During the last county council, we saved South Lynn from the incinerator none of us wanted, but £34 million of taxpayers’ money was wantonly wasted on the contract because County had not listened to the people of West Norfolk in the first place.
Yet, long after I got the whole council to vote to end the contract for planning failure, forces were still at work at County Hall to keep the Willows in the county waste plan for any type of waste treatment, even incineration.
Council did not back my motion to take the Willows out of the plan in December; county planners were about to write the Willows into the new Waste Plan.
So my first act on being elected back as a county councillor on May 5, was to speak to newly-elected West Norfolk members and write to the leader, calling for the Willows to come out of the plan immediately. Also, a false alarm from a concerned member of the press that the Willows site had been sold without anyone being told, was the direct springboard to an emergency meeting with the Chief Officer and then the leader.
I said if the land had been sold and got into the wrong hands,
this would be so serious it would be a resigning matter for those responsible. It proves the people of Lynn were right all along.
This time, both the Chief Officer and the leader could quite see what I meant. I said a change of use to employment land, light industrial units for new jobs, would offset the recent loss of 120 jobs from the Gardman warehouse in South and West Lynn, place a physical structure on the site to prevent anything else happening and make money for public services from a site currently bringing in no return at all. This would be a good result, it was on offer, and to this I agreed. The leader confirmed it in answer to my question at the first full council.
As the local county councillor, my job is to follow it through to make sure the units are built as soon as possible. Now is the time for sole traders and small businesses, who would like to rent a unit, to come forward and express an interest.
Engineering, manufacturing, innovation, health sciences, technology; small units with high value ideas, creating good jobs within good infrastructure, this will be a much better and prosperous future for the Willows and for Lynn.
County Councillor for Clenchwarton, Lynn South and West and West Winch