Since becoming the MP for Mid Norfolk back in 2010, I have often described what I call the “Norfolk Research Triangle” – the space between Norwich-Dereham-Wymondham/Attleborough that will see much of the growth and development associated with the likes of the Norwich Research Park, the Hethel Engineering Centre, the Easton Food Enterprise Park and the A11 Tech Corridor in the years come.
As more and more companies “spin out” of this wonderful science and innovation cluster, I believe they will reject the old ‘pre-Covid’ model of life and Business, choosing not to base themselves in traffic-jammed towns and cities. Instead, I think they will look to set up in the Triangle, with their employees living locally, actively contributing to community life and boosting our economy, and enjoying a better, cleaner, greener quality of life. In doing so, they will breathe fresh life into our towns and villages, spreading prosperity and creating thousands of jobs – gone will be the days when so many of our youngsters feel they must leave in search of better prospects and bigger incomes.
That’s why I have teamed up with Richard Bacon MP and Jerome Mayhew MP to launch a new forum for the communities living in this patch of Norwich. We believe that the opportunities on offer should not be feared, but rather grasped. If so, we can ensure there is good planning that does not impact on our rural way of life; improve local amenities; put in place proper walking and cycling routes; help local people get on the Road to Net Zero; spread the ‘green’ jobs of tomorrow and improve the lives of everyone living in the area. This is the vision we all want to see – not a future in which issues like poor planning and rat-running impact on the lives of all.
We want to see a Norfolk that advances, but does not lose all that we hold dear.
The inaugural meeting of this forum took place yesterday, with approximately fifteen communities represented. We three MPs believe that by bringing together the towns and villages of the Triangle (typically split between three different constituencies and two district councils), we can help them create a stronger voice with which they can better shape their futures – and the first signs are highly promising. Enthusiasm for the initiative was high and we are now working out how best to take this forward and what the specific objectives might look like.
To learn more, please do keep an eye out for further updates on my website.