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Matthew Hancock
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'What a Great Place To Be!'

Tuesday, 25th April 2006.

Mike Clarke Area Manager for Barclays Bank, Haverhill, welcomed over forty people, including Town Mayor, Tim Marks, Mayor and several town and borough councillors, to the Haverhill Chamber of Commerce and Industry event last week.

Mike said how pleased he was to host the presentation by the Suffolk Development Agency in the recently refurbished banking hall.

Terry Clark, Chairman of the Suffolk Development Agency (SDA) outlined the history and role of the organisation, which was formed in 1999 with a remit to improve the prosperity of the county through economic development and regeneration.

Robert Maidment, SDA Board Member and Chair of its Transport Group, outlined their County and Regional Transport Policy.

The agency has developed over the past six years into a respected and highly regarded source of support, information and advice.

This was acknowledged in March when the SDA were named "Economic Development Agency of the Year" by executive magazine "Business Britain."

The magazine described Suffolk as evolving and attracting record levels of business investment.

They believe the county has many attributes that make it first choice for inward investment and business expansion and, according to their research, the work of the SDA, whose core function is to encourage and facilitate this investment, was one of the key factors in this decision making process.

Julian Munson, Inward Investment Manager for the SDA explained how his role has grown since he joined in 2001.

"In the first year we handled around 120 enquiries from companies looking to relocate or invest in the county. Now we are dealing with around 160 enquiries per month, the majority of which are coming via our website.

"The agency has focused on presenting Suffolk in a much more professional and dynamic way. The county has so much to offer - the relative cost of property and labour, access to the Port of Felixstowe, Stansted Airport, the proximity to London and, of course, the quality of life.

"Haverhill is a success story for the development agency, and this is only the beginning. We were involved with helping Figleaves.com and Percy Daltons to relocate to Haverhill resulting in the creation of four hundred new jobs for the town.

"They have supported the developers of the Haverhill Business Park by providing information and background data to try to help influence potential investors as well as hosting visits to Haverhill from potential investors located as far afield as the United States and China.

"Last month the Suffolk Development Agency secured £30,000 from East of England Development Agency to fund a study into the viability of creating a new enterprise and technology park in Haverhill."

Julian Munson continued saying: "This is one of our sector-focused campaigns where we want to promote west Suffolk to life sciences and biotech companies and encourage them to the area. The results of the feasibility study should be available in June.

"We recently worked with St. Edmundsbury Borough Council to secure funding of £30,000, again from EEDA, to make physical improvements to the Hollands Road Industrial Estates, including upgrading security measures.

"We have been busy and we will continue with our mission to drive the message home – Choose Suffolk" Julian concluded.

Paul Donno, Chairman of the Haverhill Chamber of Commerce commented,"Barclay’s hosted an excellent event for the Chamber. There was a lively question and answer session at the end of the presentation, which the team from the SDA took in their stride!

"There is no doubt in my mind that the role of the agency is contributing to the success of Suffolk. They have actively marketed the county, developing a strong brand identity for Suffolk, communicating the benefits of the county to the right people in the right way.

"We can learn a lot from their approach when we are marketing Haverhill and trying to encourage inward investment here. The Haverhill Chamber is looking forward to working more closely with the development agency over the coming year. Both organisations firmly believe that Suffolk, and Haverhill, is a great place to be."

Haverhill Online News

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