‘We can’t all be scientists or working in the research park’ - councillors warn Greater Norwich plan must benefit all workers

07:00 09 January 2013

Norwich Research Park. Photo by Mike Page.

Norwich Research Park. Photo by Mike Page.


Government proposals that could bring more than £26m into Greater Norwich’s economy must benefit people in ordinary jobs and not just scientists, councillors have warned.

Exploiting the potential to raise money from the “world class” Norwich Research Park (NRP) is at the heart of plans being developed by council and business leaders for the area.

The Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP) is expected to submit a document next week expressing its interest in securing a government “city deal”, which aims to give cities more control to regenerate their economies.

The report from GNDP, which includes Norfolk county, Norwich, South Norfolk and Broadland councils, claims speeding up growth of NRP will provided 40,000 new jobs and 37,000 houses.

But Stuart Clancy, Broadland interim deputy leader, said there was a lot of “grand thinking” in the city deal document, which he did not want to criticise but question.

The cabinet member for economic development said: “I am happy to take it forward but I am also very cynical and sceptical when I look at the wording in there. I find most of the ideas have already been dealt with through numerous other documents, activities, strategies and policies we are running primarily through the GNDP.

“I still have grave reservations on how we are going to fund it. We have massive shortfalls in funding, which is not apparent how it will move forward.”

It is predicted the community infrastructure levy, in which money is raised per new house built, could provide £131m over 10 years.

But Mr Clancy said the number of houses built had been on the decline for the last three years.

He added: “We can’t all be scientists or working in the research park. There’s a requirement in the economy for it and it’s a growth area but there’s a need to protect ordinary jobs.”

Broadland leader Andrew Proctor said there were hopes the plan could create jobs across Greater Norwich.

And Mr Proctor said: “None of the leaders or officers are looking at this as combining authorities or unitary by the back door.”

Liberal Democrat James Joyce, overview and scrutiny committee chairman, said: “Among other things we felt it to be too focused on the Norwich Research Park and the financial commitment is unquantified - and where’s it going to come from?”

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  • To once again fund biotech and related industries, despite the fact that they are unpopular and without any products that we want, is throwing good money after bad. What of those other companies trying to develop their products, will they get funding for nowt?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

  • The research park currently employs people in all sorts of roles, not just scientists. Most of the ancillary and support staff are local. Increasing the size of the park will attract more highly educated and well paid workers to Norwich, increasing our profile as a centre of scientific excellence. At the same time, more posts will be created for support staff who are needed for research, cleaning, catering and security. As the research park members are all actively involved in outreach programmes with schools, scout groups and adult learning groups, i think that the expansion of the park will boost academic aspirations in the area as well as benefiting Norwich in both the short and long term.

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    Rebecca Horn

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

  • Well said Rebecca Horn! The councillor's comment that not everyone can be a scientist etc, demonstrates why there is so little aspiration for school leavers in the county. If our local politicians can't understand the benefits of encouraging this type of growth, on their doorstep, then what hope is there for our young people having access to interesting, stimulating career opportunities in the region. As someone who is involved in working with schools to help students learn how to research different sectors and the potential career opportunities, we generally find all they think there is locally is Aviva, Colmans or tourism. Whilst I don't have anything against these companies, the lack of understanding about what other options are available is an absolute travesty. There are so many other interesting, world leading companies who simply cannot recruit employees with the right skills and qualifications locally. This could change if more was done to support and promote growth industries and the opportunities they offer.

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    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

  • the headline says it all the massive amount of jobs created will be in the building of the place after its built the labour side will be thrown away and the great new building will be taken over by foriegn firms who will put thier own staff in to do research etc etc. so in real terms although it gives the local economy a boost for a year or so in a couple of years time we will be back to the start? wont we???

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    i am mostly wrong??

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

  • And now we have "A Greater Norwich Plan " I suppose its joining up all the "Surburban villages" nearby to Norwich into one big urban sprawl

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    Albert Cooper

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

  • Stephen... you are correct, but you forget that those people have to live in the area to work there and that involves spending money. So the longer term economy does gain. I think het council should not push this investment away, we get very little in this area and whilst I'd not like to see Norwich become involve only in research, I do see the value in having this on our doorstep.The problem with our Councillors are they are twee little men and women thinking to small, which is why Norwich is a big City with a small town attitude. Must think bigger.

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    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

  • These policies are that of boom and bust and we have seen all that before and look where it has taken us.

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    John L Norton

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

  • "Greater Norwich Plan" it's the only way they can link the excessive building plan to the north with all this investment on the opposite side of the city. So everyone will have to jump in their cars around the NDR, southern bypass to work, yes very green thinking.

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site


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