From the Lowestoft Journal:
Lowestoft’s age-old status as a fishing port is being swept away in the drive to promote new offshore energy businesses, it was claimed this week.
The town’s last remaining fishermen and merchants insist Lowestoft still has a viable fishing industry – but say restrictions imposed by the harbour’s owner Associated British Ports (ABP) are stifling future growth.
Earlier this month, energy giants SSE and RWE Innogy announced plans to make the port of Lowestoft the operations and maintenance base for the new Galloper wind farm.
The proposals will see the remainder of the fish market building – which is still home to three merchants – redeveloped and converted.
ABP is now in negotiation with two of the merchants, William Masterson and Sons and BFP Fish Selling Company, while a third, L G Roberts, will be relocating to another premises in the port within a few weeks.
BFP’s director June Mummery has vowed to stay on the site, arguing that there is enough room for the fish market and the wind farm companies to exist side by side. She is backed by local fishermen, who say ABP is trying to kill off their industry by charging high fees to moor at Hamilton Dock.
However, ABP says the fishing industry has declined and the port now needs to seek new sources of income.
Mrs Mummery called a meeting at BFP last week to discuss the future of the fish market. It was attended by more than 20 people including local fishermen and merchants, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate Bob Blizzard, Colin Gooding, of the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and UKIP county councillors Bill Mountford, Derek Hackett and Bert Poole. Mrs Mummery told the meeting that about 250 fishermen regularly sold their catches at BFP’s “shout auction” and about 150 of those were from the local area.
She said she hoped to negotiate with SSE and RWE to try to find a way for the companies and fish market to exist side by side.
Mr Blizzard pledged his support to BFP and said ABP was “waging a war of attrition” against the fishing industry.
He agreed to investigate the terms of a European grant, which was used to develop the fish market in 1987 and might restrict redevelopment of the site.
He stressed he welcomed the wind farm companies’ investment but said there were acres of land with water frontage around Lowestoft and it was not necessary to push the fishing industry out.
From the Lowestoft Journal: Lowestoft’s age-old status as a fishing port is being swept away in the drive to promote new offshore energy businesses, it was claimed this week. The...
Waveney District Council Leader, Cllr Colin Law, is being urged to put jobs first, listen to local people and think again before finalising the future of the former Sanyo site in Lowestoft. Commercial property specialist, Peter Colby, believed he had agreed a £2.4 million purchase of the site from Sanyo to create a mix of industrial units and new housing, but WDC stepped in to buy the site at the same price for housing development only. A packed public meeting of about 250 people late last year, which Cllr Law was unable to attend, expressed unanimous opposition to the council’s Area Action Plan which designates the Sanyo site for housing.
Visiting the site to check that buildings have not yet been demolished, Peter Colby said, “I know that many of the buildings could be renovated and re-used to create 400 jobs on this site, with housing on the rest of the land, and I am prepared to invest £2.4 million (and more) of my own money to make it happen. Cllr Law said he would hold his own public meeting about the AAP and I call upon him to do so before the buildings are demolished.”
Bob Blizzard said,
“Everyone knows how badly we need jobs in Lowestoft. I just can’t understand how the council can turn away £2.4 million of job creating private investment. To lose these viable industrial buildings forever would be a tragedy. Everyone I’ve spoken to would prefer jobs and housing rather than just housing.”
Tod Sullivan, Leader of the Labour Group on WDC, said,
“At last full Council I asked Cllr Law if he would include job creation in all his plans for the town. He should put that into practice now with the Sanyo site.”
Cllr Sullivan will pursue this at the next meeting of the full Council.
Waveney District Council Leader, Cllr Colin Law, is being urged to put jobs first, listen to local people and think again before finalising the future of the former Sanyo site...
I would like to correct things that a couple of readers wrote about me in last week’s letters page.
Bernie Guymer said that when I was MP I did not manage to convince the Dept of Transport to provide funding for a third crossing. I only wish I had had the opportunity to do so, but in those 13 years, our local highway authority, Suffolk County Council, never promoted the scheme and a bid for a third crossing was never submitted to government for funding. Ministers can only take decisions on schemes that are drawn up and submitted to the Dept of Transport. Active promotion by the local highway authority is an absolute requirement.
