Challenges faced by Sussex’s coastal region, from housing to digital connectivity and construction, were highlighted at a conference.
The inaugural conference, Prosperity through Innovation, was held on Thursday, March 7, at Ricardo in Shoreham, and gave a glimpse into the innovative approaches being taken to promote economic success.
It was organised by the Coastal West Sussex Partnership, in collaboration with Willmott Dixon and the Greater Brighton Economic Board.
Henry Powell, chairman of the Coastal West Sussex Partnership, opened the conference.
He said: “Our job at the partnership is to champion economic growth in the region.”
Speaking on the day he said: “We’re delighted that we have so many senior people in this room, from council chief executives to directors of private companies – by working together we can ensure a better future for all.”
The conference was attended by more than 90 senior public and private business representatives from across Sussex.
A range of speakers gave overviews of the challenges faced by Sussex’s coastal region and the UK.
Lucy Greenwood from Savills outlined the challenges faced by the UK housing market, explaining that it was under pressure from Brexit concerns and underlying affordability issues in the South East.
As a result, the market is slowing down with new buyer enquiries decreasing and transactions falling, she told the conference.
The Government-backed scheme Help to Buy has only been extended to 2023 and will be restricted to first time buyers from 2021, she said.
CityFibre’s Martin Kemp explained the company’s mission to transform a country that was falling ‘embarrassingly behind’. He told the conference that full-fibre investment was ‘critical’ to the UK
Garry Wall, leader of Mid Sussex District Council and chairman of Greater Brighton Economic Board, closed the conference and called for ‘greater collaboration’ in the region.
He said: “For too long this region has suffered from a lack of government investment. We are trying to grow an economy with an infrastructure that is woefully out of date. We need local businesses to come together to campaign for greater investment.”