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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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  • 13 December 2018 9:19 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Have your say on Gatwick Airport's Draft Master Plan Consultation

    As part of the airport planning process - and reflecting industry best practice - Gatwick creates and regularly publishes a ‘master plan’ to show how the airport intends to develop and grow in the longer term. The master plan also helps to inform the wider regional and local planning process.

    Draft master planOur 2018 draft master plan sets out proposals for the airport’s ongoing development and sustainable growth. In it we explain our latest thinking on how the airport can meet the increasing demand for air travel and provide Britain with enhanced global connectivity. 

    We also demonstrate how we can create new opportunities for the region and continue to bolster the local economy for future generations, while doing everything possible to develop and grow in a sustainable way - striking the right balance between economic growth and environmental impact.

    This draft master plan is also a direct response to the Government’s recent call for UK airports to look at ‘making best use of their existing runways’ and we explore how Gatwick could grow across three scenarios:

    1.  Main runway: using new technologies to increase capacity

      In the near term, the airport has explored how deploying new technology could increase the capacity of the main runway, offering incremental growth through more efficient operations.

    2. Standby runway: innovative plan to bring existing standby runway into use

      Under its current planning agreement, Gatwick’s existing standby runway is only used when the main runway is closed for maintenance or emergencies. However, the 40-year planning agreement will come to an end in 2019. The draft master plan sets out for the first time how we could potentially bring our existing standby runway into routine use for departing flights, alongside the main runway, by the mid-2020s.

      This innovative development, which would meet all international safety requirements, would be delivered without increasing the airport’s noise footprint and provide greater operational resilience.

    3. Additional runway: safeguarding for the future

      While we are not actively pursuing the option of a building a brand new runway to the south of the airport - as we did through the Airports Commission process - we believe it is in the national interest to continue to safeguard this land for the future as part of our master plan.

    You can view the full draft master plan and an aerial film highlighting the location of the three scenarios outlined in the draft master plan. We have also created high resolution versions of some of the maps included in our draft master plan at the bottom of this page

    Our draft master plan consultation document is designed to explain the consultation in more detail.

    Public consultation

    We believe the plans offer safe, agile, low-impact ways of unlocking much-needed new runway capacity from within our existing infrastructure - however, it is important that everyone has their say so we look forward to hearing the views of our local communities, partners and stakeholders.

    A 12-week public consultation is now live and includes six public exhibitions in our local area, which will help inform the publication of the final master plan early next year. Although, the public exhibitions have now all taken place, we still welcome your views and encourage you to respond before the consultation closes at 5pm on 10 January 2019.

    If you were unable to attend our exhibitions, you can read our public information below and let us know your thoughts by responding to our online consultation or by post.

    Respond to our consultation

    Your views are important to us as we consider how best to grow Gatwick Airport sustainably, including making best use of the existing runways in line with Government policy.

    Public exhibitions

    All of our public exhibitions have now taken place. The dates and times are listed below. If you missed out, then you can still read the full draft master plan online or by visiting one of several public libraries (also listed below).  


    Date: Saturday 3 November
    Time: 15:30-19:30
    Location: The Barn, Causeway, Horsham, RH12 1HE


    Date: Thursday 8 November
    Time: 15:30-19:30
    Location: Centrale Shopping Centre, Croydon, CR0 1TY

    Tunbridge Wells

    Date: Saturday 10 November
    Time: 11:00-17:00
    Location: Royal Victoria Place Shopping Centre, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 2SS


    Date: Monday 12 November
    Time: 14:30-18:30*
    Location: Churchill Square Shopping Centre, Western Road, Brighton, BN1 2RG


    Date: Saturday 17 November
    Time: 11:00-17:00
    Location: County Mall Shopping Centre, Crawley, RH10 1FG


    Date: Saturday 24 November
    Time: 15:30-19:30
    Location: Horley Leisure Centre, Anderson Way, Horley RH6 8SP


    Date: Monday 26 November
    Time: 09:00-16:00
    Location: Gatwick Airport in the South Terminal Arrivals Hall.

    The venues have been selected across the Gatwick region to enable a reasonable travelling time, both by car and public transport.

    *The times for the Brighton event are slightly different from those originally published.

    Respond to our consultation

    Your views are important to us as we consider how best to grow Gatwick Airport sustainably, including making best use of the existing runways in line with Government policy.

    In 2019, we will publish a final master plan document which will consider the feedback received during the consultation period.

