New Anglia seeks share of �15m to develop up to 700 jobs in rural areas

Bosses of the New Anglia local enterprise partnership today named the 14 rural areas where they hope to create up to 700 new jobs if they can secure a slice of �15m of government cash.

The Rural Growth Network bid, which is being backed by 13 councils, businesses and business groups, will be a comprehensive network of up to 14 enterprise hubs, including Fakenham, Swaffham, North Walsham, Attleborough, and Downham Market.

Chris Starkie, programme director of New Anglia said the enterprise hubs will be created on under-used business parks, brownfield site or sites with the space and potential to enable businesses to grow in their local communities.

'We've helped developed the concept of rural growth networks with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and three other Local Enterprise Partnerships. The aim of our bid is to bring new business to rural areas, kick-start enterprise and help establish new companies in the areas around the hubs.'

New Anglia said it has been working with experienced staff from local authorities across Suffolk and Norfolk to select the sites, where business has the potential to grow.

If the bid is successful, it could unlock further funding from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) to help small businesses improve their skills, facilities and competitiveness.

'Our bid is a strong one, but competition will be fierce,' Mr Starkie added. 'We expect to hear the outcome of our bid in the next few days.'

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