Readers’ letters from this week’s Journal
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Town has been long neglected
I read Peter Aldous's letter last week with great interest. Mr Aldous is correct to imply there has been good progress made on the third crossing, but no-one in Lowestoft will believe it until they see it for real.
The fact is that Lowestoft has been neglected for a considerable amount of time, which has led to despair and dissatisfaction for many of us within the town.
Mr Aldous implicates the bridge should be constructed by 2022, but this seems more like warm words than a guarantee. David Cameron, Prime Minister at the 2015 General Election, promised the crossing would be ready for use by 2020. Originally, the crossing was meant to be brought into public use for October 20, 2020, now it is December 10, 2022, at the very earliest according to the quarterly reports given to the Department of Transport.
Additionally, I believe there has been failure to plan properly in relation to employment issues, which are associated with the third crossing.
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Mr Aldous asserted, in a debate at Westminster Hall on March 10, 2015, that the third crossing would 'create hundreds of jobs'. I genuinely believe this will be the case, but there seems to be a lot of inaction and I can relate to my own employment situation, where I had to take a job in Wiltshire for four months, because of the lack of job opportunities within Lowestoft.
Why is not Sonia Barker, leader of the Labour opposition on Waveney District Council, not asking the key questions, such as why there has been a two-year delay on the crossing?
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I do not like what I see
Referring to Mr Symon's letter about Brexit last Friday, I stand by what is said.
It has nothing to do with not having faith in the United Kingdom. I've seen too much in my lifetime, a war baby and what that brought to us all: I've no time for the Tories, Trump I find scary to say the least, and now we have North Korea to be worried about.
In Great Britain we have Scotland wanting to go independent; we can find millions for Northern Ireland to keep the Tories in power, but what about everything else, all our services for example. As a senior citizen, I fear for the future of our children and grandchildren.
I've travelled over Europe, the only country I haven't visited is Sweden. To me they seem in a better state than Great Britain.
Forty years in the power station business, none of the companies we knew exist any longer, manufacturing and engineering, all now in Europe. All the major items for Sizewell B had to come from Europe and when Sizewell A needed a new transformer years ago, they had to go to Poland for it.
Despite Mr Symon's comments, it isn't about faith it's about what we have. We've been in Europe a long time, personally I consider us safer plus working together would be better.
Main offices for aircraft, moving away. Cars, do we have any of our own in Great Britain? We rely on workers from Europe for hospitals, care homes, farming businesses to name but a few; if Brexit goes ahead what will be the outcome?
My feeling, being somewhat older, is what lies in front for the future for the younger generation as it does not look rosy and I consider we could progress better if we stick together. An important factor to remember, we will be bled dry as an example of Great Britain wanting out. Naturally a warning in case other countries decide to leave. Even so I still say we can work together if we remain.
Before Mr Symon brings up fisheries, laws from Europe etc, I've cursed many times. It doesn't however change my mind about remaining in Europe. If we had been told what the 'Leave or Remain' meant, instead of Mr Cameron not getting his expected answer, he just turns tail and runs.
It's not about faith, it's about putting things into perspective and looking forward - I really do not like what I see.
MRS J CHEESMAN
Our problem is in investment
Faith was plentiful in the 70s an 80s, Lowestoft was very industrious.
Since then around 30 major employers have bitten the dust. Not all engineering but substantial employers. We then get Margaret Thatcher, deregulation of the financial sector, privatisation of state owned companies. Gas, water, electricity all thrown to the wolves in the financial sector. Not satisfied with that, decided to tame the unions by making the service industries the way forward. Lack of an English industrial base is quite evident. Mind you we never were very good.
The list is endless of the inventions that Britain came up with. Our problem is in investment. If not in the product in the employees product we wanted a quick buck. Employees; there was always a them and us, amazing how foreign companies value our workforces instead of management v unions they invest in equipment. Problem with foreign companies is their profits and technology stays with them. As far as Brexit goes, I stuck with remaining.
Europe has its faults I agree. I can only hope you've made the right decision, just felt that as a pensioner and it looks like we had the best years. Didn't have the right to condemn youngsters to the uncertainty that lays ahead, health, housing jobs and environment all lie ahead. Being agnostic, faith is hard to come by.
Dangerous road needs action
The road that leads past Pontins in Lowestoft, which is I believe is the A12, needs three sets of traffic lights and a pedestrian crossing.
The cars and heavy lorries pass there at great speed and many people cross that road with their life in their hands. I know the place, I go every so often to that place, something must be done by the council. I have called a councillor but I am afraid it fell on deaf ears.
No need for all these car parks
With regard to the campaign to improve Lowestoft car parking for parents.
I am all for improving parking for those who genuinely need to use cars. However, one of the most efficient ways of doing so, not least because it costs nothing, is to encourage those who don't really need to drive to not do so. It is a particularly important point for parents. It is those in cars who are most at risk from emissions and even more so the young and elderly.
Anyone arguing Lowestoft is not that bad needs to re-think. London Road South was found to be above safe EU limits. Is anyone going to argue Brexit means we don't need to bother about it? Councillor Sonia Barker recognises it as she argues for park and ride. If she is asking parents to inform her of car parking problems, is she also encouraging them to consider alternative transport modes? It is often debatable that the car makes it quicker but even if it does is that more important than their children's health?
