University’s digital future

DIGITAL technology will be harnessed as part of a new initiative in Bognor Regis.

The latest high-tech processes are being embraced with the development of an Institute for Sustainable Enterprise on the University of Chichester’s town campus.

The ‘innovative’ project will focus on supporting and developing ‘key growth sectors’ including creative digital 
media, data science (or big data) and enterprise.

The institute forms part of a proposed enterprise zone in Bognor included in a bid for funding put to central government recently.

Professor Clive Behagg, the university’s vice-chancellor, said: “We are delighted to be partners in this proposal.

“This is an excellent opportunity for the university to support Bognor by developing the local knowledge economy.”

The enterprise zone is part of the latest strategic economic plan from the Coast to Capital local enterprise partnership.

It has been presented to government 
for £559m of funding over the next six years.

Of this, £30m has been requested for the enterprise zone based around the former Lec airfield of 77 hectares.

The zone, known as Enterprise Bognor Regis, has been identified in the plan as a priority location for investment. It has the potential to generate nearly 5,000 jobs and accommodate 200 businesses.

Arun District Council leader Gillian Brown said: “This is an ambitious and transformational proposal that will revitalise Bognor and secure long-term economic growth in the area.

“It has the potential to create thousands of new local jobs – something that is very much needed. Our business community are fully behind the plans for this and the urgently-needed infrastructure improvements to the A29.”

She added the need for a road network fit for current and future demands and its importance to achievable sustainable growth were both fully recognised.

Enterprise zone status will provide incentives, like business rate relief and ultra-fast broadband, to encourage firms to the area as well as new businesses.