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Feelings about Yartoft fit

PUBLISHED: 10:34 03 March 2008 | UPDATED: 09:30 11 May 2010

AS a resident of Martham in West Flegg for over 70 years until 2004 I note that the worst thing that happened to Martham from a local government viewpoint was the abolition of the old Blofield and Flegg Rural District Council and the inclusion of East and West Fleggs in the Borough of Great Yarmouth.

AS a resident of Martham in West Flegg for over 70 years until 2004 I note that the worst thing that happened to Martham from a local government viewpoint was the abolition of the old Blofield and Flegg Rural District Council and the inclusion of East and West Fleggs in the Borough of Great Yarmouth.

The reason being that the newly created authority contained quite distinct urban and rural communities with little or no homogeneity or unity of purpose, resulting in the domination of the rural community by an urban/suburban majority which, although often well-meaning, was quite insensitive to the way of life of its new hinterland.

This experience convinced me that, if local government areas are to be successful in delivering the policies and services that are in the best interest of the majority of their residents, they must be made up of areas with a population that is as homogenous as practicable in terms of its way of life and aspirations.

Graham Elliott, the Green councillor for Waveney, said that rural Waveney would not fit well in a new Yartoft and that those areas to the south of the town should become part of a coastal Suffolk unitary authority.

His comments fit exactly with my own feelings concerning the Fleggs.

Should Great Yarmouth with Lowestoft be considered as a new unitary authority, the Fleggs, with the exception of Caister and its environs, should also be excluded from a new Yartoft.

The remaining rural area would fit far more naturally with a unitary coastal authority in north Norfolk.

It is also noteworthy that in the recent government review of financial management in the Norfolk and Waveney areas, only the major urban dominated areas of Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Waveney fell into the bottom grade in need of urgent remediation.

If the rural areas of Waveney and Great Yarmouth were integrated with coastal authorities in north Suffolk and north Norfolk respectively their residents might well be able to look forward to the bonus of a higher quality of administration and more reasonable council tax dues.

Urban areas with urban problems could then focus more single-mindedly on sorting out those problems and everybody would benefit.

ARTHUR BAILEY

Blofield

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