COMMENTARY: ‘Great Yarmouth has regenerated more times than Doctor Who’

'Great Yarmouth has regenerated more times than Doctor Who' – a comment overheard this week on the local radio relating to the news that Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft had received the green light for an Enterprise Zone.

The gentleman on the radio was right, millions of pounds have been pumped into Great Yarmouth and recent funding aimed at enterprice did create a number of new start ups and supported local businesses, but maybe not to the level we had all hoped for.

The Enterprise Zone is in a different league and has the potential to be the catalyst to create thousands of new jobs and change the local economy for the better, forever.

However, it will not happen without a lot of hard work, commitment and a real belief that it can happen. Local businesses working with the local authorities and our MP have convinced the government that Great Yarmouth has potential, but it will take local people to be convinced to really make it work!

The opportunities for Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft related to the energy and renewable sector are massive! How many industries do you know that are planning for growth for the next 20 years? We used to say there were no more jobs for life, but I for one would feel a minimum of 20 years was getting close. We talk a lot about future job opportunities for our young people – well this is it.

The business opportunities within the energy sector over the coming 20 years are huge. Offshore wind �45bn over 15 years; gas production �20bn over 20 years; nuclear �6-10bn over 10 years; biofuels �2bn and the list goes on...

Great Yarmouth has significant expertise in energy and related services to enable local people and businesses to get a piece of the action.

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But we have to believe that it will happen, and make it happen, or our neighbours in the UK and Europe will be waving to us from offshore having taken the opportunities from under our noses!

After what was a slowish start, the business community working with the local authorities and the New Anglia LEP have placed Great Yarmouth in a fantastic position to take advantage of not millions but billions of pounds and thousands of jobs. However, it needs the whole Norfolk community to believe it will happen and, most importantly, make it happen.

It is not as easy as clapping our hands Peter Pan style, but we must start seeing the potential in front of us and what we have and can achieve rather than dwelling on the negative from the past. The Great Yarmouth Borough Council and the Norfolk County Council are showing a real 'can do' attitude and the business community are gearing up, so let's show the rest of the country what we are made of and provide the future we all want to see for Great Yarmouth and for our young people – because we are worth it!