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Chamber News & Blog

Important announcements from the Chamber, our members, local Councils and other relevant business news will be posted regularly here.

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  • 08 October 2020 10:16 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Virtual Trade Missions to build your International Opportunities

    It is no longer feasible for international businesses to travel to destination countries to promote their products and services. Similarly, we are currently unable to host visitors from overseas looking to bring their goods, services or investment to the UK.  To address that, we are developing a programme of Virtual Trade Missions that will connect Manor Royal businesses with overseas markets and give them a real competitive advantage for when flights resume.

    The inaugural event dates are:

    14/10/20 – The Philippines

    16/10/20 – Bulgaria

    27/10/20 – Argentina

    29/10/20 – Austin, Texas

    Further dates are being agreed with destinations for future events.

    Alongside the Virtual Trade Missions, we are building an online community space where participants, partners, promoters & sponsors can meet to exchange opportunities across all of the destinations we are working with and so build a large global trade network.

    Event fee is £32.50 +vat.

    There’s further information at & bookings can be made through

  • 07 October 2020 2:15 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Gatwick publishes half yearly results, as airport takes further steps to protect its future resilience against the economic impact of COVID-19

    • Encouraging start to the year heavily impacted by significant drop in passenger numbers due to COVID-19
    • Swift action taken to reduce operational costs and capital expenditure whilst the airport remained open throughout the pandemic
    • Focus on safety and wellbeing of passengers and staff remains a priority
    • Restructuring sets foundation for business to be in best place for recovery and future growth 

    Despite an encouraging start to the year passenger numbers at Gatwick fell by 66% in the first six month ended 30 June, 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19. The airport remained open throughout the pandemic, however all revenue streams were impacted and the collapse in passenger demand led to a 61.3% fall in revenue and a £321m loss.  EBITDA fell 98.3%.

    Decisive and swift action was taken to protect the financial strength of the business, following the spread of COVID-19 in March.  Planned capital expenditure has been reduced by £157m for 2020 and £196m for 2021.  Operational costs have been also reduced by over £100m through a variety of actions including consolidating air traffic to one terminal allowing for infrastructure shutdowns, severance programmes and termination of fixed term contracts, and improving efficiencies of its services in line with reduced airline and passenger demand.

    A priority continues to be protecting the health and wellbeing of employees and passengers and, following latest Government guidance, a wide range of health measures have been introduced and are continuously assessed to maintain and help restore public confidence in flying.  Gatwick currently has 18 airlines flying to 115 airports in 42 countries.

    To improve its liquidity, in April 2020 Gatwick secured a £300m loan with a consortium of banks. As at 30 June 2020, Gatwick held a cash balance of c.£326m. In light of the forecast impact on its financial covenants, Gatwick has commenced a three-week consent solicitation process following successful discussions with its lending banks and with bondholders forming a special committee of the Investment Association, in aggregate representing c.46.9% of total secured debt.

    In line with further reducing operating costs, with over 70% of Gatwick’s employees remaining on furlough, the business has announced a company-wide restructuring proposal which could result in the region of a further 600 job losses. The restructuring will better align the business to passenger and air traffic forecasts whilst allowing it to remain agile should demand recover faster than expected. The recovery period to pre-pandemic traffic levels is forecast to be four to five years.

    Gatwick Airport, Chief Executive Officer, Stewart Wingate said:

    “Like any other international airport, the negative impact of COVID-19 on our passenger numbers and air traffic at the start of the year was dramatic and, although there are small signs of recovery, it is a trend we expect to continue to see.  However, we are focussed on ensuring the business remains robust and is best placed to take advantage of future growth.

    “As with any responsible company we have protected our financial resilience by significantly reducing our operational costs and capital expenditure.   We are going through a proposed company-wide restructuring programme and I want to thank all my staff for their hard work to date whilst we go through this difficult time.  We will emerge a fitter and stronger organisation, best placed to remain flexible and agile in responding to growth opportunities.    This includes continuing to do all we can to protect the safety and wellbeing of our staff and passengers.

