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Hunstanton Soapbox Derby, Easter King's Lynn traffic and The Times newspaper on housing developments – Turnstone

Turnstone Hunstanton and coast column by John Maiden

On Easter Monday my very good friend David Jones directed my attention to an interesting letter in 'The Times' from David Simpson, who drew on his considerable experience as a councillor - at county and district level - in order to make a very valid point.

He began by suggesting that the majority of objections to new housing developments are really objections to the lack of infrastructure to cope with those developments.

Birkin's Boys
Birkin's Boys

According to Mr Simpson: "Developers promise all sorts of infrastructure improvements to get planning approval then do all they can to renege on those promises.

"It would be better to build the infrastructure first with government-backed loans. Then as each house is built, a percentage of the sale price pays back the loan."

This makes more sense to me than the current system, whereby developers are charged a "Community Infrastructure Levy" or CIL for short, which still means that infrastructure follows development and might still prove to be inadequate, if it happens at all!

One only has to look at the inability of privatised water companies to treat raw sewage before it is discharged directly into rivers, with some of it ending up on bathing beaches.

This fact was brought home to me on Easter Monday morning, when heavy rain resulted in many visitors in this corner of northwest Norfolk cutting short their bank holiday.

My hope was that the absence of visitors on bank holiday Monday would reduce the possibility of raw sewage ending up on beaches at Heacham and Hunstanton.

If this was the best I could hope for by way of a positive outcome, I was soon to be made acutely aware of the downside.

The journey by car from Hunstanton to the Hardwick Estate in King's Lynn normally takes 25 minutes, but nose-to-tail cars, some of which were towing caravans, meant that it took me more than twice that time!

Roads, railways and 'Green' transport corridors should be essential components of the infrastructure required to support any new housing development, but it has been a long time since I even received an update on the proposed coastal footpath between Hunstanton and King's Lynn.

Needless to say, when consulted, I was not alone in advocating the return of a rail link between the two towns, serving the growing populations of villages along the route.

To conclude on a more positive note, a nucleus of transport engineers recently emerged in Hunstanton to good effect.

Winning Hunstanton's prestigious Soapbox Derby might be the first step by 'Birkin's Boys' towards creating a better transport system for northwest Norfolk.

If local MP James Wild; council leader Stuart Dark; and Charles le Strange Meakin do not feel up to the task, they can always call upon Pat Richardson, the man who built their winning soapbox!

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