Arun District Council is set to formally join a group tasked with growing the greater Brighton city region’s economy.
The Greater Brighton Economic Board is made up of six other local authorities, business partnerships, universities, Gatwick Airport and the South Downs National Park Authority.
In a report to the board, officers say Arun, which includes the towns of Arundel, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, would ‘add much to the critical mass and economic diversity of the greater Brighton city region economy’.
In addition Arun, which supports 55,000 jobs would take greater Brighton’s employment base to more than half a million which the report describes as ‘a significant milestone’.
The region’s economic worth was currently around £23bn which would be increased by 10 per cent should Arun join.
Nigel Lynn, chief executive of Arun District Council, said: “We look forward to working more closely with partners within the Greater Brighton Economic Board area for the benefit of residents not only in Arun, but across the whole of this important economic zone.”
Garry Wall, chairman of the board and leader of Mid Sussex District Council, added: “Obviously both Arun and the members of the greater Brighton region will need to individually support this proposal but the report makes clear what a good fit Arun is with us, helping us to grow and become even more attractive to investors.
“Since we began in 2014 we have now had Crawley District Council and Gatwick Airport joining us making a very powerful region indeed. It goes without saying that the more of us sharing a common aim to improve the lives of citizens by working together for the good of the whole Greater Brighton region can only be a good thing.”
The report also points out with pressure growing in greater Brighton for commercial property Arun has the potential to help relocation of some businesses and expansion of others where a significant amount for employment opportunity has been identified.
In addition the report points out that the economies of greater Brighton and Arun are closely linked with 1,900 people moving from the region into Arun in 2016.
The district also has a significant contribution to make to the overall housing stock in the greater Brighton area supplying much-needed homes for local residents and new workers to the region.
After supporting the recommendations that Arun join the region at a meeting of the Economic Board this week the district council and all other existing members of the greater Brighton region will now need to individually approve the plan.