Councils’ open business strategy heard around UK

A KEY strategic council priority of being ‘open for business’ appears to have been heard loud and clear.

Email trails released by Adur and Worthing councils last week detail an initial approach by organisers of the Wild Life Festival – set to be the largest music event in Sussex.

In the emails, SJM Concerts director Rob Ballantine makes it clear he has heard the council’s keenness to promote business opportunities.

He said: “Lloyd (council officer) has given me the impression that Adur and Worthing is very much ‘open for business’ and receptive to such ideas...

“As you can imagine we receive many varied responses to such proposals from local authorities around the UK but opening impressions with yourselves could not be more positive.”

The organisers went on to suggest they were ‘very interested’ to make the festival a ‘genuine success’ in Worthing.

The event, to be held at Shoreham Airport in June, went on to be granted a licensing application for a two-day event.

More than 90 conditions were imposed on the licence in response to residents’ concerns.

Mr Ballantine, whose firm runs other successful festivals, such as V Festival, told councillors the event would generate a minimum of £1 million revenue for the local economy.

Tina Tilley, chief executive of Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce was encouraged by the news the councils’ message on being open for business was getting through.

She said: “I do think that the council is trying to put in place the right people who are more keen to open doors to encourage investment than they have been in the past.”

The ‘open for business’ strategy was implemented by former chief executive Peter Latham in 2013 but the attitude has carried over to the new team, led by Alex Bailey.

Supporting SJM’s experience was new owner of the former police station site in Union Place, Worthing, Change Real Estate.

Co-director Ron Persaud said discussions with the council had been ‘very positive’ so far – a better experience than many authorities around the country.

Adur District Council has also been making use of business opportunities by allowing TV producers access to the Civic Centre, for filming of a new police drama, ‘Cuffs’.