#BackBob

Bob Blizzard, Labour Candidate for Waveney

Bob's Updates

DSC_3627.jpgBob Blizzard and Caroline Flint MP, shadow energy and climate change secretary

From the Lowestoft Journal:

More must be done to realise the potential of the offshore wind energy sector in Lowestoft, Labour’s shadow energy and climate change secretary said on a visit to the town.

After looking around Lowestoft’s 140 turbine, 500MW Greater Gabbard wind farm, Caroline Flint said the town had a “amazing natural asset” on its doorstep - but said:

“The potential is there to do much more.

“We have not yet realised the capacity we can gain from offshore wind energy in this country. We are apparently the windiest country in Europe.

“We are already a world leader in offshore and there is some fantastic work going on in Lowestoft in creating jobs, but we really have yet to realise the potential that is there.

“I am determined if Labour are elected on May 7, we will get to the place we should be in terms of realising these fantastic assets we have in the country.”

After being given a tour of the base on her visit yesterday (Thursday, January 29) which included seeing the control room and the Orbis Energy Centre, Mrs Flint said:

“We are going to set a target to reduce as much carbon as possible from our electricity by 2030.

“That is important for Lowestoft because we are getting behind clean energy and offshore wind is a big part of that.

“Part of what we want to achieve is to reduce our carbon emissions but also to make sure we can source new forms of energy that is cleaner but also can help kick start industries that will provide jobs all over our country.”

 

Read: GOVERNMENT RETHINK NEEDED TO SAVE LOWESTOFT'S OFFSHORE WIND PROSPECTS

LABOUR WILL REALISE LOWESTOFT'S POTENTIAL IN OFFSHORE WIND

Bob Blizzard and Caroline Flint MP, shadow energy and climate change secretary From the Lowestoft Journal: More must be done to realise the potential of the offshore wind energy sector in...

I can assure Cllr Bee (Postbox Jan 16th) that I have read every page of the report his council commissioned on a Lowestoft Third Crossing. One doesn't have to read very far to work out that, with the town cut in two by Lake Lothing, and with a distance of two miles between the two existing bridges, it makes no sense to locate a new bridge next to the bascule bridge.

This would not draw traffic away from the congested area of the town centre, created by traffic still being funnelled there to cross the 'river'. The consultants told us this at the meeting I attended at the town hall. It would also mean both the new bridge and the bascule bridge being lifted simultaneously for EVERY boat wishing to pass, thus maximising the disruption to the daily life of our town.

The only reason given in the report for this nonsense is that, of the 13 businesses consulted (why were so few consulted?) 11 of them, including ABP, believed that the almost empty inner harbour west of the grain silo would be badly affected by putting a third crossing in a more sensible location.

These same businesses want the bascule bridge taken away to widen the entrance to the inner harbour, if and when the proposed new bridge is built in 20 years time. It's also obvious that the Highways Agency would no longer repair or maintain the bascule bridge if there were a new bridge beside it.

This is why the 'new' bridge proposed by the Conservative Council Leaders and MP is not a third crossing, but just a replacement bridge. It betrays the aspirations of the people of Lowestoft and simply ignores the needs of many hundreds of small businesses who just want to be able to get around the town to do their daily work.

A close reading of the report reveals a number of other flaws. For example, the bridge over the railway line to connect with the Rotterdam Road/Peto Way roundabout, shown in Cllr Bee's drawing, is EXACTLY the same bridge proposed in Peter Colby's scheme. Yet the report says Peter's proposal does not work because a road cannot get up and over the railway line! This proves that his plan was never properly considered.

But Cllr Bee's drawing makes the case for a centrally located crossing. A bridge over the railway line just to the south of Rotterdam Road cries out to be connected to the Asda/Lings roundabout directly opposite on the other side of the 'river', instead of traffic being routed on the long detour down to the bascule bridge and back again! A crossing in this central location would also only rarely see boats pass through.

The Conservatives say their report is independent, yet when Peter Colby invited the consultants to his last meeting to listen to local people, they said they had to get permission from their paymasters, Suffolk County Council, and they didn't attend. Peter and I are holding another meeting on January 28th at 7pm at the Victoria Hotel so that once again local people can come and have their say. I'm sure they will.

REPLY TO CLLR MARK BEE ON THIRD CROSSING

I can assure Cllr Bee (Postbox Jan 16th) that I have read every page of the report his council commissioned on a Lowestoft Third Crossing. One doesn't have to read...

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In Parliament on Thursday, Labour raised concerns about cuts to local mental health services in Waveney. During a debate on the importance of mental health care provision Lord Bradley, Labour Shadow Health Minister highlighted the work of local campaigners and Bob Blizzard, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate in Waveney, to protect these essential services and prevent the closure of much needed hospital beds.

Lord Bradley said,

“NHS spending on mental health services has fallen in real terms each year from 2011 to date.

This is putting services under great pressure, leading to disinvestment in effective interventions, placing extra pressure on hospital beds.

It is even leading to bed closures where there is often already underprovision.

Local campaigns, such as those in Waveney and other areas of the country, have been initiated to protect vital local mental health services.”

