Letter: Richard Bird, October 17, 2014

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I should like to put another slant on the story as told by David Newman (Lynn News, letters, October 10).

Firstly Mr Newman complains that he has not had a response from me to his writings. Well, although I call myself “Mr Accessible”, I am sorry to state that I don’t believe I have received any communications from Mr Newman; if it is the case, I apologise.

My wife and I have had the pleasure of a holiday in Sicily. Taormina was the town I think. I was Mayor of Hunstanton at the time and as I was passing we went into their equivalent of the Town Hall, I explained that I was the mayor of our town and that I should like to meet the current Mayor of this beautiful Sicilian township. I was told, or I think my interpretation was, that the current Mayor had been forced out of office, as had the previous two, under some threats or another, the office was and had been for some time, not surprisingly, vacant.

I mention this because any similarity between our Civic Society, an organisation of which I am proud to be a lifetime member, and the Mafiosi is in my opinion farcical. I am proud of the fact that in this country we can all go to a public meeting and express our views without fear of being threatened in any way shape or form. In this town, ward and division I will fight for the rights of any individual to be heard regardless of whether I agree with their stance or not. Publicly calling any group of people NIMBY’S is in my opinion offensive, uncalled for, and unlikely to help with the situation.

If people want to fight their particular corner, that’s their prerogative. If locals think their case should be heard then of course it should be; we would be wrong not to listen to their arguments, most of which could come from fear of the unknown and concerns about their personal circumstances and welfare.

It’s a matter of record that I have promoted the prospect of more than the minimum 220 new homes to be built in Hunstanton. The vision that I and others have is one of growth. The businesses that we have are: leisure and tourism, retirement and care and retailing. If others can come up with some other alternatives, please step forward,

I will do all that is possible to help and promote them. I have to say all the experts in national and county governance have been unable to do so.

The local plan (Local Enterprise Plan) makes no provision for any other growth opportunities in North West Norfolk.

If all of us here could support leisure and tourism through the growth of existing organisations there could be another 50 to 100 full-time jobs at every level. If we could facilitate a retirement with dementia care village of 200 to 250 people/patients, as is outlined in the local plan, the opportunities for up to 350 full and part-time jobs could be created preserving present facilities and ensuring growth for the future.

The sports centre, the banks, the theatre, the coffee culture town centre, the churches, the fire stations and so much more; all would be given a chance to survive and prosper.

Finally I am your INDEPENDENT councillor, I don’t answer to any party and generally work for the benefit of the community. I am on the opposition benches, and do not make any decisions about planning.

The Town Council has debated these planning propositions for many hours, and has now spent years on the discussions about planning and the LDF.

However, the decision is with the planning authority, the borough council, I have to say that I attend many similar meetings across the county and as a rule the arguments are very similar.

Nationally the number of over 65 year olds is due to increase by 51% over the next 20 years. By 2030 the number of people 85 and over will double. Within 10 years the population along the coast could include 40% of us over the age of 85 and one in three could have some form and level of dementia.

Cllr Richard Bird,

Austin Street, Hunstanton