Community action highlights neglect of former Pontins site in Hemsby
Residents in Hemsby met this week to discuss the long-running saga of the neglect of the former Pontins site in the village. I am delighted that they are taking community action on this issue and I am offering them all the assistance I can to get this problem resolved.
This is real localism in action, local people taking control and doing their bit to help the village and wider borough.
Hemsby is a fantastic village and has a great tourism offer, but it is currently being let down by the Northern Trust, who have allowed the former Pontins site to fall into wrack and ruin. It is essential that a long-term solution is found, and I strongly believe that the council are right to ensure this solution is not just giving up and covering the whole 22 acres with more houses. We can all assume that Northern Trust does not want to retain a significant tourism provision, but their claims that the site is not viable is contradicted by the multi-million-pound investment recently announced by Richardsons in Hemsby.
In the short term, the priority must be to work towards getting the site secure – the landowners, Northern Trust, have a moral obligation to do to so. But, should they continue to fail in this duty, it is essential that our local councils explore all possible enforcement options including compulsory purchasing the site, and that as a community we work to bring as much pressure as possible upon the owners.
To do so it is essential that we involve the wider community in Hemsby as much as possible, as such I intend to conduct a community survey addressed to every registered elector within the village of Hemsby, which will allow us to properly demonstrate popular opinion and allow the new group to be advertised to local people.
Seven UKIP councillors defect to the Conservatives
Last week Great Yarmouth Conservatives welcomed seven former UKIP Councillors into the Party and council group on Great Yarmouth Borough Council.
This means the Conservatives now have 21 members on the Council, making them the majority party in the town hall. This will allow the Conservatives to continue their work both locally, pushing for more investment into the borough, and nationally, getting the best possible deal from Brexit. Locally the Conservatives have a strong record, with millions of pounds being spent on improving the road network and major work is moving forward to regenerate the Seafront and Town Centre.
The Councillors joining the Conservative group are Carl Annison, (Bradwell South and Hopton), Malcolm Bird (Central and Northgate) Alan Grey (Bradwell North) Kay Grey (Gorleston), Paul Hammond (Yarmouth North), Sue Hacon (Bradwell South and Hopton) and Katy Stenhouse (Nelson). Kay Grey is the former leader of the UKIP group, whilst Alan was the UKIP PPC for the 2015 General Election.
Kay Grey, councillor for Gorleston said: “As UKIP we achieved the impossible, the vote to leave the EU, many voters feel this is UKIP’s job done. We believe the best way forward is to be the only party that can see Brexit through. Locally we have some great opportunities coming our way, and we believe that a majority council, not a hung council will be better for the borough.”
As the Conservative Party in government works to deliver a Brexit that works for everyone, I am delighted that these former members of the UKIP group have decided that it is the Conservatives who are best able to represent their communities. The Conservative-led Council has delivered real improvements to our borough over the last few years, and now as a majority administration, they will be able to do even more to improve our local area.
“We will remember them”
Many of you would have read my monthly column in last week’s edition of the Great Yarmouth Mercury. It focussed on the momentous events of a century ago, which reshaped not just Europe but the entire world. And reflects on why it is still important to remember the sacrifices made to ensure we continue to enjoy our freedoms today. If you didn’t get a chance to read it you can still do so here.
Every year as we approach Guy Fawkes Day constituents contact me with concerns about the use of fireworks in their neighbourhood. Irresponsible use of fireworks can cause a nuisance, cause distress for pets and young children and alarm elderly residents.
Although this year’s celebrations are passed, I thought it would be useful to give an update on this issue as your Member of Parliament. Fireworks can, of course, be very dangerous and I am glad the use and sale of them are controlled. Events, where fireworks are used, should be well planned and safety should be paramount.
Firework regulations allow fireworks for home use to be sold during the traditional firework periods of Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali. Suppliers who wish to sell fireworks outside the traditional periods must comply with stringent conditions before being granted a licence by their local licensing authority. This means the availability and use of fireworks outside the traditional periods have been greatly reduced.
The regulations also created a curfew preventing the use of fireworks between 11 pm and 7 am all year round with the exception of 5 November, when the curfew starts at 12 midnight, and New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali, when the curfew starts at 1.00 am on the night of celebration.
Excessive noise from fireworks, or noise during the curfew period, can be considered a statutory nuisance and local authority environmental health officers have the power to investigate complaints of fireworks noise and act to prevent it where appropriate.
Although there is some use of fireworks outside the traditional periods, the Government believes that the majority of people who use fireworks do so at the appropriate times of year and have a sensible and responsible attitude towards them. There are no plans at the moment to place further limitations on their use.
Working for you in Great Yarmouth and Westminster
Since my last newsletter, amongst many things, I’ve:
- Responded, on behalf of the Government, in a debate about how we in the United Kingdom deal with unaccompanied child refugees. No one can fail to be moved by the horrific news reports of children fleeing conflict and persecution, and I highlighted the Government’s strong record on this issue.
- Welcomed students from Flegg High School, Ormiston Venture Academy, Lynn Grove, Great Yarmouth Charter Academy and Caister Academy to London for a tour of Parliament. The students all took part in the Great Yarmouth Youth Debating competition earlier this year. Following the tour, they participated in a Q&A session with me, when they discussed what life is like as an MP, how to become an MP (for any aspirational future public servants among them) and debated lowering the voting age to 16.
- Wrote an article for the influential website ConservativeHome outlining the work the Government is doing to tackle illegal-immigration, whilst creating a new immigration system ready for our country’s departure from the European Union.
Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP