Diversionary tactics

Please do not respond to Anonymous anymore she is not worth it.

It is easy to conclude that this is an attempt by the local Tory sympathisers to take up your time and divert your energy from the important task on which you are embarked.

Why would they do this?

Well their candidate for the election has been parachuted in after James Carswell (another Tory Twin Hatter) became so fed up; he avowed not to stand again.  That incidentally after resigning from the Cabinet at NCC and after failing to attend crucial meetings at Broadland when they were voting through policies which he did not support.   So the new candidate has his endorsement.  That tells us much about them both.

Tom Garrod lives in Ormseby St Margaret and was a County Councillor for Great Yarmouth until this election. Last autumn in the EDP, UKIP announced that they would stand in all the Great Yarmouth seats.  After Eastleigh, the Tories are now terrified of UKIP and thinking Garrod would lose that seat he was moved to Wroxham.  

Two observations come to mind

1.  If he runs at the first sign of a political fight what good would he be to the residents here. We need someone who will stand up to the political manipulators  not a grateful political apparatchik.

2. He knows nothing about the issues in this Division and will probably just express his gratitude by doing whatever his political masters ask.

Democracy sacrificed on the altar of expediency and profit?

The 13th of February 2013 was a black day for democracy and constitutional representation at the Sprowston Parish Town Council meeting.

The Town Council received numerous written submissions in opposition of the development proposed by Beyond Green, they then invited members of the public to speak, all voiced objections. Each Councillor in attendance, bar the Chairperson, then raised their own concerns, some of whom spoke both eloquently and at length. Not one word was uttered in support of the development.

Given the aforementioned events any reader would reasonably assume that there would be a unanimous vote voicing opposition, representing the opinions of those who elected the guardians of democracy and, if we are to believe the words they speak with such ease, represent the Councillors own views. No, there was what can only be described as a brief discussion at which point the Chairperson moved the meeting onto listing any concerns they have but, in principal, supporting the development. How can this happen, voter apathy is one conclusion enabling such arrogance. Clearly, our representatives would rather ignore the electorate than risk upsetting a developer who, rumour would have it, are backed by Merchant Banks and no doubt seek an easy profit.

Why was there no move to vote, you may draw your own conclusion, but my guess, no vote leaves no record. In 2015, how many of the elected representatives will point to the fact that they never voted in support of the development when seeking their next term in office.


The January full Council Meeting was scheduled for Tuesday 15th January but was delayed due to adverse weather until Thursday 24th January.  One of the Agenda items for this meeting is the debate around the reworking of the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) and whether or not Council would adopt it for submission to the Secretary of State.

On the 14th January, i.e. the day before the original scheduled date of the council meeting the council published its papers for the forthcoming Place Shape Committee.

In these papers, which are dated the 23rd January, there is one paper on the Development Options Consultation Draft for the North East Growth Triangle, which states in Paragraph 3.4 the following fabricated words:

“Following the completion of the necessary works to address the requirements of the High Court Order on 15th January 2013 Broadland District Council agreed that the proposed submission content was legally compliant and sound and should be submitted to the Secretary of State for Independent Examination”

How arrogant and possibly contemptuous as the Council predict the outcome of a full council meeting the day before!

Even more arrogant was the fact that when this was pointed out to them via Twitter on the 16th Jan they responded on the 17th by saying the following:

“Report predicated on Council agreeing to submit JCS for independent examination. Apologies for confusion. Report now Amended.”

Oh and they removed the offending report from their website but luckily the person who found it in the first place kept a copy otherwise the evidence of malpractice would have disappeared.

Those of you with sharp memories will know that when BDC commissioned an independent enquiry into their original handling of the JCS, which ended up with them in court due to acting unlawfully, the findings stated that their process was “INFECTED”.

It still seems to be INFECTED

We will see what they have to say on the 24th.  Book your seat now!

Democratic Deficit in Norfolk

We have been attempting to highlight to democratic deficit here in Norfolk for some time now as decisions made by elected bodies at county and district ignore popular opinion and press ahead with schemes that do not have the backing of the local electorate. 

