Your views on Lidl's Downham Market plans, hopes for a rebuild of King's Lynn's hospital, plus West Norfolk and national politics
Here are the letters from the Tuesday Lynn News edition of January 31, 2023...
Retail parks are now the future
I really must reply to that prolific letter writer, Mr Mackinder regarding the proposed Lidl supermarket in Downham.
Times change and we have to move with them. The small market towns will survive but mainly as leisure places. Retail parks are the future.
Obviously not everyone will have a car to drive to them, but many already use taxis for
Tesco. Groceries can be delivered by the main supermarkets.
Smaller M&S and Tesco outlets are very well used in towns that have them. Also, most people who drive go to Lynn for their main shop.
The Downham Lidl will be too far for most to walk to but a big help with its cheaper prices for those who use it. It should not be a smaller one but full size.
Over 300 voted for it. We need it and eventually a retail park and lots of new houses will be built and need provisions.
So we have to look to the future and develop that way, not live in the past. Perhaps redundant shops can become starter flats/ homes. I will add that I am an older lady, well past retirement, but I can look to the future.
You can’t blame Labour for state of the QEH
Chris Kerry really is typical of the kind of devout Tory zealot, who will do anything to deflect attention from the mess created by this awful Government. In case you hadn’t noticed Chris, your beloved Tory party have been in power since 2010 during which time numerous supports have been installed in our local hospital to prevent it from falling down.
It’s blatantly obvious, even to the most blind Tory fanatic like yourself, that we are long overdue a new hospital, but all you can do is attempt to blame it on previous Labour governments, and criticise a group of people who are actually trying to highlight this issue.
Mr Kerry talks about this government inheriting an economic mess, but this will be dwarfed by the debt the next Labour administration will inherit from this government. Perhaps Mr Kerry should get out of Castle Rising occasionally and see what’s going on in the real world where we have a prime minister who doesn’t know how to put on a seat belt and can’t use a debit card.
Party politics demolish local views
The Government is in tatters and the Tories are scarred for life. Sunak should do the decent thing and call an election.Truss shouldn’t be allowed to continue as an MP. She was ‘totally dedicated’ to suicidal policies. The integrity and morality are not there.
How many of the current government received Covid-related fines, are known to have had affairs or ‘accidentally’ committed other indiscretions?
There is little alternative, the other parties have no strength in depth.
A coalition must be formed to force wider views to be shared. Having a wider range of views may underpin equality and stability.
Something radical: eg remove the party whip. This may stop the bullying Conservatives from diluting the right to strike with so-called emergency legislation. Party politics demolish local views.
The democratic and political cultures and processes are archaic. There are too many MPs, expensive and ineffective.
People can’t say what they think. Honesty and transparency are seen as career limiting.
Independent people are closer to reality. As demonstrated in the recent magnificent and constructive contributions from local councillors.
Being an MP should be a job, not a privileged way of life.
Behaviour is often childish.
Too much short termism, time and money wasted with constant change. Change management is weak. How many prime ministers this year? Drastic overhaul is long overdue.
A failure of scrutiny
It is one of the jobs of borough councillors to scrutinise expenditure plans and, to put it mildly, we are doing a terrible job of this. At the last meeting of the regeneration and development committee, this institutional failure hit me in the face like a wet mackerel.
Indeed, as we approach with bated breath the council elections in May we will all suddenly be exposed to ridiculous claims that the incumbent administration is somehow responsible for a huge infusion of government monies.
The reality is that the one
attempt by the council to bid for funds (the Future High Street Fund) was a catastrophic failure, with West Norfolk being, I believe, the only borough to be awarded nothing.
Luckily the government included Lynn on its list of deprived communities and awarded £25m under the Levelling Up agenda and Lynn is a beneficiary under the Town Plan, which officers lapped up. The first failure has been that of failing to attract any external funds ( excluding the County Council) for projects.
Our lot are in the process of squandering the bulk of this on just two projects, the refurbishment of the Guildhall and the replacement of the derelict C&A building with a community hub.
Most recently, the County Council has decided to fund the South Gate regeneration project ( another £25m of other people’s money). Cabinet members claim that this is their doing – it is not.
In the meantime, we are assured that this council is being effective at getting funding for the hospital rebuild. Our council is as effective as the proverbial chocolate teapot, and the hard work is, as ever, being done by others.
Back to the meeting, where the agenda contained some quiet controversial measures, including:
- The West Winch Framework Master Plan;
- The Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan;
- Overview of the budget for the Guildhall;
- The funding problem re: the Parkway residential development in Lynn.
It now seems that the 226 homes for which planning permission has been given on the Parkway site are non-viable.
A combination of rising costs and falling expected revenues means that, as costed, this project will deliver a thumping great deficit. A big problem as over £4m has been spent to date and a failure to proceed will also trigger repayments back to the government.
Like many, I believe a revitalised Guildhall will generate significant economic activity in Lynn. But I have seen the cost grow geometrically, and at this presentation it seems that the renewal of the medieval building has become entwined with a mindless workover of the mish mash of other buildings, which is where the bulk of the £12m+ will go.
Such is the new found artistic expertise of the council that it has excluded the one body with relevant knowledge of the Guildhall, The Shakespeare Guildhall Trust, from its deliberations, preferring to use external consultants to evolve a business plan so infantile that their application for funds to the National Lottery Heritage Board was rejected, leaving the council with an additional obligation to honour its underwriting commitment of £3.2m.
They should reinstate the Trust and release funds so that the Town Investment Board can financially support the Parkway project.
Lest we forget, a prime objective of the Town Fund is “to address growth constraints, deliver economic benefits and improve the lives of people within their communities. The overarching aims of the Towns Fund are to drive sustainable economic regeneration and productivity across the UK.”
And this could be interpreted to mean support high quality affordable housing in the town, not just on its outskirts.
The council is desperate to avoid this and is rushing out tender applications for the £1.7m management of the Guildhall project.
The other solution is to make sure that when we vote we remember the incompetence of the Conservative maladministration of West Norfolk, ignore their claims to be
responsible for the generosity of the Government and vote for individuals who will put the interests of the borough above their own narrow interests, not blindly adhere to national parties for local solutions.
Independent Borough Councillor, Methwold