MID SUSSEX DISTRICT COUNCIL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY STATEMENT 2003 INTRODUCTION Mid Sussex has a successful and prosperous economy- in local, regional and national terms. Its key strengths are- • A location at the heart of the south east • Excellent transport links by road, rail and air • A diverse economic base • Superb environment and quality of life • A skilled workforce and high educational achievement • Available sites and premises All combine to make this an ideal location for business. A successful economy is vital to the well-being of all who live and work in Mid Sussex- and the District Council intends to do all it can to keep it that way. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT- THE DISTRICT COUNCIL'S APPROACH The District Council has set itself a number of key objectives. The key objective in this context is- To promote social and economic well-being A number of other objectives are also relevant. These are- Develop partnership working to maintain and improve the quality of life in the District Act as an effective representative for the area of Mid Sussex Promote environmental awareness and responsibility and encourage the sustainable use of resources Listen to all communities in the District and consult on future plans Provide value for money services The Environment Directorate is charged with carrying out the District Council's planning and economic development responsibilities. The Directorate's own objectives include- Work to enhance the local economy and maintain its diversity in partnership with the private sector. Working in Partnership The District Council recognises that while it is a key player in the area of economic development, it cannot and should not work alone. Equally, in view of the limited resources available to the District Council for economic development and promotion- both financial and manpower- it would be unrealistic to expect it to be able to carry out these activities without other partners. The Council sees itself as just one of a range of organisations that must work together to maintain and develop local economic prosperity. The District Council already works with many other bodies in its economic development activity including Government departments; the regional development agency (SEEDA); the West Sussex Economic Partnership (WSEP); the Learning and Skills Council; other local authorities including in particular West Sussex County Council, Crawley Borough Council and Horsham District Council; Sussex Enterprise; Business Link Sussex; the Enterprise Centre, Action in Rural Sussex; the Sussex Education Business Alliance (SEBA); Town and Parish Councils; and local business organisations and regeneration groups. Our Partners' Strategies This Strategy Statement and the accompanying Annual Programme together set out the Council's objectives for economic prosperity and the proposed means of achieving these at the District level. They also link with other strategies of the Council, including the Tourism Strategy, which acknowledges the importance of tourism to the Mid Sussex economy. The strategies and objectives of other organisations also provide an important context for the District Council's own work. The District Council therefore considers that it is vital that the Strategy Statement and Annual Programme complement the strategies of partnership organisations such as SEEDA, the WSEP and the County Council. This degree of partnership and integration forms the cornerstone for future economic development activity. ************************************************************************************************ ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT- THE STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE To help maintain and enhance the economic and social well-being of Mid Sussex the District Council will do all it can- To enable and encourage the development of a prosperous, well-balanced and sustainable local economy capable of meeting the economic and employment needs of the Mid Sussex community whilst safeguarding the amenities and high quality environment of the District. ********************************************************************************************************* THE KEY AIMS The economic development strategic objective provides the overall context for the District Council's actions. To help meet this Strategic Objective the Council has identified six subsidiary key aims. These are listed below, and each is linked to a number of courses of action that the District Council will seek to carry out – either itself or with or in support of others -in order to achieve these objectives. KEY AIM 1- SAFEGUARDING ECONOMIC GROWTH To assist the growth of the local economy by means of a land use and planning policy framework designed to meet existing and future employment needs whilst safeguarding the environment of the District. The District Council will- • Ensure the provision of an adequate supply of land for business development, including through the identification of suitable sites in the Mid Sussex Local Plan • Subject to compliance with the development plan, apply land use policies flexibly with regard to proposals for appropriate business development in the towns, villages and within the rural areas • Seek the provision of a diverse range of business premises and to seek to match new business development to local business and employment needs • Promote and support the development and retention of small businesses • Safeguard appropriate existing business sites and premises from alternative forms of development or changes of use • Encourage the provision of appropriate new or improved infrastructure and facilities within Mid Sussex • Support the development of broadband provision within the District. KEY AIM 2- PROMOTING BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT To help to generate local economic growth by assisting the retention and expansion of existing local businesses and, where appropriate, attracting new inward investment. The District Council will- • Assist and encourage existing businesses to remain within Mid Sussex and, where appropriate, seek to facilitate their expansion through planning policy and other means • Assist in the provision of advice, information and other services to existing businesses and to others considering relocation to Mid Sussex • Maintain and enhance communication with the business community in order to accurately assess their needs in relation to future business development, advice and information • Promote Mid Sussex as a location for appropriate business formation and expansion and as a destination for new inward investment • Encourage the development of new and improved trading links between existing businesses in Mid Sussex. KEY AIM 3 – TRAINING AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT To encourage and support the development of full and high quality employment comprising a workforce with skills to match available employment opportunities. The District Council will- • Promote, encourage and support new training initiatives designed to meet the needs of employers and the workforce • Promote and encourage investment by employers in the training and re-training of their workforce • Assist in the promotion of training advice and information, particularly for small and start-up businesses • Assist, encourage and support the development of improved links between training and education providers and employers, including in particular through local Education Business Partnerships and the Young Enterprise scheme • Assist, encourage and support the provision of further education and vocational training facilities within Mid Sussex District. KEY AIM 4 – SAFEGUARDING THE ECONOMY OF THE TOWNS To maintain and improve the economic vitality and viability of the three main towns in Mid Sussex, including safeguarding and enhancing the main business estates and town centre shopping areas. The District Council will- • Encourage and support initiatives for the economic promotion and enhancement of Burgess Hill, East Grinstead and Haywards Heath • Promote and support measures to enhance the role of the three towns as district shopping centres, including through the planning policy framework • Promote and support measures to safeguard and enhance the role, infrastructure, appearance and range of premises on the main business estates, including through the planning policy framework. KEY AIM 5 – SAFEGUARDING THE ECONOMY OF THE VILLAGES To maintain and enhance the economy and local service function of the villages throughout Mid Sussex. The District Council will- • Encourage and support the development of local initiatives designed to assist the maintenance and enhancement of village economies, appropriate tourism development and service provision • Seek to safeguard existing appropriately located businesses and services within the villages of Mid Sussex • In accordance with the planning policy framework, encourage the development of appropriate new employment opportunities within the villages. KEY AIM 6 – SAFEGUARDING THE ECONOMY OF THE RURAL AREA To maintain and enhance the economy of the rural area of Mid Sussex whilst safeguarding its high quality environment. The District Council will- • Encourage and support appropriate measures to maintain and enhance the economy of the rural areas of Mid Sussex including the development of appropriate existing or new business enterprises, including those related to tourism, and in accordance with the planning policy framework • Encourage and support the provision of Farmers' Markets in appropriate locations within Mid Sussex • Encourage and support measures designed to help eliminate social or economic exclusion in rural areas, including through the provision of new local training and economic development projects, and support for additional ICT learning centre provision in rural areas. AN ANNUAL PROGRAMME Each year the District Council will prepare a draft programme of economic development and promotion activity. This will outline a proposed agenda of activity for the following financial year, and will indicate the total budget to be devoted to such activity by the District Council. The Economic Development Strategy Statement outlined above will provide the context for the preparation of the annual programme. The programme and budget will be the subject of extensive prior consultation with the business community, our partners and other interested organisations, and will be amended as appropriate in the light of comments received. Only at that stage will it be adopted as the Council's programme.
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