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Labour call for Suffolk 2050 plan to offer 'brave solutions'

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A long-term vision for Suffolk is set to be created in a bid to address some of the key challenges expected in the next 30 years.

Suffolk County Council was urged by other councils to develop a ‘Suffolk 2050’ vision, following a peer review style exercise in February where equivalent councils shared their ideas.

Among some of the key areas set to be addressed are how to provide for an ageing population, health conditions such as dementia which are on the rise, and delivering the necessary school places.

Endeavour House, Ipswich (10447958)
Endeavour House, Ipswich (10447958)

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet is next week set to approve a host of recommendations from those peers, which includes drawing up the Suffolk 2050 vision.

The cabinet paper said: “These are welcome recommendations and build on the strong collaboration and positive relationships highlighted in the report.

“Consequently, there is a sound foundation and existing good practice to build on.

“These must be jointly developed in close collaboration with partners, so that the county council can be bolder as an equal partner and in doing so, set a longer term vision to ensure that Suffolk continues to be a great place to live in, work in and visit.”

The State of Suffolk 2019 report has collated data from across the county, and anticipated areas likely to be key concerns in the future.

It said that currently one in five Suffolk residents were aged 65 or over, but this was expected to be one in three by 2040.

It also anticipated a further 10,000 new dementia diagnoses in the next two decades and the need for 62,000 new homes by 2040.

Sarah Adams, Labour group leader at the county council, said: “Creating a long-term, achievable vision for Suffolk is an absolute necessity.

“We need bold and brave solutions to meet the huge challenges facing us as a county.

“We need to solve the problems created by an ageing population; of rapidly increasing demand for SEND [special educational needs and disabilities] provision; we need to create high skills, high wage jobs fit for the future; a rethink on our infrastructure that will ensure the long term viability of Suffolk; we need a plan that future proofs all that is good about this beautiful county.

“In the first instance much more must be done to develop and support Suffolk’s wonderful assets like our famous food and drink produce, a world leading energy sector and popular tourist destinations.

“Let’s hope Suffolk 2050 is the catalyst for change this council so desperately needs.”

A timeline for when the strategy will be published has not yet been outlined.