It seems the vast majority of Waveney councillors are of the mindset we need evermore car parks for Lowestoft to survive. Yes, the town centre could be bustling, but I suggest in the wrong way. As for more attractive and accessible for all, in the medium to long-term I don't think so. It would be back to 'square one.'
The Government's top adviser, Professor Frank Kelly, has stated cars need to be removed from towns and cities, not just replaced by electric ones. While electric cars produce no exhaust fumes, they still produce large amounts of pollution particles from tyre and brake dust, for which the Government already accepts there is no safe limit. Ironically, with the right investment and encouragement we could have Dutch cycling levels by around 2040 – seriously! To quote Guardian commentator, Gorge Monbiot, 'The car has got a 'chokehold' on Great Britain.'
Concern for our local democracy
I just thought I would write about my concerns for local democracy and accountability.
At the last meeting of Suffolk County Council the Conservative administration put forward their proposals for the establishment of Cabinet Committees. This was in response to opposition proposals supported by the Labour Group that councillors should be involved more in the decision and policy making process and that it be more transparent.
There was broad agreement the old Committee system was not necessarily a suitable replacement for the present Cabinet system in which a very small group, the Cabinet, makes all the decisions.
The proposals put forward by the Conservatives mean any discussions on proposed new policies or strategy may be discussed by Cabinet Committees with a three to one Conservative majority. These Committees are to be held behind closed doors, without minutes and with the public excluded. They will be Chaired by the Cabinet member whose opinion the committee is purported to influence. You, the public will have no knowledge of any discussions that takes place until that same Cabinet member presents the policy to the Cabinet. The same eight Cabinet members will then vote to accept.
There will be no education scrutiny, except by the already stretched general Scrutiny Committee.
Several Conservatives spoke against the proposal but nevertheless went on to vote it through, many of them new councillors with little or no understanding of what the proposals actually mean.
Then we have the 'merger' of Waveney and Suffolk Coastal Councils. How many of you had a say in the takeover of Waveney? How many of you were asked? The Conservative run Waveney District Council, were asked by the Labour Opposition Group to hold a referendum of Waveney residents; the Tories declined, they were advised this was a desirable option before taking the decision but decided to force it through. Now Tories in Felixtowe will be making decisions about our town.
The same Conservatives forced through the establishment of Lowestoft and Oulton Broad Parish Councils. In principle the Labour Opposition do support bringing democracy closer to the people, Lowestoft and Oulton Broad certainly deserve to be self-governing. Once again though the Conservatives have run away from responsibility, offloading loss-making expensive 'assets' to the new Parish Councils leaving them to try and manage what the Tory District Council couldn't. The selfish Conservatives grabbing all the income and giving it to Felixstowe. So much for democracy and transparency.
Thank you for supporting charity shop
After great consideration, we have made the difficult decision to close our charity shop on Lowestoft High Street.
Unfortunately, the shop was no longer financially viable. However, The Salvation Army's charity shop on London Road South remains open.
The remaining stock will be brought to our church and community centre on Beach Road and will be sold as a 'Pop-Up' Shop on August 23, August 24, August 30 and August 31 from 9am to 5pm. At our Pop-Up Shop, while we sell the remaining stock, we will also be serving hot and cold drinks and snacks. We will also be holding our extended Saturday coffee mornings on Saturday, August 26 and September 2.
We hope that the public will attend and buy much of the stock as all proceeds will help toward the other community activities that takes place at Lowestoft Citadel; activities like our Tuesday free community meals and Christmas Day meals for the isolated and lonely to name a few.
We'd like to take this opportunity to thank our team of volunteers and shop manager Jenny Baldwin. We would also like to thank everyone in the community who has supported the charity shop in the past, and we hope that in the future an opportunity may arise where we can help further support the needs of the local community in Lowestoft.
LIEUTENANTS ADRIAN AND GEMMA ALLEN
Commanding Officers Lowestoft Citadel Salvation Army Church
Beach Road, Lowestoft
Call for Scout volunteers
This time last year I was in Rio winning my second Olympic Gold medal. This year I'm taking on a new challenge, I'm volunteering with The Scout Association as a Scout Ambassador.
In Lowestoft, there are dozens of Scouts who are spending the summer having adventures and learning new skills. We have challenged Scouts in Lowestoft to learn 50 new skills over the summer holiday. But we think every child in the UK should have a go too. The skills they learn this summer may well help them save a life, get a job in years to come or maybe go on to become an Olympic Champion!
The Scouts in Lowestoft are doing amazing things, but none of it would be possible without our amazing team of volunteers. Some of the most influential people in my whole childhood were my Scout leaders, who I'm still in touch with now.
In Scouting, young people develop independence, resilience and initiative - in short, essential life skills, employability skills and practical skills that will help them enjoy a brighter future.
To take on the challenge yourself visit https://summerofskills.scouts.org.uk/
Double Olympic Champion and Scout Ambassador
I remember the sea dive board
Reference a report in The Journal, July 28, regarding the diving board off the beach.
I seem to recall there was a diving board, just up from what used to be called Waller's Esplanade, called Neptune Bathing Station, about the early 1950s.
I stayed there until the tide came in, instead of diving in, the little row boat came and got me because of those dreaded jellyfish which I think were Portuguese men of war.
I also like many others swam round the South Pier, not something I would recommend, as the tide carried me down to Children's Corner.