Agenda item

Norfolk Investment Framework (NIF) (Agenda item 11)

Report of Councillor Paul Claussen, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economic Development & Growth.


Councillor Paul Claussen, the Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economic Development and Growth presented the report.


Breckland Council had been working with the Wayland Partnership for several years to develop a proposal for a multi-use centre on Watton High Street. This would house a number of facilities, including business support, office space and training, focused on the growing digital and creative media sectors; whilst also containing a range of commercial and leisure facilities. This proposed mixed-used facility, had been referred to as the Wayland Digital & Creative Media Centre (DCMC).


If approved this would be a step closer of realising the vision and as a major piece of regeneration this would establish a new anchor point at the western end of the High Street catalysing investment and boosting footfall. This would be the only centre of its kind in the region and would be a national first.


A project of this ambition was not straight forward and required significant investment but had already attracted some substantial private interest.  He was delighted to announce that Breckland Council had been successful in securing £125k of funding from Norfolk County Council via its Norfolk Investment Framework, and this would deliver the first stages of the project.   


This funding would be put towards a year long pilot project within the existing Wayland House building delivering training to this particular sector.  The funding would also be used to fund technical expertise to deliver a full business case enabling the project to be best placed to secure future capital funding.


The recommendations were proposed and seconded.


Councillor Kiddell thanked Breckland Council for bringing this project forward as it would be great for Watton, and she was pleased to represent the town as this would put Watton on the map if approved.


Councillor Eagle felt that this was a fantastic project and the site was so convenient as it was passed one of the main schools in Watton and would provide an opportunity for people to widen their horizons and apply for better jobs.  He then expanded on the gaming and development sector in the UK. He then paid credit to Dr David Dent from the Wayland Partnership and the Wayland Chamber of Commerce as this had initially been his idea and no-one should be discouraged from bringing their ideas forward for the district.


Councillor James, the Executive Member for Customer and Corporate Services sated that Thetford had played host to an international gaming event 3 times over the last 18 months that was excellent for the local economy, and she anticipated that if the recommendations were approved the same would happen for Watton.


Following a vote which was unanimous, it was:




1.    the Council accepts the funding awarded to Breckland from the Norfolk Investment Framework (NIF) to deliver work that will bring forward the Wayland Digital & Creative Media Centre (DCMC) project; and


2.    delegated authority be given to the Assistant Director for Economy & Growth (in consultation with the Executive Member for Economic Development & Growth) to enter into the Grant Funding Agreement and oversee the Wayland DCMC project.    

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