The first in-depth report in 10 years on the economic geography of the Gatwick Diamond area has been published by the Centre for Cities.

Commissioned by the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, Gatwick Airport and the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, the report demonstrates that the Gatwick Diamond is not only one of the South East’s strongest economies, but also one of the UK’s best performing areas. GVA has grown to £24 billion in 2015 and the area performs well above the national average across economic indicators such as productivity, share of high-skilled jobs and attracting foreign investment.

The report recommends that the supply of office space is expanded which is a challenge exacerbated by Permitted Development Rights as landlords convert commercial space into residential. The area’s existing and planned business parks will need to continue to meet the on-going demand and urban areas will need to meet the needs of companies that prefer a central location.

One of the key strengths of the area is its large number of high-skilled workers, making it very attractive to those businesses that want to invest; however the rising cost of housing is a significant challenge. Continuing to ensure there is a sufficient supply of new homes will make sure that the area continues to remain an attractive place for businesses to invest, create jobs and grow the economy.

The report highlights that 23% of Gatwick Diamond residents commute to London, which is much higher than comparator areas, and to ensure that there is an adequate supply of workers with the skills required to sustain economic growth more could be done to encourage a greater proportion of residents to work closer to home. As such, improving transport connections is vital to strengthen the Gatwick Diamond as the place to do business to potential customers and suppliers.

Paul Gresham, Chair of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative said:
"Over the past ten years the economy of the Gatwick Diamond has performed well above national averages. But that growth is at risk of being constrained without an adequate supply of employment, property and land".

Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive at Coast to Capital said:
“We were delighted to part-fund this research into the Gatwick Diamond which is a strategically important part of the Coast to Capital area. The publication of this research will support our evidence base as we develop our new Strategic Economic Plan for the region and we are continuing to undertake activity which supports the report’s three recommendations on office space, housing and connectivity.”

Alison Addy, Head of Community Engagement at Gatwick Airport said:
“This report provides further evidence of the positive role that Gatwick Airport plays as an economic engine for the region, and a valuable perspective on some of the challenges that the Gatwick Diamond faces. We look forward to continuing our work with Gatwick Diamond Initiative and other partners across the region to build on the socioeconomic benefits that the airport delivers today and in the future.”

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