On Monday 23 June chief executive of Brighton & Hove Council, David Panter, addressed the BiR associations and offered some insights into how things have changed since the local elections and resulting hung council.
Quite apart from the Council being without any clear majority it is also much reduced in size. The drop in the number of councillors from 78 to 54 means that each has to assume a much broader brief to deliver the same level of services across the board. (see previous article Brighton & Hove Council Results in knowledge base)
David Panterís role has also been modified in the sense that he now needs to interact more widely with each of the key parties rather than just the ruling group. This is a positive outcome as it allows the other parties to assume a proactive role in regeneration issues. They are also becoming more in tune with the needs of small businesses as a result.
The key message that David gave to the local business representatives is that there are opportunities to be seized and it is important to consider a wider range of directions from which to lobby. Business should make sure that all parties are aware of their views and fully briefed about developments or concerns from small business association members.
Key subjects that were raised by the gathering included the ubiquitous transport debate, the development of the cultural industries, crime and grime, housing and in particular affordable housing, use of brown field sites, developments at Shoreham Airport, The King Alfred, the Kings West and numerous others. David suggested that there was an opportunity for some exciting and creative solutions and some bold new ideas for the future.
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