How will Brighton and Hove's new City Plan Affect Local Businesses

Brighton & Hove City CouncilOffering an exciting vision for the future of Brighton & Hove, the council’s City Plan Part One is destined to help this already vibrant and dynamic city expand and grow along with the needs of its residents. And that growth can only spell good news for many local businesses.

The first phase of the initiative won official approval in March of this year and sets out how Brighton & Hove Council will meet the challenges posed by a growing population, social and economic pressures and concerns about the environment. Having wasted little time in getting the ball rolling, the council expects this initial phase of its grand plan to be completed by 2030 when the City Plan Part Two will take effect and continue to help Brighton & Hove develop and prosper well into the middle of the twenty-first century.

Brighton: A South Coast Cultural Hub

With a population of just over 270,000, Brighton & Hove already has a reputation as a diverse and cultured city, with a thriving arts scene, strong creative and digital sectors and a buoyant tourist industry which attracts upwards of eight million visitors a year.

In 2009 tourist spending alone was thought to have added £732 million to the city’s coffers, so it’s easy to see why Brighton & Hove is an attractive place for business owners and new start-ups.

The Big Strategy: How Businesses Will Benefit

Among the strategic objectives outlined in the council’s report on the City Plan Part One is a promise to transform Brighton & Hove into a ‘major centre on the South Coast for sustainable business growth and innovation’, placing small and medium enterprises right at the heart of their vision for the city’s future.

Some of the current problems identified by the city council include the current lack of affordable business premises and workspace was a key issue to be addressed by the City Plan Part One. This is a subject that was also hotly debated at the Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce big debate earlier this month, with business leaders pointing out that while Brighton was an attractive place in which to recruit, finding premises large enough to accommodate their needs was extremely difficult.

Compared with much of the UK, Brighton has a relatively young, highly skilled population, and with its thriving arts and design scene it attracts talent from not just the UK but around the world. Great news, of course, but a young population demands more housing, more services and more jobs.

With an eye on forging sustainable economic growth, part of the council’s big plan is to put more support in place for the city’s key and growing employment sectors by offering more support to local entrepreneurs and ensuring that there are better training opportunities in place for their workforces. The creative, digital, information technology and environmental technology sectors have all been highlighted as critical to the continued growth of the city, and it is here that the council intends to direct considerable resources between now and 2030.

Having carried out an Employment Land Study, the council has been able to forecast how much additional industrial floor space and business premises will need to be acquired under the second part of their City Plan. After 2030 greater attention is to be directed to improving access to ‘employment floor space’, meaning more accommodation for new companies and expansion opportunities for existing businesses.

Sustainable Long-Term Ambitions

By targeting areas of the city which are ripe for regeneration and renewal, the City Plan will also aim to introduce more leisure, retail, cultural, tourist, health and education facilities, meaning that there will be plenty of chances for new enterprises or established local businesses to move in and provide these services. From property developers building the much-needed affordable homes to new bars, restaurants, cafes, hotels, shops and galleries, the scale of the proposals and the opportunities opening up to entrepreneurs mean an exciting few years ahead for Brighton & Hove.

Having already felt some of the benefits from the council’s ambitious plans, businesses in the Brighton & Hove area can expect great things over the coming months and years. Change and the march of progress can be daunting, but the city has already proven its ability to adapt, grow and face up to economic and social challenges, maintaining its unique standing as one of the UK’s most exciting places to live and work. With clear ambitions and a bold, dynamic plan for growth, the future for Brighton’s businesses looks very bright indeed. If you're interested to understand what the proposed changes could mean for your business contact our Brighton accountants to arrange an initial consultation.