Shadow minister sees key marine energy park role for Yarmouth and Lowestoft
Stephen PullingerGreat Yarmouth and Lowestoft were flagged up as potential sites for a job-creating marine energy park when shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change Greg Clark visited the resorts yesterday.Stephen Pullinger
Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft were flagged up as potential sites for a job-creating marine energy park when shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change Greg Clark visited the resorts yesterday.
Making the Scroby Sands windfarm centre on Yarmouth seafront his first port of call, ahead of a visit to Lowestoft's renewable energy-focused Orbis Centre, he spoke to Eon executives about their 30-turbine first-generation windfarm.
He then learned from borough council cabinet member Graham Plant how the authority was already earmarking land - including a site big enough to house a turbine manufacturing or assembly plant - for companies to relocate to the borough to service the planned giant new Norfolk Bank windfarm 14 miles off the coast.
Mr Clark said: "There is a fantastic opportunity for the big development of offshore wind along this coast but the area will need to ensure it has the skills in place to have the supply chain locate here.
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"One of the reasons I have come here is to scout out the potential for this area to be the home for a new marine energy park."
He said such a park, which could include sites in both ports, would bring together all the required skills, from research and engineering firms to electrical specialists.
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During his visit, Mr Clark confirmed the Tories' determination to improve broadband access which would also help to make the region more attractive for companies, and to achieve that he underlined the need to stimulate more competition in a sector dominated by BT.
Supporting Yarmouth Tory candidate Brandon Lewis in his campaign to improve the town's station, he said his party was committed to improving the region's train services.
"There is a need to extend the franchise periods. Making them longer would encourage more investment," he said.
Touching on deprivation, Mr Clark said David Cameron's announcement of a National Citizen Service for young people would help to turn around struggling communities.
He said: "Communities are most successful where everyone is working together and our scheme will allow young people to discover skills that they can use to help others for the rest of their lives."
Asked whether the Tories would ensure the full dualling of the A11, he said his party understand the importance of the route. However, they could not commit to a specific road project ahead of coming into government.