#BackBob

Bob Blizzard, Labour Candidate for Waveney

Bob's Updates

What a cheek! Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, the man who closed Blundeston Prison, came to Lowestoft last week and obviously hoped we'd forgotten all about it. He didn't mention the prison or utter a word of apology to our community or the hundreds of people who lost their jobs or who now have to travel considerable distances to other prisons to earn a living.

Just like David Cameron (who didn't mention the prison either), Mr Grayling and the leading local Tories seem to think that if they pose for self congratulatory photos and tell us we are doing well, then people will believe that they are not worse off than they were 5 years ago.

Mr Grayling specifically appeared because of worries about the closure of Lowestoft Magistrates Court. For some time now, magistrates have told me of their concern that the Lowestoft Court will be closed and merged with Gt Yarmouth. Despite his spin, it's notable that Grayling said he could not comment on the future of specific courts in Suffolk and Norfolk. Magistrates have told me they think reorganisation plans have been kicked into the long grass until after the election.

Finally, tiresome though it is, I have to respond again to the same old attack from Tory Councillor, Martin Parsons. As I've said before, when  was MP, unlike the current Tory Council Leaders and MP, I didn't spend my time talking about a replacement bridge, I campaigned for a third crossing. That's why I spoke about it in parliament within five weeks of being elected; and why I gathered a 15,000 signature in support of a third crossing; and why I got a feasibility study done by the Highways Agency in 2009.

Cllr Parsons conveniently ignores that nearly £4m was spent on a complete overhaul of the bascule bridge in 2008, that his own Leader, Cllr Law, recently stated in the Journal, will last at least another 20 years, exactly what the Highways Agency told a meeting I attended at the Town Hall. But those overhaul works brought the town to a standstill, so I said back then that we must have a third crossing in place long before another overhaul becomes due.

But despite all this, SCC would not promote a bid for a third crossing, because their 'Transport Strategy for Lowestoft to 2021' was all about walking, cycling and using buses, and stated that, "If the strategy realises its potential, then the need for further transport infrastructure may not be needed."

As the pressure has mounted, SCC have now shown that the process for obtaining a third crossing has to start with them as the local highway authority. It's just a tragedy that their leaders and the MP are so out of touch, they plumped for a new bridge next to the bascule bridge, instead of a central crossing, and called a public meeting to tell people that. Now, after being roasted by public opinion, they want to spend £2m on more studies to try to get themselves out of a hole, rather than actually listening to the overwhelming view of the people of Lowestoft.

LETTER TO THE LOWESTOFT JOURNAL - TORY MINISTER'S VISIT & CLLR PARSONS ATTACK

What a cheek! Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, the man who closed Blundeston Prison, came to Lowestoft last week and obviously hoped we'd forgotten all about it. He didn't mention the...

When Ed Miliband visited Lowestoft on 15th December, Bob Blizzard took him on the bascule bridge with Peter Colby. He said that:

"If a Labour government received a bid for a third crossing, we would support it"

On the day that the BBC broadcast John Humphrys' programme about Lowestoft, hope and the bridge, he interviewed Labour's Tessa Jowell on the Today Programme.

This is what she said:

MILIBAND'S COMMITMENT TO THIRD CROSSING CONFIRMED ON BBC RADIO 4 TODAY PROGRAMME

When Ed Miliband visited Lowestoft on 15th December, Bob Blizzard took him on the bascule bridge with Peter Colby. He said that: "If a Labour government received a bid for...

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I am supporting the Alzheimer's Society's Dementia Friend campaign. The aim is for one million people to become more aware of what dementia is for those who suffer from it.

It takes less than half an hour to learn more about dementia and what it means for those who have it. We can all benefit from knowing more, helping those who have it and overcoming stigma.

I became a dementia friend. Will you do so too?

DEMENTIA FRIENDS

I am supporting the Alzheimer's Society's Dementia Friend campaign. The aim is for one million people to become more aware of what dementia is for those who suffer from it....

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Today's Beccles & Bungay Journal covered Bob Blizzard's plan that would see household waste recycling return to Beccles at a minimal cost. Read more about the plan here.

