In the latest instalment of our #ThisIsLiving series, we’re celebrating Coastal West Sussex’s connections.

High quality connectivity by road, rail, sea and air is a significant advantage for Coastal West Sussex.

The area is increasingly well served by local infrastructure and is within short distance of the A27, M23, M3 and A3 offering easy access to London. Improvements to the A27 will have a major role to play in reducing journey times and enhancing access to more jobs. Significant investment has been secured for junction improvements, which will deliver strategic housing and commercial development at Brighton City Airport at Shoreham. Bognor Regis has also seen investment in infrastructure, including the £27m Bognor Relief Road. The A23 and A24 provide northbound connections to Gatwick Airport, Guildford, Croydon and the M25 London orbital.

The sub-region is relatively well served by the rail network connecting the main towns along the coast, as well as providing good connections north towards London and Gatwick Airport in 90 and 56 minutes from Chichester, 76 and 49 minutes from Worthing and 98 and 57 minutes, respectfully, from Bognor Regis.

We are an international business location. London Gatwick Airport is around 40 minutes north of Coastal West Sussex. Gatwick welcomes nearly 44 million passengers a year with long haul services driving huge growth. London Gatwick currently flies to approximately 200 destinations in Europe, Asia, Russia, USA, Africa and Australasia and already has a significant impact on the economy. It provides around 23,000 direct jobs and a further 8,000 indirect and induced jobs.

This includes around 850 Coastal West Sussex residents who work for Gatwick Airport and an additional 600 indirect and induced jobs that benefit the Coastal West Sussex economy.This contributes around £66m each year to its economy. Airport connections are known to have additional benefits for international trade, Foreign Direct Investment and tourism and there can be additional ‘spill-over’ effects that result from agglomeration and productivity improvements. These ‘catalytic effects’ are difficult to quantify.

However, around 165,000 overseas visitors who travel by air come to Coastal West Sussex each year and they spend around £67m annually in the local economy.

In addition, many parts of Coastal West Sussex are within easy reach of Southampton Airport and we have our own airport, Brighton City Airport at Shoreham, which is subject to major investment plans.

Shoreham Port is one of the largest cargo handling Trust ports on the South Coast, offering a full stevedoring service with state of the art Track-A-Pack storage control system. In 2016, the Port handled 900 ships and 2m tonnes of cargo, mainly aggregate, steel and timber. In addition, the Port has an extensive commercial property portfolio to let.

A Gigabit Coast

Access to ultrafast broadband connections has the potential to make a real difference to business and residents across the Coastal West Sussex area. Over £15m of public / private sector investment has been made to enhance the fibre broadband infrastructure in West Sussex. Improved broadband speeds can transform how we work, live and communicate. This exciting technology can improve our quality of life, and help to grow our economy by enabling new businesses to start up, and existing ones to prosper.

Towns and centres along our coastline are ‘superfast’ and there are plans to take the fibre broadband network further into outlying villages inland toward the South Downs.

More than 98% of homes and businesses in our area already have access to ‘superfast’ broadband with more expected to get access to the fastest speeds by the end of 2018.

Read more from our #ThisIsLiving report here.