A NEW plan reveals how Brighton and Hove could become one of the most productive and inclusive economies by 2024.

The city’s new economic strategy to 2024 provides a blueprint for the Greater Brighton region to grow.

Active business in Brighton & Hove grew by 20 per cent between 2012 and 2017, and there are now 15,840 businesses in the city.

The plan aims to ensure they will be able to take on current challenges and future opportunities.

It urges businesses, entrepreneurs, educators and communities to be bold and build on our local reputation for openness, creativity and innovation.

Councillor Nancy Platts, lead councillor for the economy, said: “The new strategy recognises that the next 20 years will be very different and sets out how the city can be a trailblazer for new business ideas and models.

“We want to create a low carbon economy and ensure the benefits of our success are shared with all those living here.”

Business sectors such as digital, ‘green’ technology, life sciences, higher education and tourism are strong in the city.

In 2018, Brighton and Hove was voted the best place to start a small business and has one of the best qualified workforces in the country, as well as having the highest number of home workers.

The strategy was developed by Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership and the council with partners across the city, looking at practical solutions to challenges that affect the city’s performance and growth potential.

Over the next five years, the idea is to bring together businesses and communities to test new approaches and take forward business ideas.

These include:

• Promoting a wider take-up of the Brighton Living Wage to encourage and support sustainable employment

• Working towards ensuring social value through procurement and community wealth building

• More targeted support for small businesses in the city so they can stay, grow and access new markets

• Exploring the potential for the city to become a test-bed for innovation in retail using virtual reality to create new experiences in high street shopping.. Digital Catapult Brighton, University of Brighton and Redevco are currently exploring this as part of the Hannington Street development.

• Offering training in digital skills to fit in with business needs by creating better links between employers and local creative digital training provision such as the Greater Brighton MET Creative Campus project.

• Building on the strengths of our universities in clean/green growth, digital media, advanced engineering, quantum computing and life sciences to develop opportunities for growth and innovation.

• Connecting the resources and expertise of the universities and colleges to ambitious companies large and small, across the city region.

Nick Hibberd and Max Woodford from the council’s economy, environment and culture directorate introduced the new economic strategy at a special Brighton and Hove chamber of commerce event.

The former Hanningtons department store is being transformed into a new Lane.

There will be 13 shops, plush offices, apartments and a new entrance to The Lanes from North Street.

Existing shops on the main road have also undergone a major revamp.

European retail real estate investment manager Redevco started redeveloping the 1.3 acre site in February 2017.

Its portfolio director Andrew Foulds said: “This is something different and it’s full of character.

“It won’t be your conventional high street, we want people to get lost in our new area.

“I believe that we have a captive audience, whether it be commuters, students, academics, tourists and locals.

“I see this as future-proof retail.

“We have been on site for two years and we are creating something unique. I can’t wait for the opening.

“It’s going to be really exciting for Brighton.”

The area links The Lanes, North Laine, East Street and the cultural quarter leading to Brighton beach.