Last week, I visited our new £6 million Enterprise Centre. This is a purpose built centre offering affordable and flexible accommodation for small to medium sized businesses on Terminus Road in Chichester. We have invested in this project to help create more jobs locally and encourage the growth of new businesses in the district.

It is forecast that the project could create around 275 new jobs every three years and contribute to improved business survival rates.  In particular, the centre will focus on the needs of small, medium and start-up businesses, with flexible easy-in, easy-out terms. The centre will provide 3,282 square metres of high quality workspace, including serviced and managed offices, workshops and shared workspace in a purpose-built development. There are 82 units in total, including fully functioning offices, studios and workshops, ranging from 12 to 65 square metres. A variety of business support facilities are also available, including: a reception, breakout area, bookable meeting rooms, telephony, high speed internet and free parking.

The aim is to help support businesses in a variety of ways, including working with local education providers and business groups, to offering support and mentoring schemes. Basepoint has been chosen to manage the centre on our behalf and they hope to open its doors towards the end of February. They already manage 30 other centres across the southern region and have had great success and so we are very much looking forward to working with them. This is one of many projects that we are developing to support business growth.

Work has also started on a new £2 million development that will accommodate six new industrial units, located on Terminus Road, Chichester. Each unit will provide between 230 and 300 square metres of floor space. It is predicted that each unit will employ around five people. As well as encouraging business and providing new employment in the district, the scheme will also help generate rental income for the council, helping to protect key services for residents across the district. One of the key aims of this scheme is to improve the area's economy by attracting new employers. It could also provide an opportunity for existing businesses in the area who are seeking to expand and move to new premises.

In addition to these key projects, the council has pledged over £300,000 to support small businesses and retailers across the district. This will be achieved through a variety of projects, including a grant scheme to help with capital projects or apprenticeship training; an independent retail support programme that will provide specialist retail training and shop front grants; plus, we are investing more funds into our Choose Work programme to help businesses better engage with schools and colleges. Our Economic Development team is working hard to develop these schemes and we will let you know as soon as we are ready to launch them.

Supporting our local economy is high on our agenda and these are just a few of the many ways in which we are doing this. Our Economic Development team are here to help and support local businesses and so if you feel their support would benefit you or someone you know, please get in touch with them.  

We have a huge amount of projects and initiatives taking place this year and so I look forward to updating you further on these over the coming months. Make sure you keep in touch with our latest news.

Best Wishes

Cllr Tony Dignum

Leader of Chichester District Council

January 2018