    “In this post COVID-19 travelling world, we are working hard with our airlines to ensure we continue to offer our customers a wide choice of destinations and carriers.   We also expect, next year, to progress our plans to bring the existing Northern (stand-by) Runway into routine use which, as we rebuild our passenger numbers over the next four to five years, will enable us to offer even more travel choice. We will ensure we continue to deliver our operation mindful of our environmental, social and governance responsibilities.  We want to rebuild better.

    Despite the immediate challenges I remain resolutely optimistic that Gatwick will recover and retain its position as one of the UK’s leading travel hubs and economic driver for the region.”

  • 07 October 2020 2:12 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Future of major green space set to be secured by Adur Council

    A major green space previously put forward for development is set to be preserved and enhanced for generations to come thanks to Adur District Council.

    For centuries, the 70 hectare site at New Salts Farm has been used for agriculture, acting as a natural barrier between the urban settlements of Lancing and Shoreham.

    But recently the owner Hyde New Homes explored the viability of creating more than 450 properties on the land to the north of the A259.

    Recognising the importance New Salts Farm plays in the look, feel and wider biodiversity of the area, the Council is now set to make the rare move of stepping in to purchase the site - with a commitment to preserve and enhance the land as a haven for natural habitat.

    Funding for the acquisition will come from the sale of the former Adur Civic Centre, where Hyde is working with the local authority to bring forward designs for 173 new homes and 1,000 sqm of office space.

    Cllr Neil Parkin, Leader of Adur District Council, said: “New Salts Farm plays an integral role in the look and feel of our whole district, acting as a vital green corridor between our vibrant coastline and the surrounding South Downs.

    "That’s why I’m delighted we have been innovative, creative and proactive in exploring ways to protect and enhance this land for generations to come.

    "If agreement is reached on purchasing the site, our ambition is to look at how it be used and improved to support biodiversity. This will support our very ambitious sustainability agenda and go some way to helping us achieve our target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.”

    A report on purchasing New Salts Farm is to be presented to executive councillors at a virtual meeting of the Joint Strategic Committee next week (Tuesday September 8, 2020).

    The document outlines how Hyde looked to get the land allocated for development in 2016. However this was contested by the Council due to flooding concerns and a desire to maintain the green gap.

    To prevent this from happening again, councillors are set to approve the purchase of the land at a meeting next week and seek to allocate the land as protected green space within the Adur Local Plan.

    The next stage will be for the Council to investigate how to best utilise the land for the wider benefit of residents and nature. This could include some of it being set aside for capturing solar energy.

    Cllr Parkin added: “We all know that there is high demand for housing in the area. While we are determined to support the creation of much-needed high-quality accommodation for our residents, this should not come at a complete cost to the natural environment.”

    The proposed acquisition of New Salts Farm forms part of “And Then…”, the Councils short, sharp programme of interventions and assistance to help the communities of Adur and Worthing bounce back from the impact of lockdown.

    It also supports the ambitions laid out in Platforms for our Places: Going Further, which sets out the Councils’ plans over the next three years to help residents and businesses to thrive through support and action in five key areas, or platforms.

  • 07 October 2020 2:07 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Green light for new Worthing health hub

    Tens of thousands of Worthing residents will benefit from radically improved health services after multi-million pound plans for a new town centre hub were approved by councillors.

    As part of its commitment to make best use of its public assets, Worthing Borough Council has led on, designed and is funding the creation of a high-quality facility on the civic centre car park in Stoke Abbott Road.

    The new contemporary building - which will be known as the Worthing Integrated Care Centre (WICC) - will bring together GP surgeries, mental health provision, community care and a pharmacy onto one central site.

    In addition to making it easier for patients to access care, it will also provide a significant upgrade to the facilities used by scores of NHS staff while creating a new multi-storey public car park.

