March 10 2014 Latest news:
Ben Woods, Business writer
Friday, December 13, 2013
The deputy prime minister has ratified a far-reaching blueprint to bring economic prosperity to Norwich by creating thousands of new jobs and homes.
During a visit to the Norwich Research Park yesterday, Nick Clegg and local policy makers signed the Norwich City Deal – a strategy that hopes to bring 19,000 new jobs and 3,000 new houses into the Greater Norwich Area by 2026.
But the delivery of the deal will lie with the local authorities and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, which will be given greater powers from Whitehall to fulfil the ambitious proposals.
Mr Clegg said: “It’s great news for Norwich because just look at its laboratories and look at its hub for science innovation. What we want to do with the City Deal is give support to the businesses that are being spun out from these laboratories, We want to give the local area more freedom to borrow money to build more homes, so as people come into the companies that we hope to see growing from the intellectual innovation in Norwich, there will also be new homes for people to live in. It’s a combination of the brain power of the Greater Norwich area, but also making sure that the construction industry and housing is there as well.”
The architects of the deal claim it will create an extra 13,000 jobs, 3,000 homes and 6,000 construction jobs.
And they expect there to be 3,000 high-value jobs at Norwich Research Park, 2,000 jobs around Norwich International Airport and 1,000 jobs based around Norwich University of the Arts.
Brenda Arthur, the leader of Norwich City Council, said the numbers were big, but the local authorities and the New Anglia LEP were capable of delivering the project.
She said: “I really think we are going to be able to do that. It is an absolutely amazing opportunity for Norwich and for Greater Norwich. We have worked really hard in terms of developing the joint core strategy. I think the deal is going to give us the opportunity now to deliver all that is in that.
“The work around skills is going to be amazing. Businesses tell us that they don’t have people with the right skills, so to be able to work with businesses and have skills training that is business led for a change is going to be really positive. It means more people will be brought into work. The plans around jobs and homes is just amazing. The more homes that are built the more jobs there will be, so I think our targets are ambitious but I don’t think they are unfulfilable.”
Meanwhile, George Nobbs, the leader of Norfolk County Council, said the deal will encourage business investment and help the decision-making process for councils. He said: “It makes sense to deal in planning terms and strategic terms as one single area,and the City Deal makes it easier to make quick decisions instead of being tied up with four different authorities competing over jurisdiction.
“It will also make life a lot easier if you want to invest in Norfolk – and that is what we want people to do.”