    If you would like more information, our details are:

    Tel: 0808 168 7925

  • 12 December 2018 10:16 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Alliance chews over two very different construction projects

    Property and real estate professionals have been sizing up two contrasting developments at the latest meeting of the Sussex Property Alliance, held at the Fontwell Park complex.

    On the agenda was the Harwoods Group’s Land Rover and Bentley motor dealerships and head office relocation from Pulborough town centre to a greenfield area adjacent to the Brinsbury Campus of Chichester College, and a rather different project based on the proposed new Gatwick Airport’s Master Plan.

    Ken Watson, Director of HNW Architects, spoke about the complex process of gaining planning consent for the multi-million-pound scheme for Harwoods – an intensive 20-month process that took account of the visual impact of the new development, the mitigation of any potential harm to the surrounding area, and the need to demonstrate a tangible trading link between the Harwoods Group and Brinsbury Campus.

    The process involved significant liaison with Ward Councillors, presentations to Parish Councils, public consultation and detailed planning negotiations and applications before the project plans were eventually approved.

    During the Q&A there was a general discussion framed around the difficulty in progressing planning applications in a timely fashion across the south in general. The discussion highlighted the fact that although those in working in the sector, whether they are developers, architects or allied professionals, have some sympathy with the resource constraints suffered by many planning departments, they are frustrated by a lack of a consistency of approach between planners. This problem wasn’t just between planning departments in different districts; it could manifest itself within the same planning department when a job was passed from one planner to another. Delays caused by such inconsistencies sometimes add tens of thousands of pounds to a project’s costs.   

    Jeremy Taylor then outlined Gatwick Airport’s new draft Master Plan for growth over the next five and 15 years. The Plan sets out three growth scenarios and includes detail on how it will address infrastructure, the economy, the environment and the passenger experience.

    A Consultation on the Draft Plan runs through to 10th January 2019 with comments welcomed via an online form.

    Event moderator Chris Coopey, from MHA Carpenter Box, commented: “Although of contrasting scale, these two schemes illustrate the pivotal role that open dialogue with stakeholders plays in the planning process. We look forward to following the progress of both projects and will also be looking to invite Planners to a 2019 meeting to try to build bridges.”

    The Sussex Property Alliance provides a forum where property professionals get together, exchange ideas, and build relationships. It is supported by Sussex-based MHA Carpenter Box chartered accountants, Bennett Griffin solicitors and Michael Jones commercial real estate agents.

    Our photos shows (l-r): Ken Watson (HNW Architects), Jeremy Taylor (Gatwick Diamond Business) and Chris Coopey (MHA Carpenter Box)

  • 12 December 2018 9:58 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Could 2019 be your year to volunteer for St Barnabas House?

    St Barnabas House hospice is opening up its doors and inviting anyone who is looking for a rewarding volunteering experience to come along to an informal volunteer recruitment open day on Friday 18 January.

    St Barnabas House depends on over 1,500 dedicated volunteers who help in the hospice, in the charity’s shops and at fundraising events in West Sussex. Volunteers make a big difference to the lives of patients and their families during difficult times. In 2017/18, hospice-based volunteers provided 35,839 hours of support, saving the hospice £514,211.

    The charity prides itself on being able to offer a wide range of volunteer roles to suit all ages, skills and interests. Roles include Community Companions who visit patients in their own homes; volunteers who serve meals in the Day Hospice or greet visitors on reception in the In-patient Unit; drivers who collect and drop off patients to the hospice; Family Services Visitors who offer bereavement support; and non-patient facing volunteer roles such as administration, fundraising event support, maintenance and gardening. 

    Joe Bryant, aged 72 from Shoreham-by-Sea, has volunteered in the Maintenance Team at St Barnabas House for 11 months where he says he has made friends for life.

    Joe said: “I had never done voluntary work before in my life, it had never even crossed my mind. I decided to volunteer as I wanted to give something back after losing my wife in the hospice.

    Caption: Joe Bryant, Maintenance Team volunteer

    “When my wife was ill, I used to sit in the cafeteria where I met volunteers who were so kind to me. They said, “If ever you need to come in here for a coffee and a little chat, then let us know”. A few months after I lost my wife, I remembered how nice they had been to me so I took them up on their offer. Now I’ve made friendships that I would never have made otherwise.”

    Mark Francis, the hospice’s Voluntary Services Lead said: “Volunteers are the backbone of the charity and I am constantly amazed by their enthusiasm and passion. We want to support volunteers in finding the right role for them and offer an induction to the organisation and full training.

    “The recruitment open day is a great chance for potential new volunteers to informally meet some of our current wonderful volunteers. It’s also an opportunity to find out more about the variety of different roles and benefits of volunteering for St Barnabas House.”

