Lowestoft/Great Yarmouth: Towns set to win battle to secure Assisted Area Status

Waveney MP Peter Aldous outside the Houses of Parliament.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous outside the Houses of Parliament. - Credit: Archant

Parts of Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth are in line to achieve Assisted Area Status, which offers businesses in less prosperious local economies access to a larger share of Government and European Union funding.

A total of 10 wards in Lowestoft and 11 in Great Yarmouth have been included in a new draft Assisted Area Status “map” published by the Government.

The decision was warmly welcomed by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) which has been working closely with Norfolk and Suffolk county councils, Waveney District Council and Great Yarmouth Borough council to make the case for the towns’ inclusion.

The campaign has also been supported by MPs from across Suffolk and Norfolk, including Peter Aldous (Waveney) and Brandon Lewis (Great Yarmouth).

The existing Enterprise Zone covering Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth is currently one of only to designed CORE (Centre for Offshore Renewable Engineering) areas in the UK not to have AAS status, which has put it at a disadvantage against the other CORE locations such as Tyneside, Teesside, Humberside and Merseyside, particularly with regard to attracting inward investment.

Andy Wood, chairman of New Anglia LEP. said: “This is fantastic news for the local economy and will enable New Anglia to channel more financial resources into the areas that really need help. I’d like to thank Brandon Lewis and Peter Aldous for their support with this.

“Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft will now be entitled to receive a greater percentage of funding from New Anglia’s Growing Business Fund and EU pot. In addition it will make being part of our Enterprise Zone even more attractive to global companies who want to move to the area and ensure we are competitive on an international scale.

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“Lowestoft and Gt Yarmouth are significant industrial centres and even though employment in manufacturing has been in decline in recent decades many firms are looking to expand.

“The two towns have served the oil and gas sector in the Southern North Sea for 50 years, and investment continues, especially in the development of new technology and methods. As a result the energy sector is a high priority sector for New Anglia LEP.”

Colin Law, leader of Waveney District Council, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the hard work of New Anglia LEP has paid off.

“Waveney District Council has played its part in the partnership, supporting efforts to secure the funding that we need here in Lowestoft. Should we now get approval, this financial support will help businesses in our communities to grow, innovate and thrive and provide a wonderful boost to the area as a whole.”

Trevor Wainwright, the leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, who is also responsible for economic development, said: “The borough council is delighted with this news that 11 of the wards in the borough are up for the status.

“Under the draft, the majority of the urban borough would be covered by the status, including the major business parks and industrial estates, most notably Beacon Park, which is currently expanding under an £8m speculative investment by the borough council, plus the new Great Yarmouth Energy Park.”

Mark Bee, leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “I am delighted that the joint working between the four councils involved and New Anglia LEP has paid off. Having Assisted Area Status will give us with a very important tool to help attract much needed inward business investment to Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.”

George Nobbs, leader of Norfolk County Council, added: “The county council has been working hard in partnership with Gt Yarmouth Borough Council, Waveney and Suffolk Councils and the LEP and it’s fantastic news not only for us but for the people of Great Yarmouth and Norfolk and Suffolk as a whole. “We knew we had a really powerful case, and it is really gratifying that Government has listened. I sincerely hope that we can use this as designation to deliver more jobs and investment into the two towns.”

The draft map is now subject to consultation, which runs until Friday, February 7, 2014. A final Assisted Area Map will be submitted to the European Commission for approval in March 2014.

The Lowestoft wards included on the draft map are Gunton and Corton, Harbour, Kessingland, Kirkley, Lothingland, Normanston, Oulton, Pakefield, St Margaret’s and Whitton.

Great Yarmouth wards on the map include

Bradwell South & Hopton, Bradwell North, Gorleston, Caister South, Central & Northagte, Claydon, Magdalen, Nelson, Southtown & Cobham, St Andrews, Yarmouth North.