An ambitious recovery plan, published today, sets out how the city council and the city as a whole will emerge from the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The blueprint for the future of Norwich gives an overview of the council’s response to the virus over the past three months. It also sets out the council’s emerging thinking on how the council and the city will move towards recovery, based around a number of themes and associated actions.
At the heart of the blueprint lies the need to continue to support the most vulnerable in the city, working across a range of partners to address long-standing social problems.
This includes developing a sustainable approach to tackling homelessness, building on the work done to successfully move rough sleepers into accommodation during the outbreak of the pandemic.
A theme around business and the local economy looks at the council’s role – working with business groups – in supporting the safe reopening of the city centre.
Work to support the local economy also focuses on plans to distribute more grants to businesses through a discretionary grants fund, as well as improvements to digital connectivity through the roll-out of full fibre broadband.
Building more homes across the city – including more council houses – will be a key part of the city’s recovery over the medium-term. The blueprint sets out plans to bring forward a scheme to develop the former depot site at Mile Cross, which has the potential to create up to 200 new council homes.
The regeneration of the former Carrow Works and surrounding brownfield site at East Norwich has the potential to be the biggest development opportunity in the East of England. The council will bring forward plans to create the ‘East Norwich Partnership’ – a new public-private sector group to steer preparation of a masterplan to deliver up to 4,000 new homes and 6,000 new jobs.
As part of the council’s commitment to building homes it will continue to invest in its wholly owned housing development company, Norwich Regeneration Limited, with 74 new homes in the pipeline at the Rayne Park development in Bowthorpe.
Local action on climate change will be central to the recovery of the city, with the council bringing further plans forward in July through the publication of a comprehensive Environment Strategy.
The blueprint for recovery, which will be considered by cabinet on 10 June, outlines the council’s vital role in bringing together key city partners to harness the energy and drive needed to steer Norwich into recovery and beyond.
Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council, said: “As we move into a careful recovery, one of our top priorities will remain doing all we can to protect the health of our residents.
“The city council’s blueprint for recovery is an ambitious plan for the future – for the organisation and the city. It recognises the crucial role that the council has played in supporting the city through the period of lockdown and sets out the themes which will guide our recovery.
“At the heart of the plan is the need to work across local and regional partnerships to eradicate some of the social challenges we’ve become too used to, such as homelessness; insecure and poorly paid work and the need for a fair deal for those living in the private rented sector.
“In the short-term, the council is working with businesses to support the safe reopening of the city centre while, over the longer-term, our focus will be on building the homes people need, including investing in hundreds more council houses.
“All this is being done during a time of significant financial strain for local authorities. It’s essential that the government ensures that Norwich and other councils are fully funded to absorb the impacts of Covid-19 and that critical local services get the funding they need to remain sustainable.”