    If you want to make a difference in your local community, drop in to the St Barnabas volunteer recruitment open day at the hospice on Titnore Lane, Worthing, between 10am and 3pm on Friday 18 January. For more information about volunteering you can call 01903 706315, email or visit

  • 12 December 2018 9:46 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)


    Worthing is set to get the WOW factor with the proposed installation of a Giant Wheel on the seafront.

    The Worthing Observation Wheel (WOW) is proposed for the area between The Beacon and the Beach Office at the bottom of Montague Place.

    At a height of 46 metres, the equivalent of nine double decker buses, the WOW will give unparalleled views of the town, Downs and the Channel. There will be a total of 36 pods with a capacity of 6 people each. A temporary base will be built on the beach to support the ride.

    Worthing Borough Council is seeking to enter into a three-year lease arrangement with the WOW operating for a six to nine month period between April and October and then being dismantled for the winter.

    The new proposal builds on the fantastic success of the Big Wheel which operated in Steyne Gardens earlier this year and which attracted more than 10,000 visitors in a month, despite extremely poor weather conditions.

    Buoyed by that success the Council began to examine opportunities to bring a more longer term attraction to the seafront as part of its continuing efforts to stimulant new economic growth and visitors to the town.

    The Council undertook an open procurement exercise to identify an operator. One company, deKoning Leisure Ltd, which had run the Steyne Gardens wheel, responded to the call and after careful evaluation it was decided to proceed.

    The company will bear the costs of constructing the base on the beach, and the wheel, which will be a new construction specifically for Worthing. It has also agreed to make a financial contribution to the Council depending on profit. There will be no financial contribution from the Council except for some officer time and the company will bear the costs of dismantling the wheel and removing the base at the end of the three years.

    Permission to go ahead with developing the proposal, planned for next year, has to be given by Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Cllr Kevin Jenkins, later this month and then gain planning permission.

    Cllr Jenkins said: “I have had a look at this proposal and, in principal, it looks fantastic. I will of course look at all aspects of the report but from what I’ve seen so far this has the potential to be a wonderful iconic seafront attraction which will give amazing  panoramic views of our beautiful town.

    “The company would be taking all the risk but when we saw the popularity of the wheel at Steyne Gardens earlier this year I thought it is well worth exploring a more elaborate offer, that could give Worthing its own unique selling point and  attract visitors to the town as a destination of choice.

    “We are transforming this seafront town with proposals to improve our streets and walkways and restaurants wanting to open up here. There’s plenty more to come!”

    Cllr Jenkins will spend the next few days weighing up the report produced by the Council’s Place and Economy team before deciding if to give the go-ahead. It will then go forward to the planning committee.

  • 05 December 2018 9:50 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Brighton Main Line Improvement Project

    Last weekend, we completed the last of the work for 2018 on the Brighton Main Line Improvement Project. Preparatory work is progressing well ahead of the 9-day line closure in February 2019. Since our last update, the following work has been completed:

    • Balcombe Tunnel Junction – New signal bases were constructed and the site is now substantially prepped for the February work with all track panels delivered and dispersed trackside.
    • Balcombe Tunnel to Copyhold Junction – We removed eight rail defects which reduces the threat of Temporary Speed Restrictions or broken rails along this section.
    • Haywards Heath to Keymer Junction – 10 track circuits were converted to jointless equipment along with reinforcement of the traction return system. A further two signals on the main line and three on the branch were converted to LEDs.
    • Wivelsfield - successfully integrated 610 yards of ballast cleaning 
    • Clayton Tunnel – 650 yards of track renewal were completed on the Up line
    • Clayton to Montpellier  – signalling and cabling works took place
    We also continued with tunnel structural examinations and the cleaning and proving of the drainage systems

  • 28 November 2018 3:42 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Pilbeam Construction wins Triple Crown at 2018 Adur & Worthing Business Awards

    A& F Pilbeam Construction, based in Southwick, on the West Sussex coast is celebrating not 1, not 2, but 3 award wins!

    At the annually held Adur & Worthing Business Awards, attended by almost 400 people on 16th November at the Pavilion Theatre in Worthing, the company was named winner of the Building and Construction category and the Best Medium Business category. This resulted in them being crowned ‘Best Overall Business’ on the night too!

    Managing Director of the company, Simon Pilbeam, said, “We were hoping to win the Building & Construction category, but to win both categories that we entered and then be named ‘Best Overall Business’ is beyond anything we could have hoped for.”

