Deprived towns win massive boost
NORTH Suffolk is set for a massive jobs boost as the Government gives the go-ahead for a multi-million pound regeneration scheme.The green light will be signalled today for an Urban Regeneration Company (URC) to be set up to overhaul deprived areas of Lowestoft and neighbouring Great Yarmouth.
NORTH Suffolk is set for a massive jobs boost as the Government gives the go-ahead for a multi-million pound regeneration scheme.
The green light will be signalled today for an Urban Regeneration Company (URC) to be set up to overhaul deprived areas of Lowestoft and neighbouring Great Yarmouth.
Waveney District Council, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Suffolk and Norfolk county councils, and the East of England Development Agency are behind the plans – the first URC in East Anglia.
It will aim to turn around the deprivation of recent years to bring jobs and economic growth to areas where until recently there was only decline. It plans to create more than 2,000 jobs within the next six years.
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The two towns are both unemployment blackspots and account for 25% of all those unemployed throughout Suffolk and Norfolk.
The URC will create a masterplan to allow the redevelopment of riverside and brownfield sites for employment, housing, and other appropriate uses within the urban environment.
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The company will also help provide essential infrastructure to make sure the schemes are developed comprehensively and in a co-ordinated manner.
Areas to be targeted include Lake Lothing, the fish dock and Ness Point in Lowestoft, and North Quay, Cobhold, Southtown, Runham Vauxhall and South Denes in Great Yarmouth.
The URC will focus initially on the riverside sites in both towns to regenerate the important quayside frontages in a sustainable manner.
Wendy Mawer, deputy leader of Waveney District Council and responsible for regeneration, said the scheme will have benefits for the whole of north Suffolk.
"There will be knock-on opportunities for companies based throughout Waveney and the jobs boost will be most welcome," she said.
The URC continues the regeneration of Lowestoft and north Suffolk in recent months that has seen the £14.5 million Sunrise Scheme in the town centre and seafront and work start on the new multi-million pound Lowestoft Southern Relief Road.
"All the improvements for the area are coming together and people living and working in north Suffolk are seeing a real difference," said Mrs Mawer.
Kevan Lim, executive member for economic and social regeneration on Suffolk County Council, added: "The formation of the URC is a big step forward for both Suffolk and Norfolk.
"Linked to our commitment to see Lowestoft become a major centre for the renewables industry, we believe that the URC will attract new investment, both public and private sector, to the towns and ensures a brighter future for the people of Lowestoft."
Tony Tomkinson, a cabinet member of Norfolk County Council, described the announcement as "a great day for local people".
The URC will cost £500,000 a year to run and is funded by the EEDA and the four local authorities.
It will be run by a private sector-led board and will have a small staff and a chief executive with a track record of delivering big regeneration projects.
"Making these areas attractive again will attract better housing, offices and leisure activities and these in turn will provide new jobs and a better living space for the people who live in the towns.
"We also have two big initiatives – Eastport and the renewable energy sector – that will need the support of physical developments if they are to work properly," said a spokesman for the EEDA.
There are only 21 URCs in England that are mainly situated in large cities such as Liverpool and Sheffield.