The Kings Lynn Incinerator is a classic example and the comments made below by Messrs Bellingham and Freeman, two local Norfolk MP’s in a Parliamentary debate on 16th Jan 2013, highlight the deficit admirably. 

HENRY BELLIGHAM (North West Norfolk, Conservative)

What do the public think of all this? During the consultation process I chaired some public meetings, and both sides of the argument were made vehemently and strongly. Nearly 2,000 people voted, having attended those meetings, and 99% voted against the incinerator.  The borough council then carried out a borough-wide referendum covering my entire constituency and most of the constituency of my hon. Friend Elizabeth Truss.  It was run by King’s Lynn and West Norfolk borough council under Electoral Commission rules, and the result was remarkable—65,516 people voted no on a turnout of 61.3%, so a total of 92.68% voted no.  Compared with the recent police and crime commissioner elections, when the turnout was around 12%, that must be one of the most decisive, if not the most decisive result in British electoral history.

GEORGE FREEMAN (Mid Norfolk, Conservative)

Does he agree that whatever the whys and wherefores of the issue—some of the arguments are complex—localism often requires difficult and tough decisions from the locality, but democracy is ill served if, at any level of government, consultation takes place but its findings are ignored, particularly when they are as overwhelming as in this case?

You can see the full text of the Parliamentary debate here:

We couldn’t have put it more succinctly.

Now roll in the following decisions made against public opinion and, in the case of the first, against legal advice:

  • Joint Core Strategy
  • Northern Distributor Road
  • Purchase of RAF Coltishall
  • Great Yarmouth Outer Harbour

Our contention then is that in their drive to convert from revenue spending organisations into revenue generating organisations local councils have forgotten about the wishes of the very people they are elected to serve.  There is however a great opportunity to upset the current seat of power at County Hall by standing as an Independent in May.  Let us know if you would support an Independent!

Norfolk Mafia Reinforced

The news that Norse, the facilities management company owned by Norfolk
County Council (NCC) has secured a three year facilities management
contract with Archant (the publishers of the Eastern Daily Press and other
regional bewspapers) as reported here reinforces the local Norfolk mafia with Archant. What chance that any of the Archant titles will be critical of Norfolk County Council?

Indeed with house builders and NCC being the two main sources of advertising
revenue is it no surprise that Archant have not launched a campaign to stop the
urbanisation of Norwich City to the size of Nottingham or Bristol!

Rabbit Hutch or What?

Interesting figures from the Royal Institute of British Architects[1] who show that the recommended square footage for a new build one bedroom flat is 50 square metres.  None of the leading house builders achieve this as the table below shows with our friends Barratts only delivering 90% of the recommendation.

49 sqm
47 sqm
Taylor Wimpey
47 sqm
47 sqm
Crest Nicholson
47 sqm
Galliford Try
46 sqm
45 sqm
Lovell Partnerships
43 sqm

They do fare slightly better when it comes to a two bedroom house where the recommendation is 95 square metres.

98 sqm
Galliford Try
90 sqm
89 sqm
Taylor Wimpey
88 sqm
88 sqm
86 sqm
Lovell Partnerships
85 sqm
Crest Nicholson
84 sqm

So there you have it.  Not only are new homes “pig ugly” according to the Planning Minister they are also the size of a rabbit hutch.  The ones in the NEGT will also be under the flight path of an international airport and be more expensive due to the introduction of a Community Investment Levy (CIL) of £15,000 and about £25,000 due to having to be built to fulfil eco standards.

Want to buy one?

[1] First published September 2011 Royal Institute of British Architects | 66 Portland Place | London W1B 1AD www.behomewise.co.uk The Case for Space: the size of England’s new homes | © Royal Institute of British Architects


Much of the discussion on climate change is about reducing carbon dioxide
emissions, but preparing for the effects of climate change is just as important. It is
important whether you believe the scientific evidence or not as the changes in the
weather, climate change or not, are definitely with us.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report of
November 2011, Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance
Climate Change Adaptation (see http://ipcc-g2.gov/SREX), explains the impact that
effective land use planning for adaptation can have in preparing economies and
societies for the effects of climate change. The UK’s Adaptation Sub-Committee also
identifies the importance of the land use planning system in adaptation.

