2020 has undeniably been a tough year for all of us. It’s a year that we will all remember. It’s a year that historians and other academics will study for generations to come. It’s a year no one will look back at with fondness.
Before writing this column, I looked at what I had written twelve months ago. I wrote about the outcome of the General Election and finished with the anticipation of a cash injection to make major improvements at the James Paget Hospital. There was optimism and hope for the year ahead. Although that may seemingly have been dashed by the global pandemic, there has still been good news for Great Yarmouth residents.
The government confirmed not only a massive funding package for our local NHS but a replacement hospital for Great Yarmouth. In a year when our amazing health staff have been on the frontline in the battle against the coronavirus, it is fitting that the town will see a new hospital with world-class 21st-century medical facilities.
There was also a funding boost for our local police force part of an overall plan to boost police numbers. That already means that there are extra police officers on the streets of Norfolk to keep our neighbourhoods safe. And the County Council has received additional funding next year to protect our key services as we recover from the pandemic.
After years of campaigning, we finally saw the go-ahead for the Third River Crossing that will ease congestion around the town and help unlock the area’s full economic potential. Now that we have a post-Brexit trade deal with our European neighbours improving our road network will help Great Yarmouth businesses seize the new opportunities available to them.
And then a late Christmas present arrived on Boxing Day as the Government announced that Great Yarmouth will receive nearly £13.7 million from the Future High Streets Fund. This funding will allow the council to push forward with their ambitious regeneration plans for the town centre.
I am looking forward to 2021 with real optimism. We will see the comprehensive vaccine programme finally bring the pandemic to an end. We will see the country forge a new path outside the European Union. And we will see massive investment in Great Yarmouth deliver real change.