Members of the Chichester Harbour business community met with members of the Harbour Conservancy last week to understand how they could work together more effectively and promote an economical and environmentally-sustainable future.
The event, which was organised by the University of Chichester, in collaboration with West Sussex County Council and Chichester Harbour Conservancy, in a bid to identify common goals and priorities for the area. It follows research conducted by Dr Emma McKinley, from the University's School of Enterprise, Management, and Leadership, which evaluated business activity within the harbour and focused on potential impacts on the area, with particular consideration of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) designation held by the Harbour.
The study, which is part of a project promoting sustainable growth and development in the English Channel, aimed to highlight several priorities for businesses in the harbour. Among other things, this included the need to develop a sustainable transport network by improving the park and ride facilities, installed a connected cycle route, and providing a new ferry service.
Dr McKinley said: "Chichester Harbour supports a vibrant and diverse business community that has the potential to achieve sustainable growth and success by working together and learning from each other. What is most important is that the businesses that came see some action as a result of this work."
Dr McKinley's research also examined the importance of working more effectively with existing support systems, including local authorities, as well as developing a Chichester Harbour Business Association to support multiple companies in the area. In addition it recommended organising an annual Chichester Harbour Festival to raise its profile as a destination for businesses across multiple sectors.
Harbour Conservancy director Siún Cranny, who opened the event, said: "The recommendations from Dr McKinley's research share our vision for a thriving harbour, both socio-economically and environmentally. A number of priority areas were highlighted by delegates at the event which will be incorporated into the wider study as recommended actions for change to generate a sustainable and positive future."
To find out more about the research conducted by the University's School of Enterprise, Management, and Leadership visit www.chi.ac.uk/semal. Alternatively, for further information on Chichester Harbour Conservancy, go to www.conservancy.co.uk.