Business leaders and MPs welcome vision for A11 ‘technology corridor’

The A11 looking towards Norwich from the Elveden bridge.

The A11 looking towards Norwich from the Elveden bridge. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

MPs and business leaders have hailed the 'once-in-a-generation' chance to turn the dualled A11 into a technology corridor, bringing a half-billion pound boost and thousands of jobs to the region.

A report commissioned by councils along the route identifies the potential for the area to become a centre for innovation and technology, particularly related to engineering, agriculture and manufacturing.

And that could deliver 9,000 well-paid jobs, 20,000 homes, 700,000 sqm of industrial and commercial space and 'add £558m to the regional economy', according to its authors.

Chris Starkie, managing director of New Anglia LEP - one of the potential funders - said the report's vision would complement developments such as Norwich Research Park's (NRP) Enterprise Zone status and the future development of RAF Mildenhall.

He added: 'This report takes the concept even further with credible plans for new jobs, housing and businesses, and we are keen to work with local authorities along the length of the A11 to progress their ideas further.'

Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, said: 'The A11 technology hub will build on the economic ambitions of the region and very much demonstrates that Norfolk is open for business, open for visitors and open to entrepreneurs and investors.'

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman said the idea of an 'innovation corridor' could drive a new cycle of growth in the area.

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He added: 'With the dualling of the A11 and A47 secured, I believe we now have a once-in-a-generation chance to make the eastern region the new California, a pioneering hub of cutting-edge technology businesses driving new jobs, opportunities and skills training across the region. This report is another major step towards that vision.'

The A11 Growth Corridor Feasibility Study was commissioned by South Norfolk, Breckland and Forest Heath councils and sets out 11 areas where growth should be focused.

Its key recommendations include developing technology growth hubs at Hethel, linked to the NRP, as well as Thetford Enterprise Park and Kings Warren at Red Lodge in Suffolk.

The report will be discussed by South Norfolk Council's growth and communities policy committee tomorrow.

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