Local planning authorities, like Broadland District Council and the other members
of the GNDP, should consider the likely impacts of climate change and, using
the available evidence, positively and proactively plan for these impacts when
considering new development as they propose in the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) and
develop adaptation options for existing areas like the North East Growth Triangle

Overview of climate impacts and risks for the East of England

Risk involves a vulnerable element (a person, place or thing) being in contact with (or
exposed to) a particular hazard (a climate-related event) to such an extent that harm
or damage will occur.

Much of the East of England is low-lying and at risk of flooding, especially after
heavy rainfall in winter as evidenced by any local residents of the NEGT as they
drive around after a downpour! We need to understand what these risks are locally
and anticipate the impacts through the local planning process. Climate impacts at
the countywide and local levels have been identified most commonly through Local
Climate Impact Profiles (LCLIPs). For example, the Hertfordshire LCLIP identifies
possible impacts, specifically flooding, on local areas in terms of the following risks:

  • Health: Increased road accidents and associated injuries; and injuries to individuals.
  • Social: Displacement of residents, including the elderly from care homes; disruption to access; and school closures and subsequent disruption toeducation.
  • Economic: Disruption to business; damage to rail infrastructure, community properties and homes; strain on council resources; and extra demand onemergency services resources.
  • Environmental: Flooding of parkland and fields; raw sewage leakages; and detrimental impacts on water quality.

We would contend that a LCLIP for the JCS would find the following:

  • Health: Major increase in road accidents as locals use the 11 roundabouts onthe NDR through the NEGT area. Individuals suffer more injuries as they try and cross the NDR or cycle on the inadequate or missing cycle lanes.
  • Social: Local residents displace from their place of birth and forced to moveto a new town that has no facilities despite the promises of the developers.Local village schools at Salhouse and Rackheath closed as pupils forced totravel to a large new foundation primary school in the middle of nowhere.

  • Economic: Local SME businesses close as large multi national businesses(Tesco, Weatherspoons etc) move in to the NEGT area. The Bittern Linecannot cope with the additional passengers causing severe rail disruption. BDC resources cannot cope with the additional requirement for traditionalcouncil provided services and the already under strain East of England Ambulance service continues to fail to meet its 19 minute target forresponding to 999 calls.
  • Environmental: Parks and common leisure ground floods, as surface rainwater is unable to drain naturally. Raw sewage floods back intoresidential properties as Anglian Water have not found the innovative solutionto water stress as promised and the quality of water deteriorates even furtherfrom the current poor level of quality.

Just saying……..


We will, now that the consultation on the remitted JCS is closed, soon be bombarded
with spin from the unelected body that is the Greater Norwich Development
Partnership (GNDP) as they continue to press ahead with the flawed Joint Core

A key element of this spin will be the discussion in the council chambers as
Broadland, South Norfolk and Norwich City all have to vote through these changes
once the submissions from local residents are taken into account. These are the
very people who voted for these Councillors who now need to demonstrate courage
and represent the views of their electorate rather than nodding through the JCS by
following political dictate.

If they did vote with their conscious they would not be alone as a housing
master plan for all of South Worcestershire is on the verge of collapse after
councillors in Malvern Hills voted to send it back to the drawing board. During
a five hour meeting that ended after midnight councillors shot down a motion
declaring the emerging South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP and
their equivalent of our JCS) “deliverable and sound”, opting instead to call for
further investigation of alternative housing sites flagged up by a council task
group. The local report can be found here: http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/

SNUB have been calling the JCS as not deliverable and not sound, as proven in the
High Court, and we would call upon ALL elected Councillors to represent the views
of their electorate by sending the JCS back for further investigation of alternative
housing sites just as they have in Worcestershire.


