Turnstone, by John Maiden, August 25, 2015

Hunnie pier - John Maiden

Hunnie pier - John Maiden

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On June 4, 2013, under the headline: “Dead end for Lynn link road” the Lynn News announced that a proposal to open up development land around Lynnsport had been dealt a blow after a £3.49m link road project failed to win government cash. Two years later and it would appear the project is going ahead without this source of funding and despite local opposition.

Elsewhere in the county the projected cost of the controversial ‘Northern Distributor Road’ around Norwich has risen from £148m to £178m with £20m of the additional £30m coming from the government and the ‘Local Enterprise Partnership’.

The ability to fund ambitious major projects is not confined to building roads, because on August 7 this year the Lynn News reported on a deal, expected to be completed within the next few days, which would enable West 
Norfolk Council to buy a prominent waterfront site in King’s Lynn from McCarthy & Stone.

It would appear from these three examples that our local councils have adopted the motto: ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’. If the money is not available from one source, it is always a good idea to search elsewhere. With this in mind, it might be worth directing the attention of our local councils; the government; the Enterprise Partnership; and any other potential source of funding to a project in Hunstanton that has just become a real possibility.

Apparently, the ‘pier’ entertainment centre, located in a prominent position on The Green, is on the market with an asking price in the region of £4m. A letter from Chris Smith in last Tuesday’s Lynn News made the point that west Norfolk council receives an income of just £1 a year in rent for this less than attractive building, leaving the local exchequer with just £850 over the next eight centuries!

Mr Smith also drew attention to the poor value of the vouchers offered as prizes to his grandchildren. This should serve as a reminder to our elected representatives that every local authority has a legal obligation to obtain best value from all assets under its management. In the case of Hunstanton Pier, west Norfolk council has missed num-
erous chances to fulfil this 
obligation since it assumed the role of Pier Landlord in 1974.

The latest example of this came in October 2009 when the Council received nothing of value in return when its leaders offered to release the Hunstanton Pier Company from an obligation to make and maintain the Pier, without which the 999-year lease for ‘Hunstanton Pier’ becomes as worthless as one of the vouchers dished out as prizes in the ‘pier’ entertainment centre.

The legal status of the so-called ‘Deed of Variation’ could be open to challenge in the Courts, or more likely by a Parliamentary Select Committee in view of the fact that the Pier Order, responsible for creating the statutory Hunstanton Pier Company, can only be amended or revoked by Parliament. This should provide the necessary incentive for our Council leaders to obtain enough cash from one or more of the funding agencies to buy the ‘pier’, thereby making amends for the many lost opportunities over the past forty years.