    “The whole company has worked incredibly hard in the past few years. We live in interesting times and a challenging business climate and so these awards are testament to the dedication, commitment and professionalism of the entire team.”

    The Adur & Worthing Business Awards had received record entries this year and the judging panel said they were impressed by Pilbeam’s innovative approach and the passion and drive shown by the company in taking their business forward while still maintaining their heritage. They also liked the way Pilbeam Construction continues to win significant contracts across the area and beyond, saying the company promotes and represents their building and construction sector to an exceptional standard.

    A&F Pilbeam was established in 1955 and is still based at its original address in Southwick, West Sussex today. The company also celebrated wins at the Sussex Heritage Awards and Mid Sussex Design Awards earlier this year, and also won the contract to construct the new Lady Bee Enterprise Centre at Shoreham Port, which is now well underway with completion due early next year.

     “2018 has been a tough year, and I don’t expect 2019 to be any different,” says Simon Pilbeam. “However, this achievement proves that with the dedicated and professional team that we have, we can achieve our goal of being at the pinnacle of construction in the South East.”

  • 28 November 2018 3:34 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    ‘Platinum’ Accountancy Firm recruits 11 new trainees over the last 12 months

    MHA Carpenter Box has appointed 11 new trainees over the past year to join their Audit and Business Services teams in both their Worthing and Gatwick offices. They will be joining either the firm’s Platinum Accredited programme on the road to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualification or studying for the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ACA) qualification.

    The Audit team in Worthing welcomes Emma Sparrow from the University of Sussex, Will Sixsmith from Aberystwyth University and Rachel Cook from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Dean Downes-Avery, Tabitha Nicholls and Michael Davis all from Worthing College, Daniel White from The Littlehampton Academy Sixth Form and Chloe Rempel from Chichester College have all joined the Worthing Business Services team.

    In Gatwick, the Business Services team has welcomed Ben Roberts from Lancaster University, whilst the Audit team has been joined by Thagendra Bura from the University of Kent and Jack Gamon who was an estate agent for two years prior to joining MHA Carpenter Box.

    MHA Carpenter Box Managing Partner, Alan Edwards, welcomed the new trainees on board, commenting: “Training the next generation of accountants, tax and business advisers is a responsibility we take very seriously and we have always invested heavily in emerging talent.

    “We aim to give our students the best possible start to their careers which has been underlined by our accreditation as a Platinum employer, ACCA’s highest global standard of excellence.

    “I wish all our new trainees every success in their accountancy careers over the coming years.”

    The new trainees will undertake a comprehensive in-house training programme at MHA Carpenter Box working with a team of qualified and experienced accountants, business advisers and auditors – many of whom started their careers at MHA Carpenter Box as trainees themselves! They will also benefit from knowledge sharing across MHA, the firm’s national association and Baker Tilly International, its global network.

  • 28 November 2018 3:29 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    New Appointments Strengthen Leadership Team at MHA Carpenter Box

    Rapidly growing Worthing and Gatwick-based chartered accountants, tax and business advisers, MHA Carpenter Box, has strengthened its leadership team with the appointment of two new Partners. 

    Peter Reading, who joined the firm in 2001 as a 21-year-old trainee, is now Partner in the firm’s Assurance and Advisory Group. His particular focus is on regulated audit work and compliance advice in the construction and real estate sector.  

    Peter commented: “I am delighted to have been made a Partner at the firm I first joined as a trainee. I have been supported every step of the way during my career, and in my new role I look forward to providing further opportunities around helping clients succeed in their business aims.”

    Sarah Fitzgerald has also joined MHA Carpenter Box at Partner level with the Business Services Group. Sarah previously ran her own accountancy practice in West Sussex. She brings over 25 years’ experience to the firm and will be providing owner-managed businesses with expert advice covering strategic planning and business development, as well as providing expert tax and accounting support.

    Sarah said: “I am thrilled to be joining the leadership team of such a forward-thinking firm of accountants. MHA Carpenter Box enjoys a great reputation across the region reflecting its progressive values and the importance it places on client relationships.”

    In addition to the new Partners, MHA Carpenter Box has also appointed two new directors to its leadership team. James Gawman has been promoted from Associate within the Assurance and Advisory Group to Compliance Director, while Rachel Pearce has been promoted from Associate to Client Service Director in the Tax Services Group.

  • 28 November 2018 3:07 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Free workshop for employers, hosted by Greater Brighton Metropolitan College

    Date: Wednesday 5th December 
    Time: 10:00am - 12:00pm 
    Venue: Greater Brighton Metropolitan College, The Centre for Leadership, Broadwater Campus, Broadwater Road, Worthing, West Sussex BN14 8HJ

    Why you should attend:

    Due to popular demand, the college will be holding a further workshop in Decembe rto support our employer clients on ways to engage and support apprentices.

