Neil Parkin, Leader of Adur District Council, has taken over the Chairmanship of the Greater Brighton Economic Board today (14th July 2015) for the coming year as part of the annual rotation of chair across each partner local authority. Here, he takes a few moments to outline his vision for the Partnership over the next twelve months and what he personally hopes to achieve from the Chair.
“The Greater Brighton Economic Board isn’t an organisation that many will know yet,” Neil says, “but we are already seeing its effects across the region.
“As representatives of all of the key sectors in the Greater Brighton area, the 16 partners aim to establish the area as the most successful economy in the South East, delivering a range of meaningful economic growth projects. Adur and Worthing Councils are key members, and we have already received funding to the tune of over £18million from the Board and Local Growth Fund through the Coast To Capital Growth Deal.
“This funding is driving forward significant flood defence projects in Shoreham to protect homes and businesses for generations to come; the Advanced Engineering Centre, based at the University of Brighton’s Moulsecoomb campus and partnered with Ricardo, is already nearing construction and will dramatically influence our region’s technical skills; and Worthing’s Connectivity Public Realm Scheme, in conjunction with the investment prospectus work lead by West Sussex County Council, will revolutionise the town centre – driving footfall and investment.
The Greater Brighton city region as a whole has successfully secured over £95m in local growth funding for regeneration and infrastructure projects, from Newhaven in the East to Burgess Hill in the North.
“None of this would be possible without strategically looking outside of our borders as District and Borough Authorities, identifying key opportunities to form strong partnerships and maximising the impact of growth opportunities for our communities,” Neil continues.
“As a former Vice Chairman for the Area Investment Framework (a SEEDA initiative), I believe that I have a deep understanding of the whole Greater Brighton region, its communities, its businesses and its unique opportunities for significant economic and social growth.
“Over the next year, I am keen to see the Economic Board increase its share of voice in policy debates and decisions at a national level, leading the way in partnership economic development initiatives. At a local level, I want to help the Board forge meaningful connections with local businesses and communities – whether that’s through establishing a website to share important news, or by increasing the profile of the Board through the media. It will also be important to identify opportunities to unlock the potential of the natural assets of the South Downs National Park to deliver sustainable development for the region.
“I am determined to help the Board support common economic objectives that benefit our communities and businesses across the wider sub regional area which includes Adur & Worthing; Lewes; Mid-Sussex and Brighton and Hove.”
Supporting Neil’s Chairmanship is Andrew Swayne, Chairman of the Adur & Worthing Business Partnership and senior manager at global engineering and environmental consultancy, Ricardo. Neil and Andrew worked together on the Area Investment Framework board.
Andrew says: “I look forward to working with Neil as this year’s chair and share his vision. The first year has been exciting and set good foundations for further development. We now need to make and win the case for the next series of projects and ensure we have a place round the national table to more devolved funding for our economic growth.”
Neil takes up the Chair of the Greater Brighton Economic Board on 14th July 2015 for a one year term.