First 5G pilot on wish list as part of devolution bid

SUPERFAST broadband for every property, becoming the UK first 5G region and a high speed connection between London and Gatwick are part of an ambitious devolution bid.

JPCT 180313 Coast 2 Capital, Ron Crank. Hurst Road, Horsham. Photo by Derek Martin ENGPPP00320130318125944
JPCT 180313 Coast 2 Capital, Ron Crank. Hurst Road, Horsham. Photo by Derek Martin ENGPPP00320130318125944

The Greater Brighton Economic Board, bringing together authorities including Adur and Worthing councils, submitted its devolution prospectus on Friday.

Business leaders and politicians behind the bid – which sits alongside the Three Southern Counties project led by West Sussex County Council – hope it would generate 24,000 jobs, 455,000 square metres of employment space and 22,500 new homes.

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Adur District Council leader and board chairman Neil Parkin said: “This devolution submission is the start of a longer dialogue with the Government, leading with an absolutely clear focus on three key areas; economic, social and public service productivity.

“As a united board, we see these as key to unlocking the use of our assets - whether those are land and property, intellectual assets in our education and skills system or in ensuring open governance that clearly supports enterprise.”

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.

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.

Coast to Capital chairman Ron Crank said: “It will build on the many successes of the Greater Brighton City Deal and the Coast to Capital Growth Deal and will make a further contribution to increasing growth and productivity in our area.

“We support greater devolution of decision making to local level and believe business should have a full part to play in how we together drive growth.”

Andrew Swayne, chairman of the Adur and Worthing Business Partnership, said a successful bid, submitted to communities secretary Greg Clark, would deliver better value for public funds, along with to access better transport, skills development and digital infrastructure.