Herald column December 6th 2018

We finished the week at Parliament las Thursday with and excellent event ‘A Taste of West Sussex.’ Some of the best food and drink producers from across the county were invited to Parliament to promote their produce and they did not disappoint. There were 2 companies from each constituency and I am delighted that East Worthing & Shoreham was excellently represented by South Downs Honey and Slake Gin from Shoreham. In addition we had some excellent sparkling wine, pastries, cheese and beer to wow all-comers. British Food and Drink is a quality business renowned throughout the world and we need to export more and in West Sussex we certainly have lots of opportunities to be part of this.

It was an early start to a packed Friday last week when I joined the Adur and Worthing Chamber of Commerce for breakfast at Worthing Golf Club. After hearing about the latest developments in the area from Council Economic Director Martin Randall and a presentation on expansion plans at Gatwick Airport it was then over to me for a grilling about the latest state of Brexit. Quoting liberally from a well-thumbed copy of the 585 page draft agreement I think I bored them into submission and just about kept everyone onside but goodness knows what will happen over the next few weeks.

From there it was on to the official opening of the Rampion windfarm at a very impressive ceremony at the i360 in Brighton performed by West Sussex Lord Lieutenant Sarah Piper. The project is the first windfarm off the south coast and will produce enough electricity for the equivalent of half the households across the whole of Sussex. The operators EoN have done a good job and I had not realised have now sold off all their carbon based power facilities to concentrate on renewable energy. It was good to see there one of the now adult girls from Davison School in Worthing who came up with the winning entry to name the project after the county flower of Sussex, the Rampion. It was then off to Tunbridge Wells to record the BBC Sunday Politics with my old Adur adversary Daniel Yates in the studio, now the Leader of Brighton & Hove Council.

I was with the charity FareShare Sussex at the Holmbush Tesco on Saturday helping collect food donations for Christmas parcels and I am always overwhelmed by the generosity of local people after they collected a fleet of trolleys full of food. They operate in Adur and Brighton and I am hoping to go out with them on one of their distribution runs in January. It was then off to the South Farm Road Christmas Fayre where the rain did not dampen the spirits of the traders who laid on a great event with plenty of Christmas cheer and some very enthusiastic singers. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!