Enterprise centre for north Norfolk moves a step closer

NNDC portfolio holder for business economic development and tourismNigel Dixon.

NNDC portfolio holder for business economic development and tourismNigel Dixon. - Credit: Archant

Proposals for a new enterprise centre for small and start-up businesses in north Norfolk have moved to the next level.

North Norfolk District Council is investigating the feasibility of creating a shared space for businesses and education providers to help bridge the gap between workforce needs and academic study.

A business case is being developed for the scheme – which would be unique in the area – after the decision to move the plans forward was approved by the district council's cabinet following consultations with more than 90 local businesses and educational establishments.

Nigel Dixon, cabinet member for business and economic development, said: 'It is great news that investigations into a centre to support local business and our local economy are making solid headway.

'For the economy these can feel like uncertain times but we believe we have identified a suitable means of helping to support the development of local businesses, whilst opening the eyes of young people in the area to the wealth of exciting career opportunities that exist locally.

'The future growth of north Norfolk's economy and prosperity of our district is dependent upon talented young people and this investigation aims to focus on a suitable new approach.'

Eight potential sites across the district identified in an initial study have been shortlisted for the proposed centre, which will focus on science, technology, and engineering-based industries (STEM).

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Mr Dixon said the focus on STEM sectors would help established industries in the area such as off-shore energy, food processing and boat building, while also tapping into emerging digital and creative industries.

The council has commissioned Norwich-based enterprise agency Nwes to develop the full business and investment case. The project team includes consultancy group Nautilus Associates, architects Feilden+Mawson, infrastructure consultants AECOM and land agents Brown & Co, with expert input from the UEA and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

John Balch, strategic director of Nwes, said: 'We know that encouraging new businesses and developing STEM-based skills are essential components of the new industrial strategy proposed by the government, a vision shared by the council and ourselves.'