I did try to get SCC to promote a third crossing and I raised a 15,000 signature petition in support, but we were up against the mentality that is about to spend £5 million on a pointless foot/cycle bridge next to the bascule bridge. This is the cornerstone of SCC’s ‘Transport Strategy for Lowestoft to 2021’ which, based on cycling, walking and buses, states that, “if the strategy realises its potential, then the need for further transport infrastructure may not be needed.”
We were up against the same mentality that saw SCC initially refuse to cooperate with a third crossing feasibility study that I did persuade the Minister to authorise and fund in 2008. It was this same mentality that did nothing with the study when it was completed in 2009, even though the study concluded that the benefit cost ratio of a third crossing was higher than that currently calculated for the HS2 high speed rail project.
That same mentality last week saw the ruling Tory councillors refuse to include money in SCC’s budget for 2014/15 for the new feasibility study that they were pushed into agreeing to carry out at a recent council meeting.
When it was Labour led, SCC did submit a scheme to government for the South Lowestoft Relief Road, and I secured £30 million for this vital new road that provides a modern route to where a third crossing is needed to link it to the Northern Spine Road.
I should also say that, like Bernie, I support Peter Colby’s third crossing/flood barrage proposal. That’s why I chaired both the public meetings he held and why I print this on all my leaflets.
Finally, John Thompson said I didn’t oppose the de-trunking of the A12. In fact I wrote to the Minister, opposing detrunking, and followed up with a meeting which was publicised. But SCC wanted to take over the road. They said they wanted to improve it, but all they have done is to extend village speed limits into open countryside, making the journey between Lowestoft and Ipswich even slower and reduce the opportunity to overtake slow moving vehicles.
We have, for many years, been let down by Tory controlled SCC. That’s one reason why Lowestoft people voted out all 8 of their councillors last May. The problem is that they still have a majority across Suffolk.
I would like to correct things that a couple of readers wrote about me in last week’s letters page. Bernie Guymer said that when I was MP I did not...
Photo: James Bass
Why you need to take part in the consultation now taking place.
- The total number of acute in-patient beds in our area will reduce from 42 to 20
- There are not enough acute adult beds to meet demand now - patients are regularly sent out of area at massive cost to the NHS and huge inconvenience to families.
- The total bed loss at Carlton Court could be 39 (nearly all the mental health beds) - it will no longer be viable.
- New mental health facilities at Carlton Court were only opened 6 years ago - closure will be a waste of resources.
Photo: James Bass Why you need to take part in the consultation now taking place. The total number of acute in-patient beds in our area will reduce from 42 to...
Photo: James Bass
From the Lowestoft Journal:
A proposal that could see one of the Lowestoft area’s biggest employers move out of the town was this week challenged by the shadow chancellor.
Ed Balls said the government should scrap a review over the future of the Centre for Environment, Aquaculture and Fisheries Science (Cefas) site at Pakefield as moving it would be a “false economy”.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is looking at several options for the Cefas headquarters because, it says, it is costly to maintain and will not support operations long into the future. One could see Cefas relocated – along with hundreds of staff – to the Norwich Research Park at Colney.
Yesterday, Mr Balls was shown the Cefas site by Bob Blizzard, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Waveney.
Standing outside the building in Pakefield Road, which has been home to Cefas since 1955, Mr Balls demanded the government prove that closing the site would be a good use of resources.
“We have got here a world class research institute, which is specialising by the sea in marine technology.
“It is a very important part of the Lowestoft economy.
“Is the government really looking properly at the impact, the economic impact, of moving jobs from here?
“Because I think, if you look at this with a proper economic analysis, you will find it will end up costing money, rather than saving money.
“Because to transfer jobs away from Lowestoft, that ends up with those jobs going permanently without new jobs coming in – a rise in unemployment, the wider economic impact on the town. If this ends up costing the exchequer money, that is a completely false economy.
“Our challenge to David Cameron, and to the environment secretary, is show us you are really making savings because I think Bob is right – this is likely to cost money, rather than save money.”
“My advice to the environment secretary is to think again.”
As of last April, the Cefas building had a workforce of 422, along with 41 people working for other organisations. They carry out a wide range of marine-based activities including fish stock studies, oceanographic and environmental surveys, climate change reports and examining issues around dredging and the offshore industry.
