The Greater Brighton Economic Board met on Tuesday 31 January 2017, to discuss a packed agenda focused on improving the productivity of the City Region, which extends from East Grinstead in the north to Lewes in the east and Worthing in the west.  GBEB Chairman, Councillor Daniel Humphreys, shares his personal reflection on the progress that’s being made.

The latest meeting of the Greater Brighton Economic Board was held on 31 January 2017 and the overriding theme was getting people and ideas moving.

We know that the Greater Brighton Region is being hampered by the railways.  The series of strikes we’ve endured have not only made commuting an absolute misery for thousands, but have also cost our businesses time and money which we will investigate through an economic impact study.    To answer the challenges effectively, the Greater Brighton Economic Board [GBEB] must look to the future and our place within the wider South East transport network.

We must focus on creating a modern, reliable infrastructure on which our transport services can run.  The Board debate on a proposal to form a Sub National Transport Body reaffirmed our commitment to this infrastructure investment, and gave us a clear vision for the long term action which will result in long term benefits to the entire City Region.    

The Board will be ensuring that our infrastructure needs are represented at regional and national levels – maintaining pressure to deliver the investment and improvements needed by our business, residential and visitor communities.

At the same time as getting our people moving, there’s good news on ideas, knowledge and skills.  As has already been reported in the media, Northbrook College and City College Brighton are to merge into Metropolitan College, a new body steering further education for 3,500 16-18 year olds and 7,500 adult learners across five campuses in the City Region.

The GBEB’s focus has been on supporting a vibrant, innovative, employer-focused education provision, at both higher and further education levels.  While we acknowledge that there is a gap in FE provision in Mid Sussex, and have resolved to address this, the new Metropolitan College will support our ambitions for strong STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) provision in the City Region.

The merger will be completed by 31 March 2017 – an astonishingly rapid pace for two large, complex organisations who are also delivering a packed educational agenda to their current student body.

The Board was also heartened by the update on our investment projects – updates for which can be seen here on our new website.  There are many projects which have made significant progress since the last meeting, and communities throughout the City Region are seeing the substantial private and public sector investments coming to fruition.  

As an Economic Board, our focus remains on targeting investment intelligently towards creative and innovative projects which will enable the City Region to improve its productivity and quality of life.  As the Chairman for this year, I am confident that we’re moving in the right direction.

Councillor Daniel Humphreys

Chairman of the Greater Brighton Economic Board 2016 / 17

Leader, Worthing Borough Council