What do Norfolk businesses want?

Caroline Williams, Chief Executive, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

What do Norfolk businesses want? Improved Infrastructure. When do we want it? Now! A follow on question could be – Do we have any chance of getting it? and the answer is Yes if we work together to ensure our voice isheard.

Norfolk’s economy is back on track and there are many companies who are really starting to feel the effect of an improved national economy.  Business is never easy and there is still a way to go for many companies as they start to look overseas for business opportunities; have the challenging task of recruiting the right new staff; and deal with the ever confusing political agendas, as we move towards May 2015.

What is clear, however, is that Norfolk has finally been recognised by Government as a region of growth potential. The issue with potential though, is that it is intangible until it is reached. The frustration for many Norfolk businesses is that it costs excessive time and resource to move goods and people around and carry out day to day business.

For years it has been jam tomorrow, but improvements are being made although sometimes not to plan.  I refer to the recent issue with Network Rail where the business community was badly affected by a design fault of the new train signalling system being installed at Ipswich causing widespread delays and cancellations.

As a business community we can either grumble down the pub or we can clearly and loudly articulate what we want and the difference it will make to our companies and the local economy. Sometimes it takes only a few moments of your time, like signing up to the Greater Eastern Rail Campaign to achieve a faster more reliable train service to London. Signing up will not guarantee that the Government will listen but not signing up will guarantee that it will be more difficult for the rest of us to achieve our objectives.

Roads continue to be an ongoing challenge for Norfolk business and although the current 40 mph on the A11 is frustrating, it’s opening in December will be more than just a faster journey time, it will show that Norfolk is firmly open for business. The A11 growth corridor provides exciting opportunities for our economy going forward.

Improvements to the A47 once a pipe dream are within reach and the Norfolk Chamber with its partners is working hard to ensure that key positive announcements will be made in the Government’s Autumn Statement. Improvements identified by the Task Force will open up areas for much needed development.

So what can the business community do to ensure that our wish list becomes a reality? Show your support when asked -the business voice is listened to by local and national government. Be visible about your successes -success leads to more success. Talk up your achievements through the Chamber website and the local media. Please do raise your profile so as not to be a ‘hidden gem’, and support Norfolk to achieve improved infrastructure and do better business. 

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