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Hundreds of new jobs could be unlocked after funding boost finally secures more electricity for Snetterton

The future site of the new electrical substation at Snetterton

The future site of the new electrical substation at Snetterton

Archant

Hopes of unlocking hundreds of new jobs at Snetterton have been given a £2.3m funding boost.

With the electricity supply running thin in the region, Breckland Council had pinned its ambitions for future growth on a £160m biomass plant.

But when it failed to secure a condition ensuring power would be routed to Snetterton upon completion, new options were explored and now a new electric substation will be built.

The New Anglia LEP has agreed to provide £2.3m towards the project, which alongside further private and public sector investment, means the £3m scheme can progress. Snetterton Heath is identified as a key employment site by Breckland Council and the New Anglia LEP and is a strategic site within the new Cambridge Norwich A11 Tech Corridor, which seeks to maximise the benefits of the dualling of the A11.

The funding is expected, as a minimum, to triple the power capability at Snetterton and is expected to be completed towards the end of 2018, with the potential of creating more than 1,700 jobs.

Chris Starkie, managing director of New Anglia LEP, said: “This investment will allow for existing businesses to expand and attract new employers to the area, helping towards our ambition of creating 95,000 new jobs across Norfolk and Suffolk by 2026 – a target which we’re already over one third of the way towards achieving.”

Phil Cowen, Breckland’s executive member for growth and commercialisation, said: “Securing this funding support from the LEP means we can now overcome the single major barrier to attracting new businesses to Snetterton Heath – the limited power supply.

“Snetterton Heath can now be properly established as a key site in the A11-focused tech corridor. We hope to complement the established automotive sector and precision engineering companies in the area by encouraging companies from the fields of advanced manufacturing, engineering and agri-tech to the area. This will create new, higher skilled – and higher paying – jobs, which provide an opportunity to grow local talent to meet this demand.

“We also hope to support companies from the fields of logistics, distribution and food production, which already have a presence in Snetterton.”

Businesses in the area have welcomed the announcement, but said further work will have to be done to ensure future prosperity.

James Davies-Warner, director of Snetterton Park, said the fresh power source would provide for about five years of development.

“What we have at the moment is ‘skinny’ in terms of power,” he said. “On both sides of the A11 it is nearly at full capacity in terms of availability and usage.

“There is no spare power in the area to allow development to go forwards... This funding is good news for all the landowners and developers in the area.”

Are you creating jobs? Email dominic.gilbert@archant.co.uk

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