River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Westminster Diary July

July 2016

The food and farming industry is going from strength to strength, especially in Norfolk and Suffolk where it is worth £3.5 billion and employs 120,000 people. One key reason behind this success is a dedication to innovation, so I was delighted to join Cornerways Nursery in Wissington on Open Farm Sunday to see their enterprising horticulture business in action. I was also glad to support farming’s national open day, which, in its eleventh year, encourages people to visit their local farms and receive an insight into this thriving industry. At Cornerways, I was given a tour of the UK’s largest glass house, observing the state of the art, eco-friendly processes that produce over 140 million tomatoes per year. One in five tomatoes we eat are British and Cornerways is leading the way to increase this proportion and champion British produce. They have also developed a new range of chutneys under the new branding of the Friendly Tomato Company. They are extremely tasty and with nine varieties of tomatoes grown at Wissington, I am sure that even the most demanding of palates will be spoilt for choice.

The old fire station at Downham Market has been transformed into an engaging local attraction- the Discover Downham Heritage Centre. I joined in the official opening celebrations and can confirm that the dedicated fundraising commitment by volunteers and trustees has been well worth it. I even received a sneak preview of the exhibitions displayed within this unique building, which focus upon the development of the town and its industries over the years. I would encourage anyone with an interest in the history and heritage of the town to visit or volunteer as the society looks to expand its research to the surrounding villages of Downham Market.

Dedicated community efforts have also paid off in Garboldisham. A local group has resolved to reopen the doors of their village pub. I met the Garboldisham Fox Community Interest Group (CIC) and discussed their plans for the new refurbished restaurant and bar which aims to attract extra businesses like a micro-brewery on site. A pub is the social hub of a rural village, and with the Fox in Garboldisham being closed for nearly a decade, I am sure the time is right for this local pub to become a community asset once more.

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