Brighton & Hove’s businesses can expect full support from the city’s new council administration. That’s the pledge from leader Brian Oxley in his first address to the city’s Economic Partnership.
Cllr Oxley said the authority aimed to “provide the raw material” for businesses and listen to their needs.
But he warned the city faced blockages to business growth which must be addressed. These included a need to improve transport and ensure businesses had room to expand.
“One of the most innovative e-learning companies in the city centre has had to open an office in Sheffield,” said the leader. “Not because it can’t find good people here, but because it can’t find the right office space.”
However, Cllr Oxley said Brighton & Hove’s status as a hot-house of new media firms was boosted by the virtual world Second Life’s decision to base its European HQ in the city.
On transport he said: “Too often the first impression of the city is a long queue down London Road or a muddle of cars and buses outside the station.”
Access for motorists should be speeded up by better signing and supporting growth in public transport, he believed.
“We can’t solve this on our own,” Cllr Oxley said. “Many of the big decisions that affect our city are taken elsewhere by Network Rail or the Highways Agency. We look to partners to support our lobbying efforts.”
The leader pointed out that the city had done well in recent years and assured firms he would not make any changes which could put that prosperity in jeopardy.
Among other priorities are making the built environment more attractive, diversifying the local economic base and delivering key major developments like the new Brighton Centre.
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