East Sussex Growth Strategy 2014 to 2020

The East Sussex Growth Strategy focuses on business growth, improving our location and supporting residents to meet their potential.

Published: 2014
Valid until: 2020

This strategy was published in 2014 and has since been superseded by the East Sussex Economy Recovery Plan, published in 2020. For the latest reports, please see:

Executive summary

The Growth Strategy sets out our vision for a more innovative, productive and faster growing East Sussex economy. We believe the county has a unique offer to make to investors, businesses and skilled workers. One that blends inspiring coastline and countryside and a business base of like-minded companies in growing sectors of the economy.

Our strategy is built around three pillars: Business, Place and People.

Business: Enabling business growth, particularly of ‘high value’ businesses

If we are to close the productivity gap and accelerate economic growth, we need more high value businesses in East Sussex. This means enabling existing companies in the area to move up the value chain, supporting the creation of new business start-ups and attracting new high value firms to the county. We need to support investment in new types of business that are being formed to exploit demand for new products and services, and which are reaching new markets both in the UK and overseas through new digital technologies.

We have identified a number of sectors where there is a base of businesses and employment on which to build, and enhance prospects for growth. These sectors are:

  • advanced manufacturing
  • business and professional services
  • environmental technologies (‘Clean Tech’)
  • health and social care
  • land-based industries.

Regardless of the sector, we will create an environment for all East Sussex businesses to grow by providing access to good quality business premises, a skilled workforce and relevant business support.

Place: A significantly valued asset to the East Sussex economy

We firmly believe that East Sussex offers a quality of life to attract the best skilled workers and entrepreneurs in the country. We need to further enhance the attractiveness of our towns, villages and rural areas to support a thriving visitor economy. We will continue to invest in the quality of the built environment, the range of cultural attractions and protect and enhance the natural environment. We will continue to promote our valued assets to grasp the many unique and positive images here in East Sussex.

We will also provide a choice of good quality housing of different types of tenure, delivering the housing targets in District and Borough Local Plans, and provide flexible workspace to accommodate demand from the growing number of home workers and home-based businesses.

We are within easy reach of London and other regional, national and international markets for business.  We will continue to enhance connectivity to these markets. This means lobbying for better High Speed rail connections to Hasting and Bexhill, for investment in strategic roads like the A27 and rolling out fibre broadband across the county.

People: Meeting the skills needs of business and supporting residents to reach their full potential

To serve businesses now and in the future we need more residents with higher-level (degree level) skills. To achieve this we will support the expansion of our universities, putting them at the heart of our growth plans and supporting them to enhance their research and development capacity. To meet the skills needs of employers we will encourage the take up of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in schools and the take up of vocational training, such as apprenticeships.

We also need to tackle the number of people out of work and economically inactive in parts of the county, supporting projects and programmes to bring people back into the labour market. Employers identify the need for improvements in basic and 'soft' [1] skills to improve work readiness, which needs to be a focus for providers. All of this will require stronger relationships between employers and learning providers, which we will help to broker through the East Sussex Employment and Skills Board.

[1] Soft skills are personal qualities, habits, attitudes and social graces that make someone a good employee and compatible to work with.

Read the full strategy

East Sussex Growth Strategy 2014 to 2020 (PDF, not accessible) [1.0 MB] [pdf] 41 pages

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Contact the Economic Development Team

Email: Economic Development