The year ahead is going to be extraordinary time for us all

The signing of the ?City Deal? will bring millions of pounds of investment
The signing of the ?City Deal? will bring millions of pounds of investment

Much has happened in 2014 to put Brighton and Hove on the map.

Much has happened in 2014 to put Brighton and Hove on the map.

After working with our neighbouring areas - including councils, universities and businesses - we won “City Deal” status from government, bringing millions of pounds of investment to our Greater Brighton region.

In the summer, we were also named the third-best city in the country for small and medium-size businesses to grow.  And we had record visitor numbers of 10 million people coming to the city.

We won City of the Year Award in Europe for our work on sustainable travel.

Figures this year showed that the number of people killed and injured on our city streets had fallen - meaning our work to improve travel safety is paying off.

This year, we also opened two new libraries - at Woodingdean and Mile Oak - creating new community hubs for residents to access books and the internet at a time when most other councils are closing them.

2014 has not been without its challenges, but 2015 brings opportunities to address them.

Council officers are working on redesigning the refuse and recycling department to give residents an improved service; work is also due to begin on a permanent travellers’ site, which will help reduce the unauthorised encampments that have disrupted residents and businesses for many years.

The council is consulting on what is going to be its toughest budget yet, now that our government funding has been cut by some 40%.

The debate comes to a head in February, when councillors will be agreeing the budget and deciding how best to fund and provide services for residents for the year ahead.

After years of dwindling funds for local services, this time mounting government cuts are going to hurt. Combined with the general and local elections in May, it’s certain that 2015 will be an extraordinary year for our city. My best wishes to you all for the New Year.