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Business Forum

News - 15 January 2004
Evan Davies at Brighton College

BBC Economics Editor Urges Flexibility in Local Planning

At a presentation to the Brighton & Hove City Forum at Brighton College last night, Evan Davies – BBC Economics Editor – urged local authorities to be flexible about the use class of new building developments but strict about the quality of their design.

In a fascinating discussion around manufacturing vs services and the merits of encouraging one or the other in a local economy Evan Davies said: -

“Should a piece of land only be used exclusively for manufacturing? No, that would be stupid!”

He went on to suggest that planning authorities must respond quickly and flexibly to changing markets demands. When asked whether it mattered that manufacturing accounted for so little of Brighton & Hove’s economy (less than 4%) he expressed the view that countries could not survive without some manufacturing base but town’s and cities could quite happily survive providing services.

Other factors that he felt contributed to a successful city included the presence of successful educational institutions, a young population and good post 16 educational opportunities. He was particularly enthusiastic about the need for a young population with ideas and drive and made reference to Prof Richard Florida’s “boho society” thesis which also rates the GBLT community as a boon to creativity.

Although he was reluctant to make predictions about the house prices, he suggested that current house prices in Brighton & Hove were “very frothy”. He suggested that the level of house prices may well be approaching the point where a correction was inevitable.

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