Greater Brighton devolution bid pitched to Government

DM15221722a.jpg. Cllr Neil Parkin, Leader of Adur District Council welcomes delegates the the Greater Brighton Economic Board meeting - the first meeting at the newly re-opened Shoreham Centre. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-151013-163916008

DM15221722a.jpg. Cllr Neil Parkin, Leader of Adur District Council welcomes delegates the the Greater Brighton Economic Board meeting - the first meeting at the newly re-opened Shoreham Centre. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-151013-163916008

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BUSINESS leaders, politicians and education providers have made their pitch for devolution to the Government.

More jobs and homes, better transport and faster connectivity are the key ambitions for the Greater Brighton bid, which was presented to Baroness Williams of Trafford last week.

The bid, spearheaded by the Greater Brighton Economic Board, brings together five local authorities – Adur, Brighton and Hove, Lewes, Mid-Sussex and Worthing – with the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex, four further education colleges, three business partnerships, Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership and the South Downs National Park Authority.

Adur District Council leader Neil Parkin, current board chairman who led the pitch, said: “We went to Whitehall to present specific, detailed proposals which amounted to a compelling case for devolution of powers from government to our city region area.

“Our approach to Baroness Williams hinged on a quantified gap between what we’re achieving now and will continue to achieve with organic growth, and the added ‘kick-start’ that taking more control over our local destiny through devolution will bring.”

The bid sets out a long list of ambitions, which could be achieved in three to five years of an accepted bid.

Three year targets include a wish for ultrafast broadband in each key business location, a 50 per cent increase in apprenticeships and establishing a Greater Brighton Land Commission – featuring a priority list of growth sites and delivery plans.

In five years, the bid aims to deliver further spread the availability of ultrafast connectivity, 100 per cent increase in apprentices and enable the building of 1,000 new living wage rent or ownership homes.

Mr Parkin said: “I am absolutely confident that the Baroness heard our clear asks and saw the value in the offer that we’re able to make, in return for additional powers.

“We are now arranging further meetings with the Baroness and civil servants to continue to build on our devolution proposals which will drive extra value into the region.”

The Government’s final decision on the bid is expected in Spring.