Friday, 24 February 2017

Working to boost our West Sussex economy

Last Wednesday I signed our second District Deal - with Mid Sussex District Council, coming hot on the heels of our first agreement with Crawley Borough Council.

This deal was particularly important for me as for the last couple of years I have been sitting on the Burgess Hill Development Board where West Sussex, Mid Sussex and Burgess Hill councils have been working side-by-side on exciting development plans for Burgess Hill. They are big and ambitious plans, which is why it is so important that we all work collaboratively to ensure we are doing the very best for Burgess Hill and the residents – today and tomorrow. It is a very important legacy.

As partners, we have developed successful Burgess Hill bids to the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for additional funding, securing a LEP commitment to allocate more than £30 million to support growth in Burgess Hill.

There is no doubt in my mind that Government agencies and businesses, large and small, want to know local government is working as one, which is why our District Deals are so important as they demonstrate exactly that.

We are not stopping at two District Deals though – next month we will be signing a deal with Worthing and Adur. There is currently considerable work underway on plans for Worthing Town Centre and once again West Sussex County Council is playing its part in making this work happen. And I hope we will be able to announce more district deals in the future as part of our continued closer working with our partners.

The LEP is providing substantial investment into areas of West Sussex as part of its Growth Deal. The County Council has identified £30 million as part of our Capital Programme which we will be using to complement LEP investment and helping to support economic growth in our county.

It is vital we invest and so attract new business and economic growth to our area. The West Sussex economy is one of our three priority areas as a County Council and something we will continue to focus on.

Although we are facing continued financial pressures as a council, we also recognise it is important we invest so we don’t fall behind. As such, we have agreed our Capital Programme setting out our infrastructure projects over the next five years. These investments will boost our highways network, social care and schools as well as the economy. It is an ambitious programme, but one that will help improve the day-to-day lives of our residents and help West Sussex thrive in the future.

I strongly believe that with investments such as these and our close working with our partners, we will achieve the very best outcomes and firmly put West Sussex on the map.

Best wishes,

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