A fast-growing and vibrant city
In December 2013, Brighton was the third-highest ranked place on the UK Vitality Index Report, which measures the economic strength of towns and cities in the United Kingdom. It was among the top performing towns and cities on almost all of the 20 measures used by the index.
The city’s economy is service-based with a strong emphasis on creative, digital and electronic technologies. Tourism and entertainment are also important economic sectors for the city, including hotels and amusements, alongside Brighton Pier and Portslade Harbour.
In the 2011 census, the resident population of Brighton & Hove was estimated at 273,369 people, an increase of 25,552 since the 2001 census. The latest estimate, for 2012, is 275,800 residents with further growth projections of 5.1 per cent by 2021, which would take the resident population to 289,900.
Brighton is a popular destination for conferences, exhibitions and trade fairs, and has had a purpose-built conference centre since 1977. Direct income from the Brighton Centre’s 160 events per year is £8 million and a further £50 million is generated indirectly by visitors spending money during their stay.
Property prices in Brighton & Hove are above the regional average by around 9.74%. Fewer people own their own homes here, at the time of the 2011 census, only 53 per cent of households were owner-occupied, meaning that the city is below-average in this respect when compared to the south-east region (68 per cent) or to England (63 per cent). A high proportion of households (the second highest proportion outside of London) were in the private rented sector. This is excellent news for buy-to-let property investors.
Brighton’s largest private sector employer is American Express whose original 28,000 sq.m European headquarters opened in 1977 and employed around 3,500 staff as of 2008. Planning permission to demolish the offices and build a replacement was granted in 2009. The £130 million scheme started in 2010 and supported around 1,000 jobs in the construction industry.
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Economy & Employment
Brighton and Hove’s economy revolves around tourism and the service sector.
Brighton has been an important centre for commerce and employment since the 18th century.
The city has over 9,600 registered companies, and a 2001 report identified it as one of five “super-cities for the future”.
It is home to several major companies, some of which employ thousands of people locally. As a retail centre, it is of regional importance; creative, digital and new media businesses are increasingly significant.
Brighton’s largest private sector employer is American Express, whose original 28,000 sq.m European headquarters opened in 1977.
Other employers; Lloyds Bank, Asda, Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company and Inkfish all operate from the city.
Brighton and Hove is home to a substantial tourism industry contributing £380m to the economy and employing some 20,000 people.
A city centre oasis is planned to regenerate the city.
The aim of the city centre regeneration is to create an oasis for people living, working and visiting the area. The regeneration will take advantage of its significant footfall, as a major pedestrian route between Brighton Station and London Road.
The London Road Project master plan sets out a range of planning-related objectives and guidance to secure positive and long-lasting improvements in the area. The vision is to make London Road attractive for business investment and a popular destination for customers to spend their time and money. These objectives will be assisted through investing in environmental and public realm improvements – new public spaces for informal recreation and new high-quality developments.
Transport infrastructure improvements to unlock Shoreham Harbour’s potential have been finished. The work was able to go ahead thanks to Brighton & Hove City Council, with West Sussex County Council (WSCC) and other partners, successfully securing a £5m grant from the government’s Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). The city council received around £1.7 million to improve transport links in the city.
Air: Fast and frequent train services run from Brighton’s rail station to Gatwick Airport in just 24 minutes.
Rail: Brighton station is the most important station in Sussex. It is a hub where lines from the north, west and east terminate. The express London Victoria service takes just 51 minutes.
Road: The borough is served by the A27 from the east to Lewes and Eastbourne and to the west to Worthing and onto Portsmouth. The A23 heads north to Crawley and onto the M25.
Bus: Brighton and Hove bus company operate the majority of the routes in the borough, they cover a large area encompassing the whole of the city and some parts of West and East Sussex. They operate around 40 routes both day and night services.
Brighton and Hove host 48 infant and primary, 10 secondary/ 6th form and 7 independent schools.
Notable schools include:
Brighton & Hove High School, the school is highly successful in meeting its aims to provide high quality, broadly based education for girls in a happy, stimulating and safe environment, supported by a strong pastoral system.
Further Education: Brighton & Hove and Sussex 6th Form College (BHASVIC) offer a wide variety of the more usual subjects, alongside media and performing arts courses. Other FE colleges are City College, Portslade Community College, Plumpton College, Vardean College.
Higher Education: the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex offer HE in the borough. The University of Sussex has over 14,000 students, of which over a third are postgraduates. Sussex has developed a reputation for innovation and inspiration and attracts leading thinkers and researchers. With over 2,100 staff, including around 1,000 teaching and research staff, of which over 300 are research-only. They have counted 3 Nobel Prize winners, 14 Fellows of the Royal Society, 12 Fellows of the British Academy and a winner of the prestigious Crafoord Prize.
Shops & Leisure
Shopping & Dining: With a unique atmosphere, impressive array of funky interior design shops, fashion boutiques and specialist shops jostling alongside international restaurants, organic greengrocers and independent cafés, there is a wide variety of shopping to suit everyone. Hove is home to regular French markets, where you can splash out on an array of tempting deli cheeses and breads, as well as the increasingly popular farmers’ markets selling a variety of delicious locally grown produce.
Culture: From the beating heart of the cultural quarter to its unique villages, Brighton & Hove offer a staggering choice of drama, opera, music, dance, literature. The Brighton Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the UK, one of its main objectives is to promote local talent and the arts. It also offers performers an opportunity for their event to be reviewed or picked up by promoters.
Green Spaces: Seven Brighton & Hove parks and public spaces have received prestigious green flag awards. Easthill Park, Hove Park, Kipling Gardens, Preston Park, St Ann’s Well Gardens and Stoneham Park have been awarded Green Flags for excellence for several years. The Level is the latest park to achieve a green flag award in 2014.