Turnstone - Whistle blown on Town Team

Hopes of a happy New Year were shattered for Canary fans at Upton Park by the inconsistent refereeing decisions of Mark Clattenburg – whose name conjurers up pictures of a noisy German mayor!

Closer to home, however, a decision taken last Wednesday by Hunstanton town council’s general purposes committee showed much more consistency when a recommendation was passed asking for the Hunstanton Town Team to be disbanded, because its continued existence is causing confusion.

The Town Team was formed early last year in order to apply for £100,000 of government money following a report on the future of High Streets by Mary Portas.

The bid failed, but the Town Team continued to meet and became involved with proposals intended to enhance the Westgate spinney area. Hence, the confusion, because this falls within the remit of another ‘quango’ – the Hunstanton Regeneration Group (HRG) – on which borough council officers, as well as members, are allowed to vote, thereby outnumbering the three town councillors elected to represent Hunstanton.

No one is questioning the hard work put in, but personally I feel the record of this group has not been impressive since the borough council leader decreed that it should replace the Hunstanton Regeneration Partnership (HRP) in 2007.

HRG was supposed to speed up the process of regeneration, but it has clearly failed to achieve that objective, because all the HRG has to show on the ground – after five years of borough council control – is the Seagate ‘Piazza’ – described last week by one town councillor as a £200,000 driveway!

The Kit Kat site, at one end of this “driveway”, and the derelict town centre site, next to the bus station, have yet to be regenerated, while land used for car parking, forming an integral part of the railway trackbed, has been sold to facilitate the erection of a licensed restaurant on the edge of town.

Not surprisingly, after calling for the full-time whistle to be blown on the Town Team, David Jones, a former fighter pilot, has set his sights on the HRG by requesting that the regeneration of Hunstanton should be placed on the agenda for the next general purposes committee meeting.

Hunstanton council lost its Urban District status in 1974. Since then its primary function has been to act as a sounding board for public opinion. Its elected members are better placed to decide what is best for our town than any quango.