    Councillors praised the design of the new building and its sustainable features before granting approval at a virtual meeting of the Council’s Planning Committee last night (Wednesday, August 26, 2020).

    Cllr Val Turner, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing, said: “This is the culmination of a long-term aspiration by the Council to make the most of this under-utilised land in the heart of Worthing. 

    “It’s taken ambition, vision, collaboration and lots of hard work to get this across the line. When complete, the result will be a fantastic new building which will complete the civic quarter and transform the way tens of thousands of residents receive healthcare.

    “Bringing together services onto one site like this will not only make it easier for those accessing care but also give our fantastic NHS workers state-of-the-art facilities to provide better integrated support.”

    The WICC is to be located on the car park at the back of Worthing Town Hall and would see the existing Central Clinic site demolished to make way for the new facility.

    The new building will meet the highest possible environmental standards with an air source heat pump providing the majority of the heating and photovoltaic solar panels on the roof.

    A new multi-storey car park for 181 cars and 68 cycle spaces is also to be built next to the new centre. A fifth of the spaces will have EV charging points with the potential to upgrade the remaining bays over time.

    The whole project is to be funded by Worthing Borough Council through borrowing which will be recouped through rent and income.

    Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, which provides medical, nursing and therapeutic care, and the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health and learning disability care, intend to take space in the new centre alongside the leading GP practice, Worthing Medical Group.

    Cllr Paul High, Chairman of the Planning Committee, said: “The committee agreed that this was an excellent proposal for a key site in the town centre. The designs are to a very high standard and manage to meet a demanding brief from different health partners coming together to share a facility for the first time. 

    “We’re confident that when complete, the new integrated health facility will significantly improve local health facilities and help to improve health outcomes for the local community.”

    Approval for the WICC comes just a few weeks after the adoption of “And Then…”, the Councils short, sharp programme of interventions and assistance to help the communities of Adur and Worthing bounce back from the impact of lockdown.

  • 07 October 2020 2:03 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Major post-COVID investment for Worthing’s leisure facilities

    Major investment in leisure facilities is set to be agreed by Worthing Borough Council as it looks to help communities continue to bounce back from COVID.

    With lockdown restrictions lifted, South Downs Leisure - which operates facilities in the town on behalf of the Council - has now resumed the majority of activities across its four sites.

    Thousands of people a week are using Worthing Leisure Centre, Davison Leisure Centre and Field Place while a newly-created app allows more than 12,000 subscribers to take part in fitness classes at home.

    To help South Downs Leisure continue to thrive and support the reopening of the swimming pool at Splashpoint, councillors will be asked to release a six-figure sum of emergency COVID funding to the trust.

    A separate report to the Joint Strategic Committee (JSC) also requests the Council to release £340,000 of Section 106 cash towards creating a new 3G football pitch at Palatine Park.

    The intention is to ensure residents have as much access as possible to regular exercise opportunities, which supports wellbeing while reducing the risks of COVID and other conditions.

    Councillor Edward Crouch, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Digital & Environmental Services, said: “Providing good-quality places for people to exercise and take part in activities which support wellbeing has never been more important. That’s why we are determined to use the resources we have to support, enhance and create a range of facilities for our residents.

    “In extremely difficult times, South Downs Leisure have done sterling work to ensure that our leisure centres were ready for action the moment COVID restrictions were lifted. This extra funding will allow them to build on that and ensure the high-level of demand for activities is met moving forward.

    “The investment in a new 3G football pitch at Palatine Park also underlines our commitment to working with the community and wider partners to create new spaces, where we can.”

    Reports to be discussed by JSC tomorrow (Tuesday September 8, 2020) outline the difficulties leisure providers across the UK have had due to the pandemic, with many needing financial assistance to stay viable.

    The Council will note that during lockdown South Downs Leisure took a proactive approach to ensure it could reopen safely while ensuring it would remain operating on a sustainable footing moving forward.

    This included investing in new screens to establish more than 200 virtual classes each week, turning the main hall at Worthing Leisure Centre into one of the south coast’s largest gyms and relocating racquet sports to the Davison site.

