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Councillor Notes June 2014

Richard Bird

As I am no longer a Town Councillor I was not invited to a meeting outlining the proposed site for what now is 169 homes adjacent to the Manor fields estate (Bennett's) The plan I have been subsequently shown looks good on paper and if allowed to go forward could enhance the A149 entry to the town significantly.

Something that is passionate to my heart is that our domestic rates, currently the second highest in the Boro', are controlled and indeed reduced, the proposed developments here and elsewhere in the Town will do just that, the current burden of costs could be reduced having the effect of lower amounts to each Hunstanton household. Issues like special expenses for ongoing grass cutting, play area maintenance and other issues are better being dealt with now as part of the planning approval, if it goes ahead.

The Issues at Norfolk County Council, include the introduction of 'The committee system' The chap UKIP Councillor Paul Smyth (RAF squadron leader – retired) was exemplary in his chairmanship of the working party, He advised me, as one of the W/P, that we had spent 600 hrs in office and another 400 on research and travel time totalling some 1000 hours over 4 months that works out at about the same as a normal job (35 hours P/W) for 6 months a mammoth task achieved.

The Incinerator will not go away, having won the vote to get rid of it, The Boro Council, after a proposal from Independent member Cllr Paul Foster, decided to offer to buy the land from N.C.C. that way, it was considered, the opportunities for future waste site development could be controlled locally, as far as I know we, all Boro' Councillors thought this a good idea, and supported it. The problem is the NCC don't want to sell it to the Boro'. Reasons given about, open market price, the site being worth more with planning permission and others all sounded very hollow, the question I and colleagues are asking is "what’s the real reason?"

We then come on to financing the compensation; many cuts have already been imposed on the residents of Norfolk £169 millions of savings over 3 years was, and is, a hard 'pill to swallow', now we all have to find approximately £30m on top, almost immediately, this has proven very difficult. At the time of writing the last £1m of the £30m has come down to two options. Option 1 cut the cost of repairing highways (potholes etc) by approx. £900k with further cuts on the library service of £100k.

The alternative, option 2, is even more contentious, especially for those of us that live by the coast. I will try to explain but forgive me if it gets difficult. About 2 years ago domestic rates on homes designated as second or holiday use dwellings had a price change; up until then they had enjoyed a 50% discount off of the standard charges. The discount was then reduced to 5% so they now have to pay 95% of the standard fee. I make no comment
on this in this issue. The levies raised in this exercise are to be split between the County and the Districts or Boro's. As you would expect most second homes are by the sea side and the Boro' of KLWN is the second highest beneficiary, North Norfolk District Council the
biggest, this years promised amount was £785K from NCC to KLWN, are you with me so far? Now the understanding was that these monies would be spent 'LOCALLY' the management and controlling party at the Boro' say that LOCALLY means the Boro as a whole, I am in the minority in suggesting that the specific needs of the coastal region within the Boro' should receive a substantial percentage of this levy not least because this is where the revenue is raised, I have no space to outline all of these but hope to in future editions. In the Boro's defence it says that of the £785K it has already allocated £600K towards, amongst other things, monies towards the dementia programme and school improvement plans. These things do help the coastal region but not specifically. Of the £185k left the Boro has committed its proportion of the coastal defences including the beach re-charge at Heacham, some £50K. Now here's the problem, NCC now wants to change the amount promised from £785k downwards to about £385k reducing the amounts given up from NCC to the Boro's and districts by 60% these revenues to raise the last £1m required as compensation. Now all sides have their reasons, quite rightly, to fight their corners. I am relatively neutral as a County and Boro' Councillor and of course being independent I can represent you however you would like. Perhaps you would contact me, after all it’s your money being spent your services being cut.

I am starting to receive, as some would expect, complaints about parking issues, as the weather improves the flows of traffic increase and so do the parking problems. The main complaints at the moment are about the efficiency and 'lack of give and take' the traffic operatives are responsible for. Unless you have a specific case in mind, I would remind residents that you voted a resounding NO for 'Residents Parking Schemes' and a similar response to controlled visitor 'On Street Schemes'. It would seem from the local papers that both options are going ahead in K.L. Those of you that recall the chaotic conditions in the Town and Area when the Police virtually abdicated their responsibility, at the point of de-criminalisation, before the Boro' accepted the role and brought back some order will know that there is no question of the need for traffic enforcement and that without it the Town its residents, businesses and the Boro' itself would be much the worse.
01485 532565

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