East Suffolk: How will region create 10,000 new jobs by 2025?
12:19 07 March 2014
Ambitious plans for the creation of 10,000 new jobs in East Suffolk by 2025 have been announced to provide a “sustainable economy fit for the 21st Century”.
The East Suffolk Growth Plan, produced in partnership by Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils, outlines proposals to deliver employment and housing while also protecting the region’s “precious countryside”.
Andy Smith, deputy leader at Suffolk Coastal, said: “We want the Growth Plan to create a business environment which delivers jobs in a growing and sustainable economy fit for the 21st Century and the housing that is needed to sustain that.
“We want to do this in a way that sensitively looks after our precious countryside and coast, which makes East Suffolk a uniquely attractive place to live, work and play.”
Key areas for employment growth have been identified in the energy industry at Sizewell and Lowestoft and the ICT research hub at Adastral Park in Martlesham.
John Rayner, clerk at Leiston-Cum-Sizewell Town Council, said the new power station would have a “huge disruption” on the local community and it was important “to get the most we can from it - including jobs”.
Felixstowe Port and the county-wide tourism industry are also expected to yield significant numbers of new jobs over the time frame stated.
Naomi Tarry, a director at Best of Suffolk, agreed with the report’s positive outlook on tourism-related jobs, saying the county’s “beautiful coastline” would continue to be a “big draw” for visitors.
The report acknowledges, however, that major obstacles must be overcome if these sectors are to produce the growth expected of them.
Long-standing problems with the county’s two major road routes - the A12 and A14 - are conceded to be a “barrier to growth in the county and particularly east Suffolk”.
While upgrades to the A14 near Cambridge are planned to start in 2016, other infrastructure improvements such as the bypasses to the north of Ipswich and around four villages along the A12, though supported, have no guarantees of completion.
Poor broadband and mobile communications in rural areas are also cited as hindrances to growth, particularly in the ICT industry, despite the investments being made under the “Better Broadband for Suffolk” programme.
The report refers to “significant” housing growth planned for east Suffolk over the next 15 years as being necessary to sustain the new employment expected and also as a source of jobs in its own right.
However Suffolk Coastal is currently behind in its housing targets and councillors admit that finding suitable sites for the new developments is a “big challenge”.
Christopher Hudson, whose Framlingham-ward has seen major opposition to the hundreds of homes proposed in the town, said the growth needed to be “sensitive and sustainable”.