    To support the trust moving forward and cover COVID associated costs, councillors will be asked to agree to release significant funding.

    The total amount of investment, which cannot be released publicly for commercial reasons, will come from the Government’s COVID-19 Emergency Funding.

    The same meeting will also see executive councillors discuss releasing a contribution towards a new £915,000 3G facility at Palatine Park. Two-thirds of the funding is coming from a Football Foundation grant.

    When complete, the new pitch will be managed by South Downs Leisure with use shared between pre-arranged community hire and Worthing Town FC, which has more than 500 players in mens, womens and youth teams.

    Investment in leisure provision is a key part of “And Then…”, the Councils’ short, sharp programme of interventions and assistance to help the communities of Adur and Worthing bounce back from the impact of lockdown.

  • 07 October 2020 1:53 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Adur & Worthing Climate Assembly

    As part of the efforts to support the Climate Emergency Adur & Worthing Councils have commissioned a Climate Assembly to address the following questions:

    “How can we in Adur and Worthing collectively tackle climate change and support our places to thrive? What does this mean for the way we live and for our local environment?"

    The Climate Assembly involves 45 residents of Adur and Worthing meeting online to listen to evidence, deliberate and then make recommendations in answer to the above questions that will go to Adur & Worthing Councils in Spring 2021.

    These have been successfully running for a number of weeks, however the Climate Assembly team are keen to instil and inject the business voice / view into the conversation.

    The Adur & Worthing Council team are really keen to hear your views through a short 10min survey which you can complete here

  • 07 October 2020 1:24 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Bright future for prime Worthing town centre site

    Homes, flexible work space and a community department store will come together in a landmark development in the heart of Worthing.

    Worthing Borough Council has given the green light for St Clair Developments to turn the former Beales department store in South Street into a vibrant multi-use building.

    Central to the development is innovative community department store operator 15:17, which is set to open on the ground floor of the premises next week (October 3).

    Alongside typical retail offerings, the retailer is known to include fitness classes, cafés, soft play areas and opticians in a response to the shift in focus on the high street from conventional retail to leisure experiences.

    Alongside 15:17 are a series of new smaller units which have been leased to independent traders. The Council also recently approved plans for new flexible live/work units and residential apartments within a redundant storage/office building served off Bank passage  as well as 45 new apartments above the former Beales department store.

    Cllr Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “Worthing’s reputation as a vibrant town where people want to invest continues to grow, as is evident from the work that St Clair are doing to transform the former Beales site.

    “This development will not only support the continued regeneration of the town but also support our local economy to continue to bounce back from the COVID-19 lockdown. It will also create flexible space for local businesses, which will make our town centre more resilient to the ongoing change to high streets seen across the country.

    “I look forward to working with St Clair moving forward and seeing how the new space develops over time.”

    The Council’s Planning Committee approved plans to create a revamped larger department store along with smaller units on the ground floor and 45 flats above in 2018.

    This was designed to support Beales staying in the town. But unfortunately the retailer went into administration in January.

    Since then, St Clair has managed to lease the large unit to 15:17 Limited while a further 4,000 sq ft of retail space has been let to seven independent retailers on the ground floor.

    A spokesman for St Clair Developments said: “This application represents ongoing investment in the town centre by St Clair Developments.

    “It responds to the shift from traditional retail on the high street to providing alternative uses that remain appropriate to the site’s town centre location and include spaces for working, socialising, eating and leisure. 

    “The flexibility which is sought between these uses will allow the applicant to respond rapidly to the changing market and aims to avoid any significant periods of vacancy in the future.”

    Investment in and the revitalisation of town centres is a key part of “And Then…”, the Councils short, sharp programme of interventions and assistance to help the communities of Adur and Worthing bounce back from the impact of lockdown.

