Creativity could hold the key to boosting Bognor Regis’ economic prospects.
Senior councillor Dr James Walsh said the arts had the potential to improve the town’s prospects.
A surge in creative enterprise could result from the Arun district becoming a member of the Greater Brighton Economic Board, Arun District Council’s’s leader told his fellow members.
They agreed to ask to join the board after Cllr Dr Walsh spoke about the large financial benefits which had been gained by the existing members.
“It’s very clear from reading their annual report and from talking to people that their ability to lever in substantial sums of money from the private sector in partnership with the public sector to the benefit of communities is enormous.
“The sums of money are many millions of pounds, probably over the total, hundreds of millions of pounds being levered into those other authorities. And there is evidence of what is happening in
Adur and Worthing, in Newhaven, Brighton and Hove, Crawley and particularly at the moment in Burgess Hill.
“There is specific benefit to Arun in upskilling the local economy leading to a higher wage economy and bringing the benefits of a modern superfast broadband is just some of the things in the pipeline at the moment, expanding the creative arts, which could well be an expansion added on to the University of Chichester campus in Bognor Regis.
“It’s much wider than that but I commend it to this council.”
Cllr Dr Walsh, Arun’s Lib Dem leader, and the council’s chief executive, Nigel Lynn, attended the latest meeting of the economic board.
Mr Lynn said: “It is about working with partners and the board is made up of a number of partners.”
One example of how the funding was achieved was by linking with companies like City Fibre to achieve superfast broadband, said Mr Lynn.
“It’s also about getting money from the local growth fund, which is administered by the government and also from the local enterprise partnership as well,” he said.
“You have to be in it to win it. We need to get some of our agenda on to that agenda.”
Successful projects were voted on by the board’s members, he said. About 12 schemes were ongoing in various locations.”
Arun would get one vote. Its annual membership fee would be £23,000 based on its population.
A series of questions were asked by councillors before they gave their agreement to join the board.
Cllr Paul Dendle (C, Arundel) enquired about the funding sources.
Cllr Paul English (C, Felpham E) questioned if membership would be reviewed yearly for its benefits.