Conservative Group Leader on Brighton & Hove City Council – Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald – has expressed optimism about the area’s future after attending the inaugural meeting of the new Greater Brighton Economic Board which was set up in the wake of the area being awarded ‘City Deal’ status by the Government.
The Greater Brighton City Deal area covers Brighton & Hove, Adur, Worthing, Mid Sussex and Lewes. City Deal is expected to bring in over £170m of public sector investment to the area over the next few years which in turn could lever in about £1.3 billion from the private sector. This would result in 20,000 jobs, 11,000 homes and 495,000 sq m of employment space. In the short term the investment includes £24.5m to transform the Council-owned New England House into a flagship ‘hub’ for creative-tech businesses which flourish in Brighton & Hove, something that the Conservative Group has supported for a number of years.
At the meeting, which is attended by the leading Members of all the councils plus leading business people from the area, Cllr. Theobald took the opportunity to highlight the importance of improving transport links if Greater Brighton is to truly fulfil its economic potential.
Cllr. Theobald said: “The City Deal has the potential to provide a massive boost to the economy of this area of around 600,000 people and I warmly welcome the Government’s commitment. I am very pleased to be a member of the new Greater Brighton Economic Board and it was a very promising first meeting. However, if Greater Brighton is to reach its full potential then I believe we urgently need to address its poor transport links. We need to stop talking about things such as a second Brighton mainline and unblocking the A27 bottlenecks and get these delivered. I am also personally in favour of a second runway at Gatwick which will bring additional economic benefits to Greater Brighton.”