Editor’s opinion: Tell me what you want Norfolk and Norwich to be like in 2040

PUBLISHED: 12:22 27 November 2018

What a fine city Norwich is - but what do we want it to be by 2040?

What a fine city Norwich is - but what do we want it to be by 2040?

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Imagine for a moment being asked to think about where you’d like your life to be in 2040 - and more importantly what you need to do to make sure you get there.

It’s hard isn’t it?

What a fine city Norwich is - but what do we want it to be by 2040?What a fine city Norwich is - but what do we want it to be by 2040?

Well imagine again trying to do the same for an entire city - now that’s even more difficult!

But that’s exactly the challenge which has been set by Norwich City Council to a large working group made up of people from all walks of life in the city - as well as all ages.

I just so happen to be one of them and last week those people met for the second annual Norwich 2040 City Vision conference.

The overall aim of the group is to take a look at what we want our city to be like in 22 years time and how we can make sure we get it there.

What a fine city Norwich is - but what do we want it to be by 2040?What a fine city Norwich is - but what do we want it to be by 2040?

Topics include what should Norwich be famous for, how we can ensure it keeps up with the modern world (without losing some of the more established elements we love about it) and how we should best tackle the problems it faces, now and in future?

There will be some who might question why our council is asking others to do the work they should be doing?

However, I feel very differently about the project. In these cash-strapped times, with funding pots massively shrunk, we all have a civic duty to do our best for the place where we live and what better than to be actively tasked with the job.

That is especially true given that by 2040 I personally hope to still be living here (and editor of this newspaper and its website of course).

The almost impossible element of the challenge is to accurately picture Norwich in 22 years, given we’ve no real idea what advances in technology there might be and how much of an impact they might have on our lives.

Could you have imagines two decades ago some of the things we take for granted now?

But that shouldn’t deter us from giving it a good try and the conference was a real success in particular in helping us identify several shorter term goals and action points that should hopefully improve the city as well as help to eradicate some of its biggest problems. All of them strides to getting us where we want to end up.

A big theme of the session was the fact that everyone can play a part in shaping Norwich (and Norfolk for that matter) we just need to work out what our role is.

For instance, as proud editor of two daily newspapers, it’s my job to encourage and facilitate debate, highlight the issues and ways we can tackle them and then celebrate the successes we have.

So my starting point is to do just that. Please tell me what you think Norwich and Norfolk should be like in 2040 and how we can get there? I’d love to hear your views via email at

* A major theme of the 2040 conference - and something that comes up in so many events I attend - was the view that Norfolk, and Norwich in particular, has become something of a tale of two cities.

This was highlighted leaving the conference when news broke that there had been a fifth stabbing in the city in just two weeks. That prompted an Evening News front page, the headline for which was simply ‘The tale of two cities’.

It’s those ongoing problems, such as deprivation, homelessness and families living on the breadline, that have prompted us to chose Surviving Winter as our campaign to takes us out of 2018 and into the new year.

The aim is to raise £150,000 for a fighting fund to support people from all sorts of walks of life who are living on the edge this winter.

If it’s a success, I think it can save lives. There are people out there, many of them elderly, deciding whether to eat or heat their homes - we hope this campaign means they can do both.

Please do support it if you can.

For more information search for Surviving Winter on our website.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

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