District 'must stop brain drain'
A DISTRICT in Essex must stop the brain drain of young people moving away from the area if it wants to prosper in the future, it has been warned.Tendring, where one in three people is aged over 60, has the potential to be one of the trade capitals of Britain, a leading councillor claimed last night.
A DISTRICT in Essex must stop the brain drain of young people moving away from the area if it wants to prosper in the future, it has been warned.
Tendring, where one in three people is aged over 60, has the potential to be one of the trade capitals of Britain, a leading councillor claimed last night.
But it needs to heed policies laid down in a new six-year blueprint for the area to succeed.
Recently branded by a medical think-tank as one of the country's unhealthiest regions - mainly due to its ageing population - Tendring is being urged to develop more opportunities to keep hold of its youth.
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A report prepared for a Tendring District Council cabinet meeting tomorrow says many of the ingredients for economic prosperity are in place.
It claims a low crime rate, low land and house prices and good access to Europe at Harwich Port and Stansted Airport only 50 miles away make the area an attractive place to live.
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But while painting an optimistic picture of the opportunities ahead the report's authors - the Tendring Local Strategic Partnership, which includes police, MPs, businesses and other organisations - also highlight a number of key weaknesses and threats looming over the district.
Average earnings are 13% below the national average, there is an ageing population and there is low achievement in some schools as well as low levels of adult literacy and numeracy in many deprived neighbourhoods, the report said.
And while there is a “considerable potential skilled labour force”, they currently commute rather than work in the district.
Even the traditionally strong tourist sector, for so long a mainstay of the Tendring economy, faces an uncertain future, the authors claim, with more investment vital to retain day-trippers and short break visitors.
The findings were backed up by a panel of 1,400 residents who told pollsters Mori they considered making the area safer their top goal, but also insisted more effort be put into improving transport, job opportunities and facilities for young people.
Terry Allen, Tendring District Council leader, said the Haven Gateway projects, including the possible redevelopment of Bathside Bay and the upgrading of the A120 from Harwich to Horsley Cross, would be the key to success.
He said: “At the moment, a lot of our young talent commutes to London. We want to give them the infrastructure to keep them here, but when rail change their timetables it makes it even more difficult because their journeys and quality of life get worse and they may be tempted to move closer to the capital.
“Hopefully, we'll soon get 'growth area' status - once that happens people will be falling over themselves to come here.
“We'll have loads more sexy jobs in things like IT and media. We'll become one of the trade capitals of Britain.”
Harwich MP Ivan Henderson said: “Surveys like this one are extremely valuable in identifying the need for increased employment opportunities.
“Every effort is being made to increase the skills for the local workforce and I hope that the Bathside Bay development will be given the green light.”
The council's cabinet is expected to recommend approval of the community strategy, which sets out long term targets for a number of public bodies, when it meets tomorrow.