Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Partnership approach needs no apology

So here I am, blogging again about partnership working. I make no apologies for this in these cash-strapped times: if we didn’t work in partnership very little would be done. Nearly everything West Sussex County Council does is in partnership – it may be with a charity, it may be the police, health partners our District and Borough Councils – but what we do, we do it together, for we are here to do the best for our residents one way or another.

Personally, I think we are getting really good at partnership working. You might think, of course, I would say that, but I see more things happening across the County and that’s so heartening. Even though money is tight, each authority has aspirations for their area, everyone wants improved infrastructure, better public realm and that will only be achieved by collaborative, creative working and a determination to get things done.

Now Saturday was a case in point: a few years ago we started a dialogue with Crawley Borough Council on their aspirations for the town centre and Crawley. Queens Square was earmarked for a refurbishment. So money was put aside, design and plans put in place and this time last year work started on Queens Square. One year later, on time and in budget, the newly-refurbished Queens Square was formally opened and it really does look very good, with an amazing fountain as the centre piece.

Seeing people enjoying the space and children running in the water feature says it all about the appreciation for the newly-refurbished Queens Square. Open, attractive spaces are so important: they allow people to spend time, talk with other people and reflect. It is a well-known fact that attractive open spaces contribute to people’s general and mental well-being.

All of this has been achieved by close partnership working with Crawley Borough Council, West Sussex County Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership Coast2Capital. Jointly funded, it is just the first step to further investment in Crawley – there is another £31million for additional work in Crawley, the town centre and sustainable transport infrastructure.

With this £31million Growth Programme, we know that it will attract further private investment into the area, too. It is a fine example of partnership working. However, it is not just in Crawley but right across the County. In Burgess Hill, we are working with Mid Sussex, the LEP and businesses on town centre regeneration - as well as in Worthing and Adur, Horsham, Arun and Chichester.

We all know public money is tight but we know that working and investing together we can achieve so much for our residents, communities and businesses.

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