thebestofhaverhill held their monthly business meeting at Days Inn Haverhill recently and welcomed guest speaker Tim Passmore, the Interim Chief Executive for Choose Suffolk and leader of Mid-Suffolk District Council.
Continuing the theme of ‘Wanting the best for Haverhill’ Tim had been invited to speak about the future of Choose Suffolk, the role of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the opportunities for economic development within the county and how they related to Haverhill.
Choose Suffolk has for many years played a key role in promoting Suffolk as a tourist destination and helping to attract inward investment into the region. However, following the coalition government’s decision to reform regional development agencies Choose Suffolk will cease to exist at the end of August. Their work will be undertaken by the New Anglia LEP, an economic development body comprising representatives from both the private and public sectors. The New Anglia LEP has already publicised their commitment to maintaining tourism as a top priority in the county, it is joint top of the agenda alongside developing the energy sector.
Tim spoke enthusiastically about the economic prospects for Suffolk and for Haverhill, as one of the key towns in the county. He highlighted a number of sectors, including bioscience, biotech, regenerative medicine and equine, which offered the potential for the development of world class clusters.
The message from Tim was very clear - if we don’t grasp these chances and take them forward swiftly other regions in Europe will beat us to it. The role of local authorities is critical – they need to support the private sector if Suffolk PLC is going to be in a position to capitalise on the prospects for economic development.
Tim acknowledged the importance of Haverhill’s location, saying “Haverhill is in a prime location because it is so closely linked to Cambridge, Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds. Having the sign to Haverhill on the M11 is a great thing; think about how many people travel on that motorway every day - it brings the town to the front of people’s minds.”
Suffolk as a county offers so much and we shouldn’t ignore that, instead we should be promoting it. Felixstowe is the gateway to Europe in terms of imports and exports - a market of 360 million people; Newmarket is renowned for its horse breeding and racecourses, and Suffolk has vast amounts of space which is of immense value.”
“We are in a great county and there are plenty of opportunities to encourage prosperity and generate inward investment, we just need to all get behind it in order for it to bring value to the whole of the county.”
Elaine Carr, the owner of thebestofhaverhill said, “Tim’s enthusiasm for Suffolk is without question. I think that it is important for us as local business owners to understand what it going on outside of Haverhill and to appreciate the bigger picture. Our town has a lot to offer and it is down to all of us to get that message across to our employees, our customers and anyone else we come into contact with. We need to grasp the opportunities if we want to see Haverhill continue to develop and thrive in the future.”
Photograph: Courtesy of David Doughty @ The Gallery