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Survey finds people love living in Norwich, but have list of challenges which must be tackled

PUBLISHED: 09:15 31 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:52 31 March 2018

Norwich in the spring sunshine. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich in the spring sunshine. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Initial findings from a consultation to help forge a vision for what Norwich will be like in 2040 has shown it is a city which people love to live in.

But they say the city has some serious challenges which need to be overcome.

Some 1,800 people responded to Norwich City Council’s call for people to contribute to its process for developing a long-term vision for the city - the 2040 Norwich city vision.

The findings have just been published and provide a snapshot of how people view the city - both the positives and the challenges which must be faced.

People were very positive about living in Norwich.

Many students who come to the University of East Anglia and Norwich University of the Arts end up staying in the city, while other people who had left had been drawn back saying there was “nowhere like it”.

And people said that they felt safe in the city, with a warmth to the place and a less stressful life than in London.

The city is felt to be vibrant and culturally diverse, with many, but not everybody, speaking about a strong sense of community.

People value the rich history of the city, but also welcome the forward-looking nature of the city.

Norwich’s green and outdoor spaces were particularly well loved and people want to see them protected.

The city’s arts and cultural scene is felt to be unique, while people praised diverse shopping and restaurants.

However, there is deep concern about growing inequality and low aspirations, particularly among young children.

While primary schools and universities were praised, there was concern about the qualtiy of secondary schools.

People said street homelessness had increased in the past two years and more needed to be done to support those in need.

Traffic, public transport and cycle routes need to be improved, people said.

People were also concerned about the loss of jobs, such as Colman’s and Britvic.

And there was concern about social isolation and loneliness.

The next step will see the drafting of a vision document and develop action plans, which will take place in the summer. That will then go out for public consultation and a final vision document will be adopted and published in the autumn.

‘I came here for a one year job at UEA and I am still here 27 years later’ - what people love about Norwich

These are some of the comments which people who responded to the consultation had to say about living in Norwich.

“I was born and raised in Norwich, went away for about nine years and then came back... It’s what everybody does!”

“I cam here for a one year job at UEA and I am still here 27 years later. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. I love it.”

“Norwich is a hidden gem of England.”

“I like everything about Norwich. It’s friendly and it is easy to live here.”

“I want to live here when I grow up. I don’t want to move that far from my family. Even if I moved away I would come back.”

“I keep telling people to come here, because I had no idea and I was so impressed.”

“Norwich has a real understated charm.”

“I have a lot of friends who migrated here in the 80s and wouldn’t think of going anywhere else.”

“It’s a great place to make a life.”

‘We’ve lost quite a few big employers’ - the challenges in Norwich people say needs to tackled

These were some of the challenges people said Norwich faces:

“Norwich - as a community - needs to offer more support networks for homeless people. Homelessness is a national problem that a city can’t take on alone.”

“There’s not enough funding going into various forms of education.”

“I have a friend who has done very well, his brothers have all done very well. They came from the Mile Cross estate with a single mum, absolutely no money at all. And he said the biggest challenge for him was the culture. If you had aspiration you were ridiculed.”

“There are too many cars on the road because public transport isn’t great. Good, affordable public transport is needed.”

“We’ve lost quite a few big employers and if we were to lose more it would have an effect.”

“We need to invest in IT and digital jobs, as well as some major industry to replace Brtivic and Colman’s.”

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