This strategy will help focus how rural Norfolk needs to develop over the next decade and beyond.
Rural Norfolk is a very special place and this strategy examines how we best maintain those qualities whilst ensuring our communities continue to develop. This means change is inevitable, but our ambition is to deliver change with the community and deliver direct benefits to those who live and work in the county.
Our world is evolving and our County is on the cusp of major change. Resource pressures, the growth of the knowledge economy, climate change, an ageing but wealthier population, new industries and new ways to communicate and purchase goods and services are just some of the issues and opportunities we face. But unless rural Norfolk rises to these challenges, it is in danger of being left behind.
Norfolk has been at the forefront of innovation since the start of the agricultural revolution in the 1700s and continues to build on its historic track record of successes today – with globally significant research into some of the world’s biggest challenges in food, health and environment in Norwich, advanced engineering at Hethel and through many other world class companies across the County. This ‘goahead’ spirit is essential to the future prosperity of our rural communities.
Norfolk is generally a good place to live, with a diverse economy, incredible landscapes, and some of the lowest crime rates in the country. However, it contains pockets of hidden deprivation and, in more sparsely populated and coastal areas, there is poor access to services and modern infrastructure such as broadband, mobile telephony and low qualification and wage levels.
How we respond to these challenges and opportunities will determine whether we can achieve the large ambitions we rightly hold for our County. To move forward, it is vital that we use scarce funding effectively and this strategy will be used to align UK, local and EU funding to support our priorities.
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