The site is also the national headquarters of Cefas, which has several sites around the UK, and its research vessel Endeavour, which has accommodation for 16 crew and 19 scientists, is based at Lowestoft port.
Mr Blizzard said he was pleased the shadow chancellor’s visit had made him aware of the potential impact the government’s economic plan was having on the local economy.
“As a direct government act, Blundeston prison was closed, taking away 500 jobs out of the local economy. On a smaller scale, we are losing jobs from the mental health services.
“But the big threat, which would be total disaster for the town and the area, is this place (Cefas). These people are not bureaucrats, they are scientists and it is a very important government research facility, employing 450 people. It is part of Lowestoft.”
Photo: James Bass From the Lowestoft Journal: A proposal that could see one of the Lowestoft area’s biggest employers move out of the town was this week challenged by the...
Photo from ITV
No plan, programme or budget for flood prevention works in Lowestoft currently exists. This stark reality is revealed in a response from the Environment Agency to Bob Blizzard, following his enquiry. Bob wrote to the Environment Agency following the flooding experienced by residential and commercial properties in central Lowestoft and Oulton Broad from the sea surge of last December.
The letter from the Environment Agency says that the Suffolk Flood Risk Management Partnership, which includes itself, Suffolk County Council and Waveney District Council, “are looking to undertake a flood risk management study for Lowestoft in 2014/15 to assess options to reduce flood risk from all sources of flooding. The preferred options from this study will be taken forward to seek funding from Flood Defence Grant in Aid.”
Bob Blizzard said:
“There is no timescale here at all for Lowestoft to be protected – it’s just not acceptable. It means we will have to wait years before anything is actually in place. It’s a reflection of the cuts to the Environment Agency’s Anglian Eastern capital spend in each year since the current government came to power, from £33.44m in 2009/10 to £29.70m in 2012/13.
“Last December, Waveney DC published a drawing from its ‘Infrastructure Prospectus’ which made it look as though a plan had been drawn up. I thought it looked a bit fishy, so I wrote to the EA. The truth is that the WDC ‘plan’ is no more than a cartoon in a booklet that has little more status than a comic. We currently have nothing to stop the sea from surging into Lake Lothing and repeating what it did in December or to stop river flooding at Oulton Broad.
“Peter Colby and I have been calling for a flood barrage/third river crossing for some years now. With floods taking hold of the country and the terrible experience our community suffered in December, it’s even more important that this is progressed urgently.”
Photo from ITV No plan, programme or budget for flood prevention works in Lowestoft currently exists. This stark reality is revealed in a response from the Environment Agency to Bob...
Photo: Nick Butcher
From the Eastern Daily Press:
Campaigners against plans to open a fourth Tesco store in the Lowestoft area have agreed to step up their campaign by submitting an application to turn the Tramway hotel and pub in Pakefield into a community asset.
The move follows a meeting of the Pakefield Opposing Tesco (POT) group on Saturday where it was decided that in order to protect the landmark building from being turned into a Tesco Express, an application should be submitted to Waveney District Council to prove that the building was an asset of community value.
One resident said:
“I feel that with a bit of management and a facelift the Tramways could be part of the community again.
“If we apply to turn it into a community asset then we’ve got six months to come up with a plan and think about what we want to do with it.”
The application by Tesco to extend the Victorian pub in London Road, was due to be voted on by Waveney District Council in January, but a decision has now been deferred until March 18, to give councillors time for a site visit and to allow a traffic assessment to be conducted.
The meeting, chaired by Bob Blizzard, chairman of POT and Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Waveney, was attended by more than 130 residents who fear that the creation of a Tesco Express will increase traffic and noise problems and take trade away from the existing shops who have served the community for a number of years.
However last month the district council’s development control committee was told by planning officers that the two single-storey rear extensions should be approved, and that Tesco did not need change of use planning permission to convert the pub into a store because it was not a hotel.
Mr Blizzard said:
“This is what I now see as a three-step campaign. We have to succeed in getting the council to insist that Tesco needs to apply for change of use.
“We need to stop the immediate application for extensions to the building to facilitate it being a shop, and if Tesco does have to apply for change of use we need to make sure that the council turns it down.
