Borough ‘well placed’ for opportunities says leader
A year of offshore contracts being awarded to the port, a hot summer and successful tourist season, and a major fire in the heart of the holiday hub, was reflected on at a special presentation.
Businesses in the Great Yarmouth borough attended a special celebration of the local economy, hosted by council leader Cllr Graham Plant, at the Town Hall.
Cllr Plant gave a speech and presentation to expand on the highlights. He was followed by Jonathan Cole, managing director of ScottishPower Renewables, which chose Yarmouth as the port for construction and installation activities for the £2.5bn East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm.
In his speech, Cllr Plant pointed out how much had been achieved in the year since Great Yarmouth Port Company had been purchased by Peel Ports, which is involved in a multi-million pound co-investment in the port to support the construction of primary infrastructure and ground works for major wind farm projects.
He also looked forward to further opportunities to secure investment in offshore wind, gas platform operations and maintenance, and decommissioning.
Cllr Plant reviewed the council’s proactive work to ensure the borough is best placed for significant opportunities. This includes developing business units on the enterprise zone at Beacon Park, freeing-up suitable land at the energy park, and supporting partnership efforts to secure funding for the third river crossing and to refurbish the river Yare tidal defences.
In the tourism sector, he reported visitor numbers, spend and business investment had continued to grow in recent years, putting it down to concerted work by the council, Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area (GYTBIA) and others to help create the conditions for this success.
The borough, Cllr Plant said, had enjoyed a dry, sunny season and hosted a successful and diverse calendar of festivals and events, which had collectively resulted in more than 200,000 visits. He looked forward to the Haven Great Yarmouth Air Show in June 2017.
While the fire in Regent Road was a major blow, the council had pulled out all the stops to get Regent Road re-connected swiftly and safely, and the affected traders were offered business advice and put in touch with the landlords of potential alternative premises.
Regarding Yarmouth town centre, Cllr Plant spoke about the council’s continued efforts to support footfall, spend and the local economy through the town centre Initiative, which includes a new shopfront improvement scheme.
He encouraged everyone to take part in the consultation in January over the draft town centre masterplan, which offers a vision to transform Yarmouth’s central area.