Plans to create ‘prosperous, sustainable’ economy in Chichester district

A NEW economic development strategy has been approved by Chichester District Council to cope with the ‘massive changes’ which have taken place in the last five years.

Members of the council approved the plan, subject to a further report being made to cabinet once an action plan has been completed, at their meeting last week.

Presenting the strategy to members, Cllr Myles Cullen said the importance of supporting local business was ‘more stark than ever’ as the council faced changing times.

“This council’s support to local business has been maintained while many other councils have cut their support,” he said.

“I would like to think that is partly because of our support that levels of unemployment here are lower than the national average, lower than the regional average and lower than the county average.”

The report outlines key targets, particularly becoming ‘more attractive to working age households’.

It highlights a housing stock ‘biased towards more expensive’ houses and ‘too few’ well-paid jobs as reasons why the district struggles to retain and attract younger, working households.

“Although it has more jobs than working-age residents, it relies on in-commuters who live in more affordable, neighbouring areas, whilst its more highly-skilled residents often commute out to better paid jobs,” said the report.

“Self-employment and micro-businesses are key features of the district economy, perhaps reflecting both a high level of entrepreneurship and lack of alternatives in paid employment.”

It identifies four main priorities:

Priority one: attract and retain working age talent.

Priority two: create the conditions to support growth-orientated businesses.

Priority three: match skills to business and economic needs

Priority four: make best use of the district’s natural and cultural assets.