Host of exciting new schemes unveiled for Norwich
© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2011
Norfolk and Suffolk have won a £48.5m slice of a billion pound pot of Whitehall cash to boost skills and infrastructure and drive innovation in the region.
The cash – which will see a Norwich aviation academy built, a college expanded and new bus and bike lanes created – is part of the government’s “growth deals” which have seen business, political and education-led local enterprise partnerships (Leps) bid for a pot of cash taken out of Whitehall departments.
The extra £50m, which will be available up to 2021, means the New Anglia LEP has secured £221m since the project was created. It comes just three months before voters go to the polls for the general election.
The Lep claims the money will allow 2,000 new jobs and 750 homes to be created in the area by 2021 and says it will unlock a further £120m in public and private sector investment.
Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia Lep, said: “Essential to success are improved skills, world-class innovation, improved transport and infrastructure and targeted help for small businesses to grow.
“We have taken another very big step forward today and it’s the culmination of exceptional collaboration between the LEP, its partners from local authorities, education and business and our MPs.”
George Nobbs, leader of Norfolk County Council, who is on the New Anglia Lep board, said the Aviation Academy would offer young people a clear route into what is a highly-skilled sector. He added: “These are exactly the sorts of jobs I am keen to see more of in Norfolk and I am 100pc behind this innovative initiative.”
The Local Growth Fund was established in response to Lord Heseltine’s report No Stone Unturned and each of the 39 Leps submitted a strategic economic plan outlining their local priorities to maximise growth.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Giving local communities the power and the money to unlock growth and development and make the spending decisions that work for them is a key part of our long-term economic plan to secure a brighter future for Britain and ensure a recovery for all. That’s what Growth Deals are all about, backing local people and investing in the infrastructure, housing and skills that will drive forward local economies, create more jobs and opportunities for hardworking people and supercharge all parts of our country”.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “A quiet revolution is underway in Norfolk, Norwich, Suffolk, Ipswich and across the country, as Growth Deals signal the death of the culture where Whitehall calls the shots. I’ve seen for myself the difference it makes to give this region more power over skills, over business support, over infrastructure spending.
“I am delighted to announce the expansion of the New Anglia Growth Deal today.
“The Coalition Government has been relentless in our efforts to sort out the public finances and set firm foundations for growth. Growth Deals help create a stronger economy and a fairer society by boosting local economies, and providing more jobs, better transport and affordable homes.”
CONNECTIONS BETWEEN NORWICH RESEARCH PARK, UEA AND CITY CENTRE
Moves to make it easier to take the bus and cycle into Norwich city centre from the UEA and Norwich Research Park, and from the villages along the A11, will be supported by a £4m boost from the growth deal.
Norfolk County Council, which is behind the project, said it realised it needed to be easier for people to travel from the city centre to the economically important areas around the university and the Norwich Research Park.
“Encouraging people to switch from car to public transport requires improvements to the highways network, so measures are likely to include moves to speed up public transport. A bus interchange at the university site is a possibility, and we will also investigate the potential to improve the Daniels Road roundabout which is a ‘pinch point’,” a spokesman said.
The money will also be used to improve the public transport network between Norwich and communities south of the city such as Hethersett and Wymondham and Attleborough. No firm plans have been made, and changes will happen “in the next few years” after assessments and public consultation.
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