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Town set to benefit from up to £20m funding for regeneration and community projects

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A West Norfolk town is set to benefit from a pot of £400m for investment in regeneration and community projects.Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has announced that Lynn is to be included in its Long Term Plan for Towns scheme in his Spring Budget through which the town could benefit from up to £20m in funding.Lynn will receive a 10-year ‘endowment-style’ fund to support long-term delivery of projects over multiple years.

Lynn town centre. Picture: Ian Burt

However, there remains uncertainty about how the scheme will work in practice and council leaders have questioned whether this money would be better used to support struggling families.Terry Parish, leader of West Norfolk Council, said: “This has come as a surprise and we will await further information.“More investment is always welcome but at a time when food banks are struggling due to the demand and councils are facing huge financial pressures, you wonder if this money could be spent funding the public services we deliver.”The town will be required to create a 10-year delivery plan, setting out its vision for investment and regeneration which will be developed in consultation with local people.Town boards – made up of community leaders, employers and local councillors and MPs – will be responsible for overseeing and delivering this.It could go towards projects like the revamp of the Baxter’s Plain area in Lynn, railway station improvements and securing public safety.Norfolk’s Conservative MPs, Liz Truss and James Wild have welcomed the investment, which will benefit their constituents in Lynn and Thetford.Mr Wild, MP for North West Norfolk added: “This welcome investment is a further commitment by this government to create more opportunities in Lynn and boost our area.“Coming on top of £50m of regeneration funding secured through the Town Deal and Levelling Up Fund these are exciting times for West Norfolk.”Liz Truss, MP for South West Norfolk said: “Thetford is a fantastic historic town and I am delighted that these funds have been granted which will be a boost for local business, help attract more tourists and improve the lives of local residents.”While welcoming the money, Terry Jermy, Thetford councillor and Labour parliamentary candidate for South West Norfolk, believes the investment is “too little, too late” and he says it follows thousands of pounds of tax-payer money spent on developing bids that “all too often deliver no return.”He added: “Having had numerous funding bids rejected, I am pleased Thetford will be receiving this much-needed investment.“After 14 years of the Conservatives in power, with the austerity programme and the cost of living crisis, Towns like Thetford are desperate for investment to improve resident’s quality of life and local opportunities.“But I am sure residents will see it for what it is – too little too late.”Reacting to today’s announcement, Gaywood borough and county councillor Rob Colwell said: “This budget offers no relief for the widespread pain under the Conservative government and Rishi’s recession.“It is a last-ditch effort by a government neglecting public services and simply watching crumbling NHS hospitals like our QEH, when residents demand funding released now and boots on the ground.“They have wrecked the economy with mortgages skyrocketing, and subsequently reducing our living standards. It’s time for a general election to kick this atrocious Conservative government out of office for good.”

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