He further pressed the Minister when he said,

“I would be grateful for the Minister’s views on that situation, as well as for his view on the Royal College of Nursing’s view that there are now 3,300 fewer posts in mental health nursing and 1,500 fewer beds than in 2010.”

 

CONCERNS ABOUT CUTS TO WAVENEY MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES RAISED IN PARLIAMENT

In Parliament on Thursday, Labour raised concerns about cuts to local mental health services in Waveney. During a debate on the importance of mental health care provision Lord Bradley, Labour...

The government will not be providing additional money to avoid bed closures at Carlton Court, a reply to Bob Blizzard, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Waveney, has confirmed.

In December, Bob wrote to Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, when an extra £2billion funding was announced for the NHS by the Chancellor. He asked for some of the money to be allocated for Carlton Court to avoid the planned closure of the acute, in-patient adult ward with the loss of 20 beds and Lowestoft and Waveney patients being forced to go to Northgate Hospital in Yarmouth for treatment.

The reply from Jeremy Hunt's office completely evades the question of allocating some of the extra cash. It maintains that the ward closure is a matter for the local Trust and confirms that the closure will go ahead.

Bob Blizzard said,

"The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust is closing adult and dementia beds at Carlton Court in response to the government's demand for a 20% budget reduction over 4 years. It's a bit rich for Jeremy Hunt to say that it's just a matter for local health administrators. With no share of the extra money, Waveney has again been ignored by the government.

"We will be going back to the situation that existed before I secured, as MP, the funding to build new in-patient mental health faciities at Carlton Court. Suffolk's second largest town will have no beds for people who suffer acute mental ill health."

NO NEW FUNDING TO SAVE CARLTON COURT

The government will not be providing additional money to avoid bed closures at Carlton Court, a reply to Bob Blizzard, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Waveney, has confirmed. In December, Bob...

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Lake Lothing is a barrier which divides Lowestoft and creates a dysfunctional road network. People who live and work here have long known that we need a third crossing to create a more normal transport system, get the town moving and become more prosperous.

With two miles between the two existing bridges, it makes no sense to locate a new bridge next to the bascule bridge. Both bridges would be lifted together for every boat. Traffic would still be funnelled to the same place to cross the 'river' and would still clog up the town centre even if it doesn't want to go there, continuing to create the tailbacks that put people off from shopping in Lowestoft.

Anyone looking across Lake Lothing from the roundabout between Asda and Lings, at the northern end of the South Lowestoft Relief Road, would conclude this is the obvious location for a third crossing, to join up with the roundabout the other side at the end of the Northern Spine Road, as first envisaged in town plans in the 1960s. Why persist with the long detour, with long tailbacks, round to a location next to the bascule bridge to cross the water?

Only one reason is given by those proposing this nonsense. They say a central crossing would sever the port and take away quayside, prefering instead to see the whole town continue to be severed in two by the lack of a proper third crossing.

The reality today is that very few commercial boats use the port west of the grain silo, so a central crossing would rarely need to open. The northern quayside required for a third crossing is hardly ever used, and boats could still turn around if the south side was dredged. Most boats in the western harbour are rotting hulks. Our proposed barrage crossing would inconvenience very few vessels - insignificant to what businesses suffer from the lack of a third crossing.

We're told there are 1100 jobs at the port! Wherever they may be, they're not in the inner harbour west of our crossing. We can all see that. Wind farm companies use the outer harbour. ABP has always objected to a third crossing to protect the interests of its shareholders. What's unacceptable is for today's decision makers, SCC, WDC and MP, to put these shareholders before the local people they're elected to represent.

The people of Lowestoft are being ignored. The 'consultation' only involved 175 people, of whom only 8 wanted an 'eastern crossing'. The many hundreds of Lowestoft businesses who just want to be able to move around the town normally have been ignored. Only 11 selected, port related companies expressed support for this option.

But worst of all, there is another reason for nonsensically wanting to locate a new bridge next to the bascule bridge. That is to remove the bascule bridge when they hope to construct that new bridge in 20 years time. That's why the MP and Council Leaders use the words 'new crossing' not third crossing like everyone else. The so called 'eastern crossing' isn't a third crossing. It's a betrayal of what people want. The location for a real third crossing is where we propose.

Bob Blizzard and Peter Colby

THE CASE FOR A CENTRAL THIRD CROSSING, NOT JUST A REPLACEMENT BRIDGE

Lake Lothing is a barrier which divides Lowestoft and creates a dysfunctional road network. People who live and work here have long known that we need a third crossing to...

We pledge that a Labour government will not allow Suffolk’s children to be forgotten. 

There is no good reason why our young people should not fulfil their potential, wherever they live and whatever their family circumstances.

Reading is key to the future success of our children and young people and it is time to take action.

IT'S TIME TO TAKE ACTION OVER READING IN SCHOOLS

We pledge that a Labour government will not allow Suffolk’s children to be forgotten. There is no good reason why our young people should not fulfil their potential, wherever they live...

Yet again, we have come off worst from a local government announcement. 

We got nothing out of the roads announcement and no new money from the floods announcement - now we have got the worst possible local government settlement.