  • 01 October 2020 2:01 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    BuildingAW goes live: town centres key to COVID recovery

    Town centres will be key to building a post-lockdown future - that’s according to leaders of Adur & Worthing Councils who are coordinating the recovery of our local economy.

    Everything from a lick of paint on seafront benches, grants to new entrepreneurs and major intervention on prime assets is on the cards as the Councils continue helping communities bounce back from the pandemic.

    But central to all of the work will be the area’s urban centres, making them look welcoming in the short term while helping reshape the nature of work, leisure and retail in the months and years to come.

    Details of a raft of actions are included in the latest edition of BuildingAW magazine, which includes an interview with Andy Willems, the Councils' Head of Place & Economy, who is helping coordinate the recovery efforts.

    Andy said: “There is no doubt our town centres are going through real change. This was happening prior to lockdown, and COVID has accelerated things.

    “The town centre, or high street, was originally developed as a social meeting place where people exchanged ideas, met friends and shared experiences. Not dominated by retail and shopping.

    “I think we will start to see a shift back to what the town centre was originally intended to be, a social and experiential hub.”

    Part of the bounce back policy is encouraging the growth of cultural activities, such as cinema, theatre, exhibitions and outdoor events. 

    Also key is supporting the growth of housing and office space.

    The completion of the brand new HM Revenue and Customs building at Teville Gate, Worthing, is just one example with more than 800 workers due to move in shortly.

    Brand new health and community hubs are planned for Pond Road in Shoreham and Worthing Town Hall car park.

    At Free Wharf in Shoreham more than 500 homes are under construction and more homes are planned for the former Adur Civic Centre site which is just five minutes walk from the station. 

    Andy said: “Why are we encouraging the shift? With residential units comes people, with people comes activity, with activity comes economic spend, with economic spend comes new businesses, with new businesses comes a dynamic place.

    “We do need to retain ground floor ‘interest’ but we need to bring people back to our town centres to support our town centres.”

    BuildingAW is a bright, informal 28-page online publication which keeps residents and businesses across both areas up-to-date with all the latest development in their communities.

    Features in the September edition include the latest on plans to create hundreds of new homes on Shoreham riverfront; details on work underway at New Monks Farm in Lancing; and the latest on plans to expand Worthing’s creative hub at Colonnade House.

    The online publication also includes regular updates on some of the major projects across Adur and Worthing which are moving forward at speed.

    All of this is against the backdrop of the COVID pandemic and a programme called And Then...: Bouncing Back in Post-Pandemic Adur and Worthing, which looks to help the economy get back on its feet. 

    Cllr Brian Boggis, Adur District Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “There is light at the end of the tunnel. Business confidence is starting to slowly return and it is good to see that work has recommenced on many of the important projects in Adur, like New Monks Farm and Free Wharf. 

    “It is clearly not going to be an easy task to get things back to the way they were. But you can be sure that we will be doing all we can to support residents and businesses moving forward.”

    Cllr Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “Worthing is and remains a safe town to live and visit. Understandably some people are cautious. But the traders have responded with an enormous amount of responsibility with a range of safety measures in place.

    “Inward investment is continuing and work on key developments is progressing. As Worthing continues to show those strong signs of adapting and stepping up to the challenges ahead, we as residents have a key part to play in that by going out and ‘shopping and eating local’. Now more than ever we must show it is Time For Worthing.”

    Click here to read 

  • 01 October 2020 1:47 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Worthing to host two fantastic photography festivals this Autumn

    Two empty shop windows in the town centre, a disused seafront shelter and a brand new open air art gallery on the beach, are among several spaces that will feature in an outdoor and gallery photography trail in Worthing this Autumn.  

    The exhibitions, which are being coordinated by Worthing’s creative hub, Colonnade House, are part of two photography festivals - Photoworks and Photo Fringe 2020 - which have received funding from and been provided with exhibition space by Worthing Borough Council. 

