feedback that Brighton was too close to London and a new hub would fail to have an impact in providing new opportunities for a local workforce.

Cllr Wall said: “For me, as chairman of the Greater Brighton region - an area covering nearly one million residents from the south coast to Gatwick - what concerned us was that this revealed an unfortunate unawareness of the needs of our young people, the skills gaps we clearly have, the pockets of deprivation that exist, the employment opportunities we need to create for people born and brought up here to be able to stay. 

“That we are simply lumped together with London was always a suspicion. But I hadn’t ever seen it laid out so barely before.”

He adds: “Are we to be punished for living underneath London, for failing to get the investment in road and rail that we need because of a vague notion that we are doing alright anyway? I hope not.”

Despite the difficulties mentioned above, Cllr Wall said that Greater Brighton, which is made up local authorities, businesses and academia, would continue to make significant headway in drawing in funding to address key issues.

He pointed to the securing of £160 million of Local Enterprise Partnership investment in flood defences, house building, town centre modernisation, job creation and road improvements. 

Cllr Wall also referenced the opening of an Advanced Engineering Centre and a Construction Trades Centre last year which will help create a skilled workforce of the future.

He added that Gatwick Airport and Crawley Borough Council joining the Greater Brighton Economic Board showed that the benefits of working together as a coherent regional force were being recognised.

Cllr Wall said: “As chairman I am determined that Greater Brighton will start punching its own weight, pushing its case in a way we have admired from some leaders in the north.

“To be seen as the southern outpost of London is to do to the area a massive disservice. My job this year, working with the Board, is to remind government and business that we do have challenges and also have much to offer to help create wealth for the UK.”