Suffolk's chance of Olympic action

SUFFOLK has a chance to build a lasting legacy for itself as a place where people want to live, work and visit if it successfully capitalises on the 2012 Games.

SUFFOLK has a chance to build a lasting legacy for itself as a place where people want to live, work and visit if it successfully capitalises on the 2012 Games.

Development agencies are today formulating an action plan for the region to ensure the county, above other English regions, wins funding for building projects and infrastructure improvements.

The 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games will draw tens of thousands of international visitors to the capital and it is hoped many will visit Suffolk during their stay in England.

The East of England Development Agency today said Suffolk must seize that chance when the eyes of the world are on England if it is to build a lasting legacy for itself.

Charles Kitchin , the agency's marketing manager, said: "It's going to bring the eyes of the world to the region. It's not just about London, it's about the whole region.

"Of all the UK regions we're in the prime spot. There's very few parts of our region that are further than two hours away from where the Games will be.

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"One of the key advantages of the whole thing is bringing the eyes of the world on to us. Everyone will be looking at England and particularly London and it's surrounding areas."

A massive development agenda will now be launched, with the bulk of the work centring on east London where the Games will be based. But that work is expected to fan out across the country as improvements are made to transport and sporting infrastructure.

Business leaders hopes this injection of spending will act as a springboard for other projects by making the regions an attractive investment option.

That is expected to flow on to businesses themselves as money spent in the region flows into the local economies.

Suffolk is among those expected to benefit.

Mr Kitchin said: "Our businesses in the east are right on the doorstep to bid for projects.

"Lessons from the Sydney Olympics particularly have shown the business impact has been quite extraordinary.

"It will be felt right through the economy. There will be more jobs and with people working more, people will be earning more and people will be spending more in the shops.

"This is a huge project. We need to get organised and we need to work together."

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"It is a tremendous profile raising opportunity, business development opportunity and economic regeneration and an ongoing legacy.

"As a nation we should be confident in ourselves.

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