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Next portion of regional growth cash is new focus for Norfolk and Suffolk Lep

PUBLISHED: 00:00 08 July 2014 | UPDATED: 09:06 08 July 2014

An artist's impression of what the new higher education centre at the College of West Anglia will look like.

An artist's impression of what the new higher education centre at the College of West Anglia will look like.

Archant

Work starts today to convince the Government to give Norfolk, Suffolk and the Fens a large slice of the next pot of regional growth cash, as politicians and business leaders hailed the first multi-million pound wave yesterday.

Principle welcomes cash

Construction workers are in such high demand that Easton and Otley College could not train them quickly enough.

But a £2.5m government grant, topped up by £1.25m from the college, will fund a new construction training centre at its Easton campus.

It is set to train up to 350 students per year before they join the booming construction industry, with 42,000 new homes set to be built in the region by 2020.

“We’ve been responding to industry demand,” said college principal David Lawrence. “We’re finding it very hard to create enough capacity fast enough.

“Without this grant it would restrain our ability to meet industry needs.

“It’s not an easy financial time so to get this support is really invaluable.”

He added the cash would make a “tremendous” difference to the college.

The training centre will be built between the college’s tennis centre and the Michael Gamble Animal Management Centre.

Transport minister Stephen Hammond said the government was delivering on its commitment to inspire economic prosperity for the next decade and decades to come, as he visited Norfolk to announce New Anglia’s £60 million award.

Projects which will be able to go ahead as a result of the allocated cash include:

Fast broadband for 95% of homes in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Relief roads in Beccles and Bury St Edmunds

New facilities for colleges in Lowestoft, King’s Lynn and Easton

North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham said: “It’s very good news about the new science, technology and management centre at the College of West Anglia.

“If we get the skills sorted out, we will attract more IT, life sciences and agri-tech businesses.” But he added that he was disappointed that while the announcements contained a number of schemes aimed at relieving congestion, there was no money on offer to ease West Norfolk’s bottlenecks.

New Anglia managing director Chris Starkie, who will be working on the bids for 2016/17, said: “We have several road schemes we are looking at across Norfolk and Suffolk and we will also be identifying other key projects that will continue to build on the ambitious growth plans we have for the region.

“The hard work now begins to ensure we continue the momentum we have gained from yesterday’s announcement.”

Mr Hammond said: “Today is a sign the government is delivering on its commitment to inspire economic prosperity for the next decade and decades to come,” he said.

What do you think of the local growth fund? What will it mean to you? 
Write (giving your full contact details) to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk

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