Boost to local building firms

LOCALLY-based building firms are set to reap the benefits of a �280,000 investment package from Norfolk County Council designed to stimulate the local economy.

LOCALLY-based building firms are set to reap the benefits of a �280,000 investment package from Norfolk County Council designed to stimulate the local economy.

Work on some of the 21 schemes, which will see maintenance work brought forward at a number of county council owned residential homes for the elderly, libraries, fire stations and schools, should start within the next few weeks.

The initiative - which comes in addition to the council's own maintenance programme - was announced in February by Norfolk County Council leader Daniel Cox as part of the council's response to the credit crunch.

Contracts for the work are being spread around companies across Norfolk by NPS Property Consultants Ltd, a private company 100pc owned by Norfolk County Council.

The county council is set to spend �167.7m on major capital schemes in the new financial year. Work will continue at three new primary schools - Earsham, Castle Acre and South Lynn - and begin at two others - Seething and Hempnall - as well as at the new Carrow fire station. A �38m package of public transport improvements will see a range of work including new cycle paths, footways and other projects.

Harry Humphrey, cabinet member for property and corporate affairs said: “These building maintenance projects are not massive schemes which take years to bring to fruition, but they are very welcome by the public generally and by the building industry locally because they will keep local workers busy.

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“We are investing an extra �627,000 during the year ahead to help Norfolk businesses and residents through the recession, with �125,000 given directly to Citizens' Advice Bureaux for additional debt advisors and a �200,000 programme of support for people made redundant.

“This initiative will hopefully provide a welcome shot to the Norfolk construction industry and is a clear signal that we are determined to play a full and positive part in helping to breathe new life into the Norfolk economy.”

Mike Britch, managing director of NPS Property Consultants, added; “We will use our list of locally-based contractors to ensure they help keep local people in work. This extra maintenance is in addition to the �3million maintenance programme the county council carries out on non schools building each year and I have asked our staff to try and bring forward other projects from this programme, where possible, so that we maintain a good flow of contracts available to local companies.”

The 21 schemes announced include work at Yarmouth day centre costing �15,000 for redecoration of the main hall and toilet refurbishment while Caister day centre will also receive a grant of �15,000 for improvements to the interior.

Gorleston residential home Magdalen House will also receive �15,000.

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