    Photoworks, which will be showcasing the work of internationally renowned photographers in two empty shop fronts in Montague Street and Montague Quarter, runs for one month from Thursday 24 September. Photo Fringe 2020, which runs from 3 - 31 October, will be exhibiting the work of a range of artists in several locations across Worthing and Brighton. 

    An exciting addition to Worthing’s expanding art space will be an open air art gallery which is being installed on the beach in time for Photo Fringe between the Lido and West Buildings shelter. It is being made from stone-filled gabions and will have an accessible walkway for visitors to be able to view all sides of the gallery. 

    The West Buildings seafront shelter will continue to be used as creative exhibition space this Autumn and will showcase the work of local artist Barry Falk, who, through his photography, shares an insight into Worthing residents’ lives during the COVID pandemic. Falk is also a member of photography collective Map6 whose exhibition The Happiness Project will be on display at Colonnade House. 

    Cllr Kevin Jenkins, Executive Member for Regeneration for Worthing Borough Council said

    “It's great to see the various spaces within our town being used in this way, whether it's with a further addition to the offer on our seafront or by using empty shop fronts to help activate the street scene without our town centre. It further demonstrates our commitment to help out and enable local businesses to bounce back, whilst bringing interest and vitality to our town.”   

    Other venues that form part of the Photo Fringe 2020 artists’ trail include the windows of the Pavilion Atrium on Worthing Pier, Colonnade House, and a number of independent local venues that have signed up to Photo Fringe. Find out about more about what’s on at

    This work forms part of “And Then ...”, the Councils' short, sharp programme of interventions and assistance to help the communities of Adur and Worthing bounce back from the impact of lockdown.

  • 01 October 2020 1:30 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Update from the AWBP Chair, Andrew Swayne

    It’s a while since we shared one of these blogs, having taken a bit of break over the summer and looked at the style and frequency. We are now aiming for every 3-4 weeks.
    So what we have today is a modest refresh and we will also issue new material if there is a significant policy change, new scheme or local issue that needs sharing urgently.
    The good news is that its shorter with a focus on links to the underlying material.
    We are very much in recovery mode with an eye on more strategic matters and preparing for a relapse if infection rates increase.
    The economic intelligence work from Hatch, which is funded by a number of bodies including our councils is enlightening and being regularly refreshed.

    As well as the links below, please subscribe to the Covid updates from BEIS.  They are helpful, as are the weekly updates from WSCC on infection rates - they go down to council area.

    Some key thoughts;

    • The rule of six is with us – lets support our hospitality colleagues with safety being out and about and, given what we know about the age distribution of infection rates, contribute to encouraging good behaviour for our younger employees
    • Pop up cycle lines are with us – please share you views with your County Councillor.  We need the right schemes in the right places – I am lobbying to early review and better consultation
    • The schools are back – as a governor of one, and with a teacher in my family, I would like to thank the staff of all our educational establishments - early years to colleges for the amount of work they have done over the summer and hope their risk assessments don’t need too much updating
    • Once we know what Brexit actually will be in terms of detail, we will all need to check our contingency plans and plan for what will actually happen – the ongoing noisy public negotiation and lack of certainty does not help any business
    • We need to continue to work on supporting those without jobs with retraining. The Business partnership is working out how best it can contribute to this
    • There are lots of sources of help for those in businesses, particularly the new and smaller businesses - please use the sources below – also please consider if FSB or Chamber membership would be good for you
    • We don’t yet have an autumn budget date – there will be a lot to absorb
    • There is background work on A27 happening – more on that in the future – we will be pushing for increased business focused consultation
    • Don’t forget the green recovery – how will your business maximise the opportunity?
    Finally – you and you employees are your business’ greatest asset – look after each other and use some of the wellbeing services that are available 

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Worthing & Adur Chamber of Commerce is the trading name of Worthing & Adur Chamber of Commerce & Industry Ltd.
Company registered in England & Wales. Company number: 00345261.  
VAT No: 275 6477 60
Registered Office: Sphere Business Centre, Broadwater Road, Worthing,
West Sussex BN14 8HJ
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