    Topics covered will include recruitment strategies, fine tuning the interviewing and selection process and post appointment support startegies such as introducing a buddying and mentoring programme.

    Our expert facilitator will demonstarte how to introduce an impactful apprenticeship programme and how first time line managers can be supported.

    Feedback from previous workshop participants has been extremely positive: "It was certainly very useful and evoked many more questions about how we induct new staff to our organisation, so thank you!" - John Parker, Avtrade, April 2018 

    Book now!
    This is a free event, so we expect deamnd to be high. To secure your place, please contact: 

  • 28 November 2018 2:51 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Greater Brighton: we must face Brexit challenge head on

    The leader of Greater Brighton has urged for the region to tackle Brexit head on after research revealed one in 20 jobs in the South East could be at risk from a “No Deal”.

    With the region exporting £45.3 billion worth of goods, a report titled The Brexit Burden by the internationally-respected UK Trade Policy Observatory (UK TPO) claims that the UK crashing out of the European Union could have major ramifications on the local economy.

    Findings, which focus on the impact on 34 constituencies in Sussex and Hampshire, reveal there could be a potential loss of about 2.6 per cent (39,000) of total employment across those counties in the next three to eight years.

    Research added that when commuter habits are also taken on board, this indicative figure could rise to 43,000 jobs among residents in these areas -  with businesses in Brighton Pavilion (2,021 - 2.9 per cent of total jobs) and East Worthing and Shoreham (1,049 - 3.1 per cent) among those predicted to be worst affected.

    But, speaking at the launch of the report, Councillor Garry Wall, chairman of the Greater Brighton Economic Board, said it was important that the City Region - which stretches from the south coast to Gatwick Airport - did everything possible to help the economy continue to thrive.

    Cllr Wall said: “Clearly Brexit poses major challenges and uncertainty, which this report only highlights further. Our job at a local and regional level is to make sure that we do what we can to meet those challenges head on.

    “We have faced adversity before. Like everywhere else in the UK we took a big hit with the banking and financial crisis in 2008. But over those ten years we have seen our economy continue to grow, with 40,000 jobs created across the city region.

    “The onus remains on the Greater Brighton Economic Board to present a strong unified argument to lever in investment that this region requires. It is only by doing that that we create the infrastructure to unlock growth and provide good-quality well-paid jobs for our residents.”

    The report by UK TPO, which is a partnership between the University of Sussex and Chatham House think tank, was launched this week (November 20, 2018) at the Clarendon Centre in Brighton.

    It noted that a "No Deal" Brexit scenario could be particularly disruptive to the economy of South East England because the region is heavily engaged in cross-border trade through Gatwick Airport, Newhaven Port and Shoreham Port.

    While the report noted that Brighton Pavilion would have the largest number of total jobs lost, the constituencies of Worthing West (1,300 - 3.6 per cent of residents) and Brighton Kemptown (1,269 - 3.5 per cent) would also be badly affected in terms of percentage of working population.

    The report also noted that a soft Brexit would result in the loss of about 20,000 jobs across Sussex and Hampshire during this time.

    Cllr Wall, who is also leader of Mid Sussex District Council, said: “Regardless of the outcome of Brexit one thing is clear: we know that with a modicum of investment we can launch ourselves into a brave new world.

    “We in the South East are the second biggest contributor to the UK economy behind London but do we have that status? Our region needs government help too in delivering growth through digital infrastructure, jobs and transport.

    “We do not have a Midlands Engine or Northern Powerhouse with a mayor who has a strong enough voice which government listen to. Whatever happens with Brexit we need to present a strong clear argument. It is only with clarity and evidence that we will be able to show that we can deliver.”

    Dr llona Serwicka, a Research Fellow in the economics of Brexit at UK TPO, said: “This research makes very clear that both soft and hard forms of Brexit, but in particular, a ‘no deal’ Brexit, are likely to have a negative impact on the lives of many residents in Hampshire and Sussex.

    “Of course, we cannot say for certain that this number of job losses will definitely happen, as employers may choose to reduce number of hours and wages rather than cut workforce numbers. But this analysis gives some indication of which places in our region may be most vulnerable to Brexit.”

    To read the full report visit: The Brexit burden: A constituency level analysis for Hampshire and Sussex.

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Registered Office: Sphere Business Centre, Broadwater Road, Worthing,
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