The Regional Projects Business Case Development Fund was established from unallocated Growth Funds held by the LEP. The conditions of the fund ensured that successful projects would support delivery of one of the following themes:
- Net zero energy – new forms of clean and low carbon energy generation, adaption and adoption
- Natural capital – land and marine based opportunities for biodiversity and carbon sequestration
- Local economies – regeneration and reimagining of the role of town centres or local place-based economies
- Regional identity – broader opportunities to develop distinct regional economic specialisms and approaches to stimulating inward investment
The successful allocations include Coastal Creative Technologies, a potential project that would see the delivery of a regional creative technology economy, with a large-scale virtual production complex.
Julie Kapsalis, Chair of Coast to Capital, said: “Our region is full of organisations looking to improve our places, further innovation and technology, and work together to deliver vibrant, prosperous places that place us firmly on the map as a forward-thinking region.
“Developing business cases is often one of the largest barriers to investment. They require time, expertise, vision, and planning, and so I am delighted that we were able to unlock funds to enable the successful projects to develop these cases, and in the future drive investment and innovation across our region.”
The vision of Coastal Creative Technologies is to develop and deliver a game-changing proposition that establishes the corridor between Chichester and Brighton as a global centre for creative technology with a focus on virtual production. This would include a virtual production film studio complex with an integrated centre for research and training, a Creative Technologies Open Innovation Network to build knowledge and capacity within existing businesses, and a linked education and skills attainment programme to ensure that a provision of employment opportunities exists.
Caroline Wood, Director of Coastal West Sussex Partnership, who submitted the application, added: “There is a significant shortage of large-scale, high-quality studio facilities in the UK and our research has highlighted that towns along the West Sussex coast contain businesses, networks and individuals that are adding significant economic value to the region through creative digital activity. This activity is diverse and a purpose-built studio with associated research and education facilities would be of national and international significance.
“This funding allocation gives us the opportunity to develop this business case with the aim to firmly cement the region’s identity for generating value from creative technologies.”
Other potential projects include a proposal that would develop the hydrogen economy in Greater Brighton and the wider Sussex area, the development of a masterplan for Epsom, and a Local Energy Community established by Manor Royal Businesses that would be a significant step towards the sustainable decentralised energy system of the future.