“We all know that the Tramway is a hotel. It opened as a hotel in the beginning of the 20th century, it has always been advertised as a hotel and it says it is a hotel about five times on various parts of the building. At the very least it is a mixed use of guest house and a pub and the law is very clear on that guest houses have to have planning permission to turn into a shop.”
As well as applying to turn the building into a community asset, residents have volunteered to carry out their own traffic survey and will be working with an expert in measuring sound to determine the impact the shop would have on noise levels.
Mr Blizzard added:
“It is important to present real evidence that we can collect locally. This is a spontaneous and genuinely-felt campaign and if we can keep going like this, gathering more momentum and getting more and more people on board, spreading the word and putting up posters, then it’s looking like we will succeed.”
Photo: Nick Butcher From the Eastern Daily Press: Campaigners against plans to open a fourth Tesco store in the Lowestoft area have agreed to step up their campaign by submitting...
Local people are being urged to turn out in force to a public meeting on Saturday February 8th at 10am at Pakefield Church Hall, organised by Pakefield Opposing Tesco. The aim is to step up the campaign against Tesco turning the Tramway Hotel into a shop. There will be updates on traffic and noise surveys being carried out by local residents. The matter will now be considered by Waveney District Council’s Planning Committee in March, not February as previously expected.
Meanwhile big question marks have emerged over the legal advice given by barristers engaged by Tesco and Waveney District Council who confounded local people by saying the Tramway is not a hotel.
- Neither barrister or their staff or Tesco actually visited the Tramway to view the accommodation.
- The barrister engaged by Waveney District Council was paid £675 – equivalent to just a couple of hours work - not a very thorough job.
- Their reports that the Tramway has no separate entrance to the accommodation is factually incorrect.
Bob Blizzard, Pakefied Opposing Tesco Chair, said:
“It’s now clear that the barrister’s opinion obtained by Waveney District Council is not worth the paper it’s written on and Tesco are just coming up with an argument that suits them. In any case these reports are just opinions, not law. There is no body of case law which proves that a premises like the Tramway is just a pub with ancillary accommodation. The Tramway has always been advertised as a hotel ever since it opened at the beginning of last century. At the very least it’s a mixed use of guest house and pub – which requires planning permission for change of use to a shop.
“Our campaign is having an effect, but there is still a good way to go.”
Local people are being urged to turn out in force to a public meeting on Saturday February 8th at 10am at Pakefield Church Hall, organised by Pakefield Opposing Tesco. The aim is...
People in Lowestoft and Waveney are being urged to show their opposition to proposed huge cuts to local mental health services at Carlton Court hospital by attending a protest rally before the Health East Consultation Meeting on February 13that the United Reformed Church, London Road North, Lowestoft. People are asked to turn up at 5.30pm.
Bob Blizzard said:
“These plans are fundamentally flawed. They want to cut the number of in-patient beds when the current numbers have been shown time and time again to be inadequate to meet patient need. Patients are having to be sent out of area, accommodated in expensive private beds, or sometimes just turned away.
“Since I exposed these plans 15 months ago, I have been contacted by patients and family members and told of case after case where patients have suffered. One Lowestoft man, who was referred for urgent help by his GP, was denied a bed and told they were all full. Tragically he committed suicide a few days later. Only 10 days ago a severely ill and dangerous patient could not be accommodated anywhere in Suffolk or Norfolk and was sent to Harlow at a cost of £650 a day with a £600 cost for secure transport.
“The Trust always said the need for acute beds would decrease, but their own staff are seeing no evidence of this. This is all about complying with David Cameron’s demand for a 20% budget reduction to meet his economic plan.
“Wards for elderly people and the day centre have already been closed at Carlton Court. If more cuts go ahead, there will be little left and a very new, state of the art hospital will go to waste. It’s a scandal.”
People in Lowestoft and Waveney are being urged to show their opposition to proposed huge cuts to local mental health services at Carlton Court hospital by attending a protest rally...
Bob Blizzard was on BBC Sunday Politics this week, where he talked about Flooding, Council Funding and Council Services.
If you missed the programme, you can watch it here:
Bob Blizzard was on BBC Sunday Politics this week, where he talked about Flooding, Council Funding and Council Services. If you missed the programme, you can watch it here: