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Selling off Lowestoft's assests

PUBLISHED: 10:21 07 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:22 05 July 2010

I NOTE in The Journal (November 30) that Waveney District Council is proposing to sell off assets in the Lowestoft area to the value of £2m.

It is clear to me that Lowestoft was a very wealthy town and when the old town council was taken over by Waveney in 1974, assets I would estimate at approximately £50m in today's value including the Town Hall and even valuable art work, were handed over to Waveney.

I NOTE in The Journal (November 30) that Waveney District Council is proposing to sell off assets in the Lowestoft area to the value of £2m.

It is clear to me that Lowestoft was a very wealthy town and when the old town council was taken over by Waveney in 1974, assets I would estimate at approximately £50m in today's value including the Town Hall and even valuable art work, were handed over to Waveney.

In its place the Lowestoft Charter Trustees was formed who administer two small charities; they are not consultees on planning matters and if they are consulted on the disposal of land which the people of Lowestoft formally owned, as they were regarding the disposal of the Lowestoft North Denes, they are ignored.

The position of Mayor, which was reinstated a few years ago, has power restricted to turning on the Christmas lights.

Indeed it is notable that the clerk to the Lowestoft Charter Trustees is the chief executive of Waveney Council and the Charter Trustees have no rights to use the Town Hall and only do so with permission from Waveney. Furthermore the Charter Trustees have absolutely no income at all.

It is notable that in the report which proposes to sell the former property of Lowestoft Town Council it is currently bringing in an income of £38,000 per annum, that money and the money from all the other assets formally belonging to Lowestoft which Waveney Council still own, goes towards Waveney as a whole.

In contrast Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth and Southwold kept their town councils and their property, only handing over play areas and services that needed funding and they are funded partly by the income of the property they retain, yet individuals who are members of those town councils or live in those areas, are deciding what happens to assets in Lowestoft because they outvote the Lowestoft members.

However, it is clear that despite Lowestoft putting everything they owned in the pot in 1974, they have got the worse part of the deal.

Over the years property formally belonging to Lowestoft Town Council has been sold by Waveney Council.

It would appear the Mayor and many of the Charter Trustees have woken up to this injustice and are proposing to explore the possibility of forming a town council once again and as a result asking for their assets back.

My message to the people of Lowestoft is to wake up; for Lowestoft assets which were bought by your forefathers, rates and taxes or acquired by generous bequests and donations, are being sold by Waveney Council and I believe it is no coincidence this further proposed sale comes very soon after the proposal to explore the possibility of forming a town council.

For if you do not act soon you will have no Town Hall, no assets and no income, for the £38,000 per annum income that the property Waveney proposes to sell brings in at the moment could help fund a town council.

The representatives of the people of Lowestoft placed their assets in the hands of Waveney Council in 1974 in good faith and it is time to take some sort of action and say enough is enough before it is too late.

MERVYN LAMBERT

Millpond Farm

Garboldisham

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