A new board of political, business and education leaders has approved an ambitious multi-million-pound programme of developments to promote economic growth in the regions. The Greater Brighton Investment Programme aims to deliver tens of thousands of jobs and homes. Business editor FINN SCOTT-DELANY looks at the proposals.

The City Deal was signed to much fanfare in March with the aim of bringing millions of pounds’ worth of investment and create a wave of creative and technology businesses to the area.

Bringing together local authorities, universities and business groups in the Greater Brighton area, the deal aims to deliver more than 20,000 jobs, 11,000 homes and 500,000sq m of employment space.

The Greater Brighton region encompasses Brighton and Hove, Lewes, Mid Sussex, Adur and Worthing, and includes 680,000 residents and more than 20,000 businesses.

The board was established to oversee investment and drive growth in the city region.

The investment brings together several aligned programmes including the Greater Brighton City Deal, the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) and the Regional Growth Fund business support programme.

The meeting heard how areas like Newhaven had huge potential in terms of employment and meeting the housing needs of the region.

Business people told how there were high levels of business innovation in the region compared to nationally and that there was a real opportunity to build on the innovation being seen through collaboration with businesses.

But others warned the City Deal was only the start.

Risk factors

One board member said: “There’s a lot still yet to cover. How do you meet challenges of training?

“How do we overcome problems around transport connectivity? The City Deal is just the start.”

The viability of many projects are dependent upon the outcome of the other funding bids by the LEP and the programme involves an aim to deliver projects of significant scale with limited staff resources.

Another risk is that projects could become ineligible for public funding due to State Aid legislation, which prevents taxpayer funds being used to give companies an advantage.

Planning permission may not be achieved for key regeneration schemes and some schemes in the Investment Programme may not be supported by local community.

Jason Kitcat, leader of Brighton and Hove City Council and chairman of the board meeting, emphasised the importance of the city deal and said: “We’re catching up with the mainland. Most European cities already have this sort of thing.”

Speaking to board members, Ian Parkes, of the Coast to Capital, discussed the LEP’s Strategic Economic Partnership (SEP), a bid put to Government worth hundreds of millions of pounds for growth investment in infrastructure, flood defences, homes and workspace, which is aligned with the Greater Brighton City Deal.

The LEP is competing with others around the country for a fund which is three times oversubscribed.

Mr Parkes said: “The SEP is a blueprint for the area, not just a bidding document.

“We need to be competing on an international level with Shanghai and Singapore, not just with Preston, Wigan and Bolton.

“If you can’t compete at this level, the UK can’t compete.”

He added: “We have no influence over planning but what we will do is help and unlock areas and move things forward.

“We could get anything between zero and £220 million so there’s a big range. It’s competitive.

“It’s very unlikely we will get zero and very unlikely we’ll get £220 million as it’s three times oversubscribed.”

John Peel, outgoing chairman of Coast to Capital, said: “When I look back on my life this has been the biggest project I’ve ever been involved with.

“It’s a piece of work that went to 450 pages long but I’ve been able to reduce it to one piece of A4.”

Tony Mernagh, executive director of the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, said after the meeting: “A lot depends on funding and politics but getting leaders around the table discussing economic growth is a result.

“The message is we’re in a different world. The time when individual local authorities could exist on their own are gone. We’ve all got to work together.”

Councillor Geoffrey Theobald, leader of the opposition on Brighton and Hove City Council, 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.

“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.”


In Brighton and Hove the flagship developments in the plan include major seafront projects such as the King Alfred, i360, Brighton Centre, Black Rock, Brighton Marina and other infrastructure.

Three major growth centres are a cornerstone part of the plan for the city centre: New England House, Preston Barracks and the Bioinnovation Centre at Falmer.

Alongside the Block J innovation centre, Circus Street and Edward Street Quarter, the combined Brighton and Hove developments would create 6,000 jobs and 81,000sq m of space.

In Burgess Hill major investment is planned with the Business Park, Science and Technology Park, and Northern Arc residential development, equating to 5,000 jobs, and 200,000sq m of workspace.

Out of a projected 5,040 homes, 1,000 have already secured planning permission.

In Newhaven major projects include flood defences, the University Technical College, the growth quarter, plus the Port Access Road and E.On Rampion offshore windfarm, resulting in 5,200 jobs and 178,000sq m of employment space.

In Shoreham there is the Shoreham Airport Growth Centre, Adur Tidal Walls flood defence scheme, New Monks Farm, and Shoreham Harbour Regeneration Project, with will involve 4,450 jobs and 36,600sq m.

And in Worthing the Enterprise Growth Centre and Decoy Farm are set to create 223 jobs and 41,672sq m of workspace.


At the centre of the city’s growth plan is New England House, the heart of Brighton’s creative-tech cluster.

The proposal is to improve and expand the building to nurture small business and fuse creative and digital skills.

A Digital Exchange will provide superfast broadband to small businesses at affordable prices.

Some £24.53m in capital investment is needed to renovate New England House to increase it floor-space by 7,090sqm to 18,460sqm and increase job density.

Some £635,000 will be reallocated from Brighton’s Super-Connected Cities to create the Digital Exchange.

It is estimated the investment will create 1,300 jobs in creative-tech while securing £9.8m in private investment.


Proposal to enable a multi-million pound investment in a network of growth centres across the region are dependent on securing funding for flood defences in Shoreham and Newhaven.

It is estimated the defences and centres will deliver £165 million of investment from private, university and public sector, 8,000 new jobs and a £361 million GVA boost to the economy.

Adur Tidal Walls will cost £25 million and protect Shoreham town centre and the A259, 2,328 residential and 169 commercial properties, and 15,000sq m of new employment space from floods.

It will be paid for by the Environment Agency, LEP, West Sussex County Council and private partners.

Flood defences at the Western Harbour Arm at Shoreham Harbour will deliver up to 1,050 new homes and approximately 10,500sq m of new employment floorspace.

Newhaven East and West Bank flood defences will cost an estimated £9 million and provide protection for 1,500 residential properties.

In Newhaven a Clean Tech Growth Centre will be built subject to funding being secured and new defences completed in 2017/18.

Development would begin in 2015 and be completed in 2030.

In Shoreham the Environmental Technologies Growth Centre would be built subject to funding for the Shoreham Adur Tidal Walls which would be completed in 2017/18 The Western Harbour Armdevelopment would begin in 2017 and be completed in 2022-2027.

Development of the Central Research Laboratory at Preston Barracks will begin in 2016 and be completed in 2018/19.

Development of the Bio-Innovation Facility at Falmer would begin in 2015 and be completed in 2018.

The Environment Agency will reveal its expected flood defence spending for 2015/16 and advise Greater Brighton this month.

It is hoped defence work would begin in 2015/16.

Board members

There are 13 members of the Greater Brighton Economic Board with 10 making a financial contribution to the running and administration of the board.

Brighton and Hove City Council – £26,063

Adur District Council – £4,964

Worthing District Council – £8,692

Lewes District Council – £7,801

Mid Sussex District Council – £11,643

University of Sussex – £5,000

University of Brighton – £5,000

Further education representative (City College Brighton and Hove) – £5,000 Coast to Capital LEP – £7,500

South Downs National Park – £5,000

Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership

Adur and Worthing Business Partnership

Coastal West Sussex Partnership