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Getting the economy working again

With COVID 19 restrictions starting to be relaxed the emphasis of the work being carried out by South Norfolk Council is moving to promote recovery and to do everything possible to get the local economy working again.

A strong economy is built on growth and that growth is underpinned by building and development. That is why South Norfolk Council is working with developers to get building sites open and construction re-started.

South Norfolk Council Leader, John Fuller said: “It’s vital that we get our local economy moving again and one of the ways your local Council can help is by making sure that planning decisions are taken as quickly as possible.

“If we can get the construction sites open again that means that electricians, carpenters and bricklayers will all be able to return to work and the companies that supply the raw materials and the lorry drivers who deliver them, will also be back in business”

From June, the Council is looking at holding fortnightly Planning Committee meetings and will be prioritising business applications with recovery of the economy given specific weight in the planning balance.

As well as speeding up planning decisions South Norfolk Council is also taking a positive approach in allowing businesses to extend operating hours. This will help to compensate for the social distancing restrictions that are still in place and will mean that some building sites will be able to operate for longer.

Councillor Fuller added: “We need to take a pragmatic and flexible approach to helping businesses. If that means doing things differently and finding new ways to work, then that is what we will do.”

South Norfolk Council is also looking at ways it can help companies with their cash flow and keep money in the business and people in jobs. The Council has already delayed over £1 million in Community Infrastructure Levy payments from developers and is now looking at other options, including trigger points for conditions in planning consents.

The Council has sent a questionnaire to housebuilders asking how it can assist in their recovery and offering help, direct to the companies. One of the possible options the council is considering is to offer builders a discount on business rates on show homes, while sales agents are not working and on site compounds.

South Norfolk Council has been helping protect the local economy throughout the COVID 19 pandemic, offering advice and support to thousands of local businesses.

Councillor Fuller added: “While we continue to look after our most vulnerable residents, the recovery phase will be led by district councils working closely with our local businesses and supporting our market towns. We understand local issues and we are best placed to offer the help and support required to get our economy working again. That way, we will not only keep rooves over people’s heads, we will also help keep them in jobs.”