Geoffrey Theobald: Government is investing in city’s infrastructure

Cllr Geoffrey Theobald
Cllr Geoffrey Theobald

We hear a lot from the Labour and Green parties about how the government is cutting funding for local government as part of its austerity measures.

However, what we don’t hear quite so much about from them is the extra money that the government is investing in the economy and infrastructure of Brighton and Hove when in fact a total of £58 million of Government capital funding is due to be invested in the city in 2017/18 on initiatives such as new schools, housing stock and transport related schemes.

Local Growth Funding of £0.135m (in addition to £24.5 million Government City Deal funding) has also been awarded from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to support the establishment of Digital Catapult at New England House which helps to increase the number of digital businesses and the numbers employed in digital roles in the area. The LEP also funded the Preston Barracks Central Research Laboratory at £7.7m, and the state-of-the-art Advanced Engineering Building at the University of Brighton which is nearing completion at £7m.

Brighton and Hove has also been successful in attracting funding as part of a wider Greater Brighton bid which will part-fund two projects in the city – the Sussex Bio Innovation Centre at the University of Sussex and the Waterfront project – the relocation of the Brighton Centre and subsequent expansion of the Churchill Square shopping centre.

The £5.5m award towards the construction of a Bio-Innovation Centre as part of a new Life Sciences building at the University of Sussex will facilitate important research projects and nurture young academics for future careers in life sciences and biomedical research. Central Government’s investment of £12.1m to develop the new Brighton Centre at the Black Rock site on Brighton’s seafront as part of the Brighton Waterfront regeneration project will allow the expansion of Churchill Square shopping centre from its current location right down to the seafront incorporating the current Brighton Centre site.

Both projects are hugely exciting in terms of supporting our city’s businesses, creating new jobs and encouraging growth.

In addition to these projects supported by the government I am delighted work to develop the area in The Lanes around the former Hanningtons department store in Brighton has begun with a £72m investment from property investment company Redevco. Having been a very keen supporter from the outset it is great to see the time, work and effort so many people put in to the venture now bearing fruit.

Geoffrey Theobald is leader of the opposition on Brighton and Hove Council and leader of the Conservative group