Our area of Mid Norfolk has exciting opportunities to become a thriving hub of local small businesses putting prosperity and life back into our towns and villages which have been overlooked in recent years and some have become dormitories for commuters and retirees. For too long, we have seen piecemeal development on the A47 and infill of our towns and villages without a proper Plan.
This is why, nine years ago, I set up The Norfolk Way - a not for profit campaign to promote the importance of a vibrant rural economy and enlightened planning policies to promote smaller pockets of local housing for use by local people, small businesses back in the countryside and better broadband, mobile signal and road and rail links. I believe we CAN have both a vibrant local economy and maintain our local heritage.
Norfolk is full of world-class businesses and opportunities in a whole variety of fields – engineering, science, energy, food and agriculture, wildlife, tourism and the arts – and Dereham is positioned at the heart of those opportunities, close to the A47 artery road. With a proper long term plan in place, we can create more jobs and a new cycle of growth in our local economy, which means a brighter future for all residents, and the next generation.
Recently, I convened a cross party summit with local community and business leaders to discuss the need for a long term “Vision” for Dereham and its surrounding villages.
Over 60 people came to the Memorial Hall to hear from Breckland Council, which is close to completing its Local Plan, and from Dereham Town Council who are working on their Neighbourhood Plan. Following the Summit, I will be working with local businesses Leaders and councils to convene a Dereham Plan Partnership to support a long term vision of Dereham.