CUTS 'FAR WORSE THAN ELSEWHERE'

Yet again, we have come off worst from a local government announcement. We got nothing out of the roads announcement and no new money from the floods announcement - now we...

Responding to news that Conservatives prefer a new Lake Lothing crossing immediately next to the Bascule bridge, Bob Blizzard, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Waveney, said:

“I think nearly everybody in Lowestoft will feel that this is the wrong choice to put a third crossing near to the existing crossing.

“It is simply not the solution to the problem. It will still mean that the traffic will pile up in Station Square.”

He added:

“My main point is, that by positioning this in the eastern location, I think they are planning to take the Bascule bridge away. Then it actually negates having a third crossing.

“I think the central location is the obvious one for nearly everybody I know. It links the South Lowestoft Relief Road to the northern spine road.”

Mr Blizzard said it was wrong to focus on the impact of the crossing on the port.

“You have got to think of the whole town,” he said, “Not just the port.

“The port employs very few people compared to thousands of people trying to go about their daily lives in Lowestoft. At the moment they can’t do their business properly because of the lack of a third crossing.

“What they have been offered is no solution at all and a complete misunderstanding of the town and people of Lowestoft.

“By putting this view of ABP above all else, the people of Lowestoft are being sacrificed that is a pale shadow of what it used to be.” 

 

Read: I wonder why Tories deliberately avoid using the term "third crossing"

I THINK NEARLY EVERYBODY IN LOWESTOFT WILL FEEL THAT THIS IS THE WRONG CHOICE

Responding to news that Conservatives prefer a new Lake Lothing crossing immediately next to the Bascule bridge, Bob Blizzard, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Waveney, said: “I think nearly everybody...

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In his phone-in programme on Radio Suffolk last week, Council Leader, Colin Law told listeners that the third crossing proposal supported by Peter Colby and myself is being considered. He insisted on this, despite being challenged on air by Peter Colby.

It is hard for us to believe our proposal is under consideration. Firstly, because it was not one of the four options on display at an exhibition organised by WDC and SCC at the Elderly People's Club earlier this year. People who came along to register their support for the barrage proposal had to write it down as a comment, as it was not one of the boxes available to be chosen and ticked.

Secondly, WDC Deputy Leader, Stephen Ardley has repeatedly ruled our proposal out in his comments on 'Streetlife' local social network site. For example, "The council are not promoting the barrage idea and do not support it."

Throughout the broadcast, it was interesting that Cllr Law persistently used the term 'alternative' crossing. I note also that in his leaflets, MP Peter Aldous uses the term 'new' crossing. I wonder why they deliberately avoid using the term 'third crossing' that everybody else uses and which has always been used. This suggests they support just a replacement for the bascule bridge, rather than an additional crossing - a third crossing. Conservative councillors past and present have been writing to the Journal proposing exactly this.

Yet Cllr Law confirmed that the Highways Agency is confident that the bascule bridge has at least 20 years more life in it. So, with no plans for any kind of crossing (except a footbridge beside the bascule bridge) until after 2025, and no funding even hinted at in the recently announced 10 year roads programme, it would appear that Conservative thinking is limited to no more than a replacement for the bascule bridge some time towards the end of the next 20 years.

Finally, Cllr Law again made the Conservatives' customary political attack that no third crossing had been achieved when I was MP. I repeat again that during that time SCC never promoted a bid for funding. No bid = no crossing. A bid was made for the South Lowestoft Relief Road and I delivered £30 million from the Labour government, the largest ever public investment in Lowestoft. We now need an urgent bid for a third crossng, not a replacement for the bascule bridge.

LETTER TO LOWESTOFT JOURNAL ON WDC LEADER COLIN LAW

In his phone-in programme on Radio Suffolk last week, Council Leader, Colin Law told listeners that the third crossing proposal supported by Peter Colby and myself is being considered. He...

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Bob Blizzard, local Labour General Election candidate for Waveney has pledged to support local pubs and breweries.

The three pledges are highlighted in the Manifesto for Pubs and Real Ale by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, which sets out a package of reforms they are seeking from the next Government. These important pledges are to: 

  • Support well-run community pubs
  • Promote Britain's breweries
  • Represent pub goers and beer drinkers.

Tim Page, CAMRA’s Chief Executive welcomed Bob’s support, saying: 

“We are delighted that Bob has pledged their support for pubs, breweries and consumers. As, on average, 31 pubs close each week it is absolutely vital that our elected representatives recognise and champion the value of these important community assets, and work to protect them. 

“CAMRA is urging the next Government to act to ensure that pubs are better protected in the planning system, that large pub companies treat their licensees fairly and that beer duty is set at a level which supports UK brewing.”

Bob added: 

“I am proud to be speaking up for pubs and real ale. Well-run community pubs play a crucial role in local life and make a huge contribution to the local economy – with each injecting around £80,000 to the local area every year.

If elected, I will continue to show my support in Parliament.” 

BOB PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR LOCAL PUBS AND BREWERS

Bob Blizzard, local Labour General Election candidate for Waveney has pledged to support local pubs and breweries. The three pledges are highlighted in the Manifesto for Pubs and Real Ale...

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