Turnstone, by John Maiden, Tuesday, March 28

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A few weeks ago a resident of Old Hunstanton said in an email to me that he reads this column every week in order to discover the target under attack.

The inference seemed to be that most of the criticism directed at local government is unjustified.

He used the word ‘attack’, but ‘criticism’ is a better description of what I try to achieve.

When a national newspaper described Supreme Court Judges as enemies of the people, the Lord Chief Justice responded by pointing out that judges should be subject to criticism.

But it was wrong to describe them as enemies of the people, when they were actually defending the right of Parliament to be consulted on the terms for leaving the European Union.

From the feedback offered by local residents it would appear that Turnstone is more in tune with public opinion than the lone cynic from Old 
Town.

Even if my house was not situated on Hunstanton Road, Heacham, my sympathy would be with the inhabitants of Heacham, whose opinions have been consistently ignored by county and borough councils in recent years.

This is in spite of the fact that Heacham Parish Council has been extremely forceful and articulate when informing the local highway authority that serious mistakes were being made in the way Hunstanton Road was being realigned.

A bus service will resume next month, but the Highway Authority now admits that buses will be unable to stay on their side of the road when negotiating the new road junction.

This is how Michael Williamson, chairman of Heacham Parish Council, summed up the situation in an email to me.

“No doubt you have looked at the original design, leaving Hunstanton Road as it was, with minor alterations and the new link road going on to it.

“How much better a solution this would have been – less inconvenience when being constructed, no roundabout problems on the A149, etc.

“All this was abandoned due to fictitious figures on traffic flow provided to them by some ‘expert’ consultancy based miles away from Heacham.

“I am particularly annoyed, as are our councillors that a Highways Engineer is trying to put the blame for the narrow junction on to Heacham Parish Council.

“As I have pointed out to him, we were only consulted regarding speed limits several months after the design was formalised.

“If you look at the plans the layout is exactly as in the designs put forward by URS months before.

“The whole thing is complete nonsense.”

It is a pity that parish councils are routinely ignored by county and borough councils, when their primary purpose is to act as sounding boards for local public opinion…