One of the things that Broadland District Council did after our successful High Court
hearing was to employ the services of a management consultant to undertake a
review of the process they used prior to the court case with a view to improving this

The review found that the process, both at BDC and GNDP, was “INFECTED”. Their
words not ours. The definitions of infect, if you ignore the clinical variation, uses
words like: to taint, pollute or contaminated. BDC glossed over this report at their
Council Meeting.

However it would be normal to think that they would have taken heed of the findings
of the report that they commissioned themselves. It seems not as the process used
to remedy the remitted parts of the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) has several process
errors as follows:

•   The original consultation for this phase of the JCS was due to close on
Monday 8th Oct 2012. However as they forgot to include Appendix 6 in one
of the documents supporting the proposed submission, PSJCS2 they had to
extend the consultation period until Friday 2nd Nov. Their admission to this
error is here: http://www.gndp.org.uk/our-work/joint-core-strategy/
•   When prospective consultees enter the website they are directed
straight to the Representation Form covering letter seen here http:/
RepresentationFormFinalN.doc. However up until Monday 29th Oct 2012 the
date for the return of the form was still showing Monday 8th Oct 2012. We
therefore have no idea how many people would have accessed this form
in those 21 days and then not proceeded as they would have thought they
were too late! It took a member of SNUB to point this out to GNDP who then
promptly changed the date!

•   One of the key documents (Joint Core Strategy for Broadland, Norwich and
South Norfolk (Ref No: PSJCS2) has over 100 pages but no page numbers
making it difficult if not impossible to navigate through.

•   The document entitled Regulation 19 Publication and Sustainability Appraisal
Consultation (Document ref: PSJCS 1) has a loose-leaf amendment to
paragraph 6.3 on Page 5 where reference to the NPPF Compatibility Self
Assessment Checklist has been omitted.

These errors and omissions do not provide the necessary confidence that lessons
have been learnt from their review of their own process and that the process is still
infected. Is it time someone was held to account for these silly errors?

Carbon Con?

The latest Rackheath Parish Council meeting on Monday had amongst the attendees a Broadland District Council  housing officer as well as a manager from Wherry Housing.They were there to answer concerns from parish councillors and residents of Trinity Close Rackheath, the 12 sustainable, code grade 6 houses into which Broadland poured £500,000 to upgrade to code 6 and used as it's 'flag-ship' for the future of housing for the 'exemplar and the eco-town!

The residents are not happy, what has transpired is that the utility bills, especially the electric/ heating bills are far more expensive than the residents paid when in their old houses.

Why? It's simple, as Wherry had accepted the 'grant' from Broadland, they were not permitted to receive any monies whatsoever from the 'feed-in' tariffs from any of the solar panels ( bearing in mind, if you have solar panels installed off your own back, you receive the feed-in tariff, anything up to £700 per year to either negate your electricity bill or pay a great percentage towards your useage, this, depending on the weather etc).

As you may be aware, the solar panels only generate during the sunny periods ( normally during the day when people are at work and not needing to use their electricity) and they then have to pay through the nose to heat their water / houses with the ground source heat pumps. It also transpires that the ground source heat pumps are very, very expensive to run.

So what about the residents? The Wherry manager then told the parish council that the idea of affordable housing built to grade 6 was never about cheaper bills, it was to reduce carbon! So  what about the residents? The Wherry manager said it was a learning experience!

Needless to say, many residents are furious and some are even asking for a transfer as the bills are too high!  Is this affordable housing or a 'carbon con'? We all need to reduce our carbon footprint but as a few people stated last night, residents 'flocked' to apply to live there in the belief that their bills would all be lower. They also said that the laymen in the street ALL believed this myth too...this needs exposing as it is a 'white elephant' that was allowed to be built 'outside' of the Rackheath planning settlement limit by Broadland District Council using taxpayers money. With Wherry planning to build another 14 ( grade 4 ) houses also on land outside of the settlement limit and backing onto the existing 12 houses (with the possibility of removing half of their existing garden to boot!).... we could see an 'exodus' of residents from the grade 6 expensive properties wanting to move across the garden to the cheaper to run grade 4 cheaper to run homes!

Now take a look at the post below which is the news release Broadland District Council put on in September last year