BECCLES AND BUNGAY JOURNAL: BOB'S PLAN TO BRING BACK RECYCLING CENTRE

Today's Beccles & Bungay Journal covered Bob Blizzard's plan that would see household waste recycling return to Beccles at a minimal cost. Read more about the plan here.

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Suffolk County Council’s Lowestoft offices will be sold by public auction next week, but the guide price shows the sale will raise only a fraction of the £14m cost of new offices being built for SCC and WDC at Riverside Road.

Aldreds website is advertising the March 26th auction of the 14,000 square foot office complex next to Lowestoft Library at a guide price of £400-500k (unless previously sold). It is understood that no offer has yet been made.

SCC is due to vacate these offices when it moves, with WDC, into their new £14m offices later this year. WDC’s offices at the Town Hall have yet to be put on the market because the council has yet to decide what to do with them, following a public consultation last year.

Bob Blizzard said,

“Clearly the proceeds from the sale of SCC’s offices will not make much of a contribution to the huge cost of the new office complex. The Town Hall seems unlikely to raise much money either, because, as a listed building, it will be expensive for any developer to do anything with it. 

“People are still angry that the two Tory councils are spending so much taxpayers’ money on themselves, while they have cut and are cutting so many services, such as care of the elderly, grants to voluntary organisations and switching off the street lights.”

COUNCIL OFFICES TO GO UNDER THE HAMMER FOR A FRACTION OF COST OF NEW BUILDING

Suffolk County Council’s Lowestoft offices will be sold by public auction next week, but the guide price shows the sale will raise only a fraction of the £14m cost of...

Mike Holroyd's crossing survey, in Lowestoft Library, has found that Lowestoft people are united in their support for a central third crossing, as proposed by Bob Blizzard and Peter Colby.

Read more about the campaign for a third crossing here.

PEOPLE OF LOWESTOFT UNITED IN FAVOUR OF CENTRAL THIRD CROSSING

Mike Holroyd's crossing survey, in Lowestoft Library, has found that Lowestoft people are united in their support for a central third crossing, as proposed by Bob Blizzard and Peter Colby....

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Bob Blizzard is today announcing a proposal to bring back a household waste recycling centre to Beccles at minimal cost to users and low cost to the public purse. It would involve a nominal £1 charge per visit for a normal vehicle load of household waste, and a £5000 pa contribution from Suffolk County Council, rising to £25,000 pa if, as expected, the site becomes popular.

Beccles lost its household waste recycling centre opposite Morrisons in 2009 as a result of SCC cutbacks, saving the £162,000 annual operating cost of the site. Since then a facility has been available at B&B Skips at Ellough Industrial Estate, but at a cost of £4 a visit, which most people have been reluctant to pay.

Under Bob Blizzard’s new proposal, B&B Skips would continue to operate a service for householders at its site, but the charge would only be a nominal £1 per visit. The council would pay the landfill tax for non-recyclable waste, currently incurred by B&B Skips.

Bob Blizzard said,

“I have spoken to hundreds of people in Beccles over the past few years and the local issue most raised is the loss of the ‘householders dump’. People miss it greatly. It’s easy to see why. In its last year of operation, there were 70,000 visits to the old site (SCC figures), but now there are only 5500 visits pa to the householders’ facility at Ellough. People are driving further afield and queueing up at Lowestoft to dispose of rubbish, or sadly some are fly-tipping. A petition of 4000 signatures has been collected, asking for a Beccles householders’ waste recycling centre (‘dump’) to be restored.

“The present set up looks unsustainable and has only been operating because of the community mindedness of B&B Skips, who have been subsidising it. Recently, the company has had to reduce operating hours from 6 to 4 days a week (compared to the 7 day opening of the old site opposite Morrisons). So something needs to be done.

“Following discussions with B&B Skips, I am sending a new proposal to SCC. At current usage levels it would cost SCC £5000 pa to pay the landfill tax on unrecycled waste. The £1 a visit income would then be used by B&B Skips to operate the site. As the site became more popular again, income would rise over a period of time, as would landfill tax costs, to an estimated maximum cost to SCC of £25,000 a year.

