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Peter Lamb: Why we joined the Greater Brighton Economic Board

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This morning I represented Crawley at our first meeting as members of the Greater Brighton Economic Board.

Greater Brighton formed part of the first wave of devolution to local authorities, securing a ‘City Deal’ package of funding and powers based around economic development from Government, using legislation passed under Labour.

The board consists of councils, universities, businesses and economic organisations, tasked with delivering growth. Unlike later deals, there’s no mayor, council leaders instead take turns chairing and consensus is sought on issues.

“By 2040, trains leaving Brighton will be completely full”

The decision to join last Autumn faced significant opposition from those Conservatives who also serve as county councillors. West Sussex has always refused to join the board, presumably due to large sections of the county having little economic connectivity with those of us based within the Greater Brighton area. With Crawley joining, our sub-region’s economic centre is now clearly focused along the A23/M23 corridor.

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Why did we join? Well, there are investment and delivery opportunities, but at the core was the importance of devolution. I supported devolution long before I ran for council. Decisions taken closer to the frontline tend to be both more democratic and more effective at delivering for their area.

A key example for us is the Brighton Main Line. By 2040, trains leaving Brighton will be completely full, there will be no space for Crawley residents. The works to prevent this will take 20 years and it is critical for us they begin right away. However, the UK has one of the most centralised democratic governments in the world, making it difficult to attract national focus onto critical local issues, at this point Brighton Main Line simply isn’t a priority for them. It’s only by working together that we can gain the voice we need to attract the investment we require to deliver for our residents.

Cllr Peter Lamb

Leader, Crawley Borough Council

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Council have plans in place for ‘Beast from the East’

Salting operations are to continue throughout the period; snow ploughs will be fitted when required to ensure main roads are kept open.

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Yellow warnings for snow in Crawley have been issued by the Met Office until Wednesday. Photo: MetOffice

Snowfall will be effecting most of the country over the forthcoming week and the Met Office have issued yellow weather warnings for snow as well as amber warnings for some areas.

Following these warnings, West Sussex County Council have said they have plans in place to keep main roads open.

A West Sussex Highways spokesman said:

“Precautionary salting operations will continue throughout the period and snow ploughs will be fitted when required to ensure main roads are kept open.

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“We are therefore advising Town and Parish Councils to be prepared to enact their Winter Management Plans IF and when we issue an instruction to do so.”

A further update will be issued later today.

The County Council’s winter campaign website page has several sections giving advice on ‘staying warm’ please click here.

If you know or look after someone who may be susceptible to the effects of this cold weather period, please help ensure they stay warm and well and check in advance that they are prepared for this cold spell.

WSCC have offered some general advice including:

• Stay tuned in to weather forecasts.
• Check and maintain daytime room temperatures of 21°C.
• Check bedroom night-time temperatures and maintain it at 18°C or warmer.
• Keep warm and active and, if you have to go out, dress warmly and wear non-slip shoes.
• If you are concerned about your own health or welfare, or that of others, please alert the emergency services – details: emergency services.

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