What does Norwich need in 2012?
The Evening News asked council leaders, MPs, charity bosses, Norfolk police and the Bishop of Norwich what they hope 2012 will bring.
Improved transport figured highly on a number of people’s lists, with council leaders and MPs keen to see better train services and progress on the long-awaited dualling of the A11 and the Northern Distributor Road.
But another common theme was the hope that Norwich City’s Premier League tenure, which has buoyed the whole city, continues into another season with Paul Lambert’s side consolidating their place in the top flight of English football.
Simon Wright, Liberal Democrat MP for Norwich South, said: “Since I was elected, one of my main priorities has been improvements to transport infrastructure.
“The links to the city are so important in terms of restoring confidence to businesses in the region and helping employers to create new jobs. “We have had fantastic progress on the A11 in 2011 and I hope in 2012 we will continue to see progress on the dualling which will deliver so many benefits to the city.
“But I also hope the rail network will improve. We have got a great opportunity, with Abellio coming in, to get improvements.
“Having met with them, I know they are ambitious about what can be done on the line and I hope we see action by them and by Network Rail to ensure passengers have a better experience.”
Mr Wright added he hoped to see Norwich City remain on their Premier League perch, saying that having them back in the top flight had helped bring a “feel good factor” to the city.
Chloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich North, said: “This year has been hard for everyone and the things I reflect on relate to jobs.
“The first spadework on the A11 will help business keep and create jobs, and I hope the new Northern Distributor Road will do the same.
“The community in Norwich did itself proud again this year, what with fun things like Royal Wedding street parties, but also more serious voluntary achievements like local man Mel Lacey’s new Blue Ribbon Foundation charity which he has built from scratch after suffering prostate cancer. It is excellent to see a new hope for helping men look after their health come out of the local community here.
“2012 is all about jobs, jobs, jobs. I want to see business thrive and create jobs locally, and so I want the right infrastructure – roads and rail improved, also for the Olympics.
“I also want to see young people get into work, for example through taking on the opportunity given by many more apprenticeship places being available.”
Brenda Arthur, leader of Norwich City Council, said it was likely to be a tough year, but was optimistic that working together would reap dividends.
She said: “We have got some hard challenges head of us, but I hope we’ll see the public, private and voluntary sectors all working together to help us get through it.
“My hope is that we can continue to work collaboratively to ensure Norwich remains a fine city and that jobs, particularly for young people. are created in the years ahead.”
A similar hope was expressed by Derrick Murphy, right, Norfolk County Council leader, who said: “I just hope the Local Enterprise Partnership, of which the county council is an integral part, brings more jobs to Norfolk.
“My aim is to bring as many jobs to the area.
“One thing we have been campaigning across the county for is called the Fair Fares campaign, which is to get the £4.5m shortfall paid to make sure we can properly run the concessionary bus fares system.
“We would like the A47 upgrading and that leads on from the great news of funding for the Northern Distributor Road (NDR), north of Norwich.”
For the Bishop of Norwich, Rt Revd Graham James, increased peace and stability in places such as Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, was high on his wishlist for 2012.
But he added: “In the diocese of Norwich our established links with Papua New Guinea, Lulea in Sweden and Koblenz in Germany keep developing. I hope to see them flourish even more. They widen our horizons.
“I also hope Norwich City finish the season in the top half of the Premier League. And a dream? European football at Carrow Road again would be thrilling for this fine city!”
Phil Wells, Age UK Norwich chief executive, said he hoped 2012 would see a greater appreciation for Norwich’s elderly generation.
He said: “I would like to live in a country where people in their 80s and 90s are recognised for the hard work they have put in and the hard times they have endured.
“I would like a country in which people are supported to stay in contact with the community as age begins to limit their options; where neighbours expect to lend a hand to iron out those small challenges that undermine independence in later life; where carers are respected – and rewarded – for the important work they do. I would like later life to be one in which I have time to pass on my knowledge to the younger generations and discover from them what new things are happening.”
Norfolk Constabulary Chief Constable Phil Gormley, said the Olympic torch relay, which will visit Norwich in July, was one to look forward to.
What do you think Norwich needs in 2012? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email firstname.lastname@example.org