Devolution deal bid is given formal approval

A DEVOLUTION deal that aims to create the ‘most successful economy in the south east’ has been formally approved by politicians and business leaders.

The devolution bid will take the Growth Deal, signed earlier this year, to the 'next level'
The devolution bid will take the Growth Deal, signed earlier this year, to the 'next level'

The Greater Brighton Devolution Deal aspires to create 24,000 jobs, 455,000 square metres of employment space and 22,500 homes over the next ten years.

The 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.

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In its initial prospectus, submitted to Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Greg Clark last month, it states: “Our vision is that Greater Brighton will become the most successful economy in the south east connected to London.

“Our devolution deal takes both the Greater Brighton City Deal and the Coast to Capital Growth Deal to the next level to deliver our aspiration.”

Key proposals include the setting up of ‘pioneering’ new technologies to set up the first 5G pilot region, a high-speed connection with London and Gatwick and improving transport links to growth sites such as Burgess Hill, Newhaven and Shoreham Harbour.

Growing the ‘information economy’ through the creation of new digital business models in both the public and private sector and delivering living wage housing are other significant aims.

The prospectus was formally approved by the Greater Brighton Economic Board on Tuesday.

Councillors expressed concern that the current rail infrastructure was holding the region back, while assurances were sought that an elected mayor would not be a requirement.

Brighton and Hove Conservative group leader Geoffrey Theobald advised members his conversations with ministers suggested this would not be a requirement.

Of 38 devolution bids nationwide, just four plan to have an elected mayor.