Village to get ultrafast broadband boost
Ultrafast broadband is to be brought to new homes in Long Stratton thanks to a landmark deal to give the area “first-class digital connections”.
The popular South Norfolk village is set to grow by 1,800 homes in the coming years with a bypass, new commercial land and a new primary school.
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In a boost to future residents, Long Stratton Parish Council and South Norfolk MP struck an agreement with BT Openreach and builder Norfolk Homes to provide Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) to all new development in the village.
It will even apply to houses which Norfolk Homes does not build itself.
Campaigners say the move “will help make the village a much sought-after location for business, education and leisure”.
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South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, who brought the parties to the agreement together through the How Should Norfolk Grow? initiative, said: “These first-class digital connections will open up new opportunities for Long Stratton and could make the village a digital hub for South Norfolk.
“Openreach have pulled out all the stops to make this project happen, working with Norfolk Homes and Norfolk Land to craft a ground-breaking agreement that ensures all new residents and businesses will benefit from these services.
Mr Bacon, who recently met with Openreach chief executive Clive Selley, added: “This agreement also shows that the How Should Norfolk Grow? initiative is building partnerships and delivering change that will have a real impact on peoples’ lives.”
Openreach managing director for infrastructure delivery, Kim Mears said: “It’s a pleasure to be working in partnership with Norfolk Homes and Norfolk Land on such a forward-thinking project.
“This agreement, which is the first of its kind in Norfolk, will give Long Stratton’s new homes and businesses access to the fastest broadband speeds in the UK from a choice of competing suppliers over our network.
“Being included in the planning process at an early stage is always key when building the best digital infrastructure, so we’re very grateful to Richard Bacon MP for his help in forming and cultivating this partnership.
“Our team on the ground, led by senior manager Nick Flint, is developing new, constructive and enduring relationships which are sure to benefit other Norfolk communities in future.”
Norfolk Land director Terry Harper said: “Norfolk Land recognises the importance of strong digital connections to homes, schools and businesses, and we are delighted to work with Openreach, whose positive, can-do approach was a revelation.
“Long Stratton has huge potential and this agreement puts us one step closer to realising that potential.
“I also want to pay tribute to Mr Bacon for bringing everyone together in the first place, and to Long Stratton Parish Council for their trust and for their devotion to their community.”
The agreement will also ensure that key infrastructure will be in place to underpin the Long Stratton Neighbourhood Plan, which is currently being drawn up by the parish council.
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Chairman of the Long Stratton Neighbourhood Plan Committee, councillor Kevin Worsley, said: “This is great news for Long Stratton and will help make the village a much sought-after location for business, education and leisure.
“Alongside the Norwich-Cambridge Tech corridor, we also need to start talking about the Norwich-Ipswich Tech corridor and eventually linking all three digital centres - and their Tech industries - together.
“Existing residents of Long Stratton need to know that their parish council and its partners are continuing to push hard for further improvements to their current broadband services, too.
“Openreach have been left in no doubt that we want all of Long Stratton to benefit and have shown us some exciting embryonic technologies that should be available in due course.”
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County councillor for Long Stratton Alison Thomas said: “High-quality broadband infrastructure is an essential part of modern living and this agreement complements Norfolk County Council’s work on improving the county’s broadband.
“I look forward to working with Openreach to make Long Stratton one of the best connected communities in Norfolk.”
Professor John Last, vice-chancellor of the Norwich University of the Arts and digital lead for How Should Norfolk Grow? said: “This is brilliant news for business, education and skills in Long Stratton, which has an excellent future as a digital hub for commerce, learning and leisure.
“I look forward to How Should Norfolk Grow? and NUA being a part of that future”.
The How Should Norfolk Grow? initiative has also been active in providing advice and assistance to the neighbourhood plan committee, including help to make sure that education and health services in the village keep pace with growth.