Breckland's business future discussed at launch of new forum
The launch of the Breckland Business Forum saw MP George Freeman declare that he believes the district could become the home of growing technology companies.
Representatives from businesses big and small across the five market towns attended the event held at Lynford Hall and organised by marketing agency The Lively Crew.
Speakers included Doug Field, chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the leaders of Breckland Council and Norfolk County Council William Nunn and Andrew Proctor.
Mr Freeman, the MP for Mid-Norfolk, told the audience the area needed to take advantage of all the new and growing businesses.
He said: “If you look at East Anglia you’d say, ‘crikey Cambridge is creating all these businesses, where on earth are they going to go?’
“Cambridge cannot contain all that growth. So we ought to be the garden of Cambridge and we ought to be bringing all those new companies out and converting our farm buildings and putting all these little technology companies in the most beautiful part of East Anglia, up here.”
He added that the infrastructure of the area, including rail, road, and housing, needed to be right to aid in attracting these firms
“I think Breckland in 10 years will be the garden, the home, of the technology companies that have been spawned out of Cambridge and Norwich,” he said.
“And the people who run them want to live in real communities and proper villages. So it is crucial we get the planning right.”
A question and answer session was held with Mr Nunn, Mr Proctor and the chief executive of the New Anglia LEP, Chris Starkie.
On the aim of the forumn Valerie Watson Brown, director of The Lively Crew, said: “Now we have brought the private and public sector together we will be challenging Breckland to get behind the forum and support it.
“It is a way of giving every market town in Breckland a collective voice to support and challenge local and national decision making.”
William Nunn “What I hope is that now local businesses from across the districts can get across to us what the important messages are and put this to other organisations like the New Anglia LEP.
“We think we get what businesses want but from having a forum we can get a much better view. Politician to politician is an interesting conversation but what the businesses actually talk to out, that is when people start to take notice.
“I hope in the future, rather than us talking so much, that we will have the opportunity to have conversations and set up debates around key areas that businesses are upset about. We can get the top people in and we can try and challenge it.”
The Breckland Business Forum will have quarterly meetings through the year and will meet at different areas of Breckland.
Businesses interested in joining the forum should mail firstname.lastname@example.org