“Even in a tough financial climate, this is not a huge sum for SCC and much cheaper than the previous £162,000 cost of the old site. Beccles is the largest town in Suffolk without its own HWRC and two centres that were retained handles smaller volumes of waste than Beccles. I hope SCC will value the people of Beccles and agree to this proposal. It is a measure of a civilised society that we keep ourselves clean. This will help prevent fly-tipping, evidence of which is all too available even within half a mile of the Ellough site."

PLAN TO RESTORE BECCLES HOUSEHOLD WASTE RECYCLING AT MINIMAL COST

Bob Blizzard is today announcing a proposal to bring back a household waste recycling centre to Beccles at minimal cost to users and low cost to the public purse. It...

Commenting on the news that Ormiston Denes Academy is now out of special measures, Bob Blizzard said:

“Well done to staff at Ormiston Denes for working their way out of special measures,” but added that the fact two high schools and other primary schools are still graded as inadequate “suggests there’s a deeper problem with education in Lowestoft”.

He added: “There needs to be an in-depth investigation into the underlying causes of underachievement in Lowestoft.”

He said Labour would propose a local director of school standards to support schools to raise standards, adding: “I don’t think it’s enough to look at individual schools in isolation.”

Responding to news that the government plans to open 500 more free schools, Tristram Hunt, Labour's Shadow Education Secretary has said more free schools will "damage standards". Read more here.  

BOB CALLS FOR LOWESTOFT SCHOOLS INVESTIGATION

Commenting on the news that Ormiston Denes Academy is now out of special measures, Bob Blizzard said: “Well done to staff at Ormiston Denes for working their way out of...

It’s clear to me, from the public meeting and everyone I speak to, that there is unity amongst the people of Lowestoft in favour of a third crossing in the central location and against the nonsensical Tory proposal to locate a new bridge next to the bascule bridge. Those who live and work here know from their daily experience that such a bridge would solve nothing, and if it ever happened, would end up with the existing bridge being removed next time it needed an overhaul, leaving only a replacement bridge, not a third crossing.

It is interesting that for some time before the consultants’ report was published, the leaflets I received through my letter box from Waveney’s MP referred to a ‘new bridge’ or ‘new crossing’, rather than the term ‘third crossing’ which everyone has used for many years. Similarly, in his ‘hotseat’ session on Radio Suffolk, Cllr Law studiously used the term ‘alternative crossing’ rather than third crossing.

They have made the mistake of not consulting the people. Putting up a few display boards at the back of a hall for a couple of days is not good enough and it only elicited 175 responses. But even then, only 8 of those opted for the so-called eastern crossing. They also made the mistake of not properly consulting businesses. To accept the view of only 11 businesses (including ABP) from 13 selected companies (mainly port related), as the voice of business in Lowestoft, is quite ridiculous. If you ignore what people want and what the town needs, you are bound to end up with a room full of angry people at a public meeting.

In carrying on regardless, The Tory MP and Council Leaders are trotting out benefit/cost ratio figures. But the figures for their proposal do not include the huge cost of purchasing and demolishing all the buildings on Commercial Road to make way for a new road back along the north side of the ‘river’ to reach the point where a central crossing could be built! And their figures exaggerate the cost of a central crossing, by basing them on an expensive high level bridge, rather than the lower cost Peter Colby proposal that was never properly examined.

The feasibility study that I got the Highways Agency to commission in 2009 showed a benefit/cost ratio for a central crossing that is more favourable than that calculated for the HS2 high speed rail project!

In desperation, the Tories argued that they don’t want to damage Lowestoft town centre by taking traffic away from it. But if journeys to somewhere other than the town centre are not forced to pass through the town centre, they will free up the bascule bridge for people who do want to use the town centre and might even attract back many of those in south Lowestoft who have given up shopping in the town centre and go to Beccles instead.

If the Tories are so concerned about the town centre, why are they moving out all the council staff who spend money in the town centre to the new £14million offices being built on a site that was meant to be available to attract new businesses to the town?

 

LETTER TO LOWESTOFT JOURNAL - THIRD CROSSING

It’s clear to me, from the public meeting and everyone I speak to, that there is unity amongst the people of Lowestoft in favour of a third crossing in the...

THIRD CROSSING LEAFLET - JAN 2015

Read Bob's leaflet on the third crossing. Find out more about the campaign for a third crossing here.

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