A bold new blueprint designed to boost jobs and growth across Adur and Worthing whilst embracing the best of what both places have to offer has been revealed.
Adur & Worthing Councils’ Economic Strategy is an ambitious plan which sets out a vision of developing a dynamic and distinctive coastal community that residents can be proud of. At its heart is an emphasis on “good growth” – with the strategy focused on increasing productivity and skills, while preserving Adur and Worthing’s unique environment and providing a high quality of life for residents.
The next step is to work with partners and businesses to build on the distinctive strengths in both Adur and Worthing, to create resilient and individual economies while helping local firms to expand and prosper.
Central to the five-year plan, which runs to 2023, are three main achievable goals for:
- Superconnected Worthing
- Through providing gigabit-speed digital infrastructure and imaginative collaborative space for digital and creative companies in the heart of Worthing, the changing identity of the town will be accelerated to make it a vibrant and exciting place to be.
- Adur Applied Technologies Centre – Industrial areas in Adur will be developed to take advantage of manufacturing strengths to drive growth and productivity, increase exporting and stimulate innovation through applied technologies, such as engineering, robotics and aviation.
- Technology Futures: Skills for Innovation – Create a 21st Century workforce by increasing the uptake, quality and application of skills, particularly Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills at intermediate and higher levels.
With such bold ambitions and the challenges of a post-Brexit economy, those behind the plan admit the vision extends to 2030. Councillor Brian Boggis, Adur District Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “This is a bold forward-thinking plan which gives impetus for us to build on the great work that is already being done across Adur. For decades, manufacturing has been at the heart of our communities so it is only right that we build on those strengths. I believe the plan is something the whole community can rally round. I look forward to playing a pivotal role in ensuring we can create the jobs and homes of tomorrow while protecting our unique environment.”
The strategy will be presented and discussed at the Councils’ Joint Strategic Committee next week (Tuesday December 5).
Both performing well
The report notes how the economies of Adur and Worthing are both currently performing well, with unemployment rates low (2016 – Adur 4.4%; Worthing – 4%; UK average – 4.9%). It also highlights that businesses are growing, at a rate of 17% between 2010 and 2016 compared to a growth rate of 13% in Coastal West Sussex as a whole. There was also praise for the entrepreneurial spirit of those living in both areas, with both Adur and Worthing out-performing many neighbouring authorities in terms of business start-ups and those firms still prospering in five years.
However, the strategy does note that with land in short supply, there was a challenge to provide space for companies to grow while preserving Adur and Worthing’s unique natural environments. There were also challenges in providing affordable housing and reliable, affordable transport. If approved by councillors, the next step will be working with businesses, partners and residents to drive change forward in the coming years.