Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Bury Free Press Article

Thetford Town Council: 'Youngster' steps down Published Date: 16 May 2008 By Paul Bloomfield Work commitments have forced one of Thetford's youngest town councillors to step down. Gareth Pickering, 29, was elected to represent the Saxon Ward last year, along with his 21-year-old brother Sam Chapman-Allen and mother Marion Chapman-Allen.The two brothers helped to cut the average age of the council from 70 to 58.6 years.However, Mr Pickering has decided to stand down because of work commitments and because he will be moving from Thetford.The announcement follows claims from representatives of the Thetford Labour Party that Mr Pickering had attended just four of 27 full council and planning meetings held over the last year.Ed Chambers, Thetford Town Council clerk, said Cllr Pickering had attended town council meetings in May, June, July, November and last week's mayor-making ceremony, which he said would be his last official duty as a town councillor and would be resigning at the next town meeting.Mr Chambers confirmed Mr Pickering had not attended any planning meetings since May last year.Cllr Pickering said: "The electoral rules state that you have to either live or work in the area you represent. As I am no longer living in Thetford, I would not have been allowed to continue as a town councillor. This is my only reason for standing down."He added: "I very much enjoyed representing local residents and taking the work of the town council forward." "I am very sad to be leaving the town council especially at this very exciting time, but I cannot give the amount of time that this important role requires because of my work commitments."Sylvia Armes, of Thetford Labour Party, said her call for his resignation was nothing personal."Mr Pickering last attended in November 2007 and then did not attend until just the other day on May 7. Had he not attended for just a couple more weeks, he would have been automatically removed."At this time of change in Thetford, we need councillors who will represent the people from their area and stick up for residents of the town."They simply cannot do this if they fail to attend a single meeting of the town council for nearly six months," she said.A by-election for the vacant Saxon ward seat will take place in due course.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Thetford Town Councillor Resigns!

Taken from the EDP website: "One of Thetford's youngest town councillors has announced that he is standing down because of work commitments.When Gareth Pickering, 29, and his brother Sam Chapman-Allen, 21, were elected to Thetford Town Council last year, they helped cut its average age from 70 to 58.6 years.But Mr Pickering, who works for Vodafone, in Bury St Edmunds, has now decided to relinquish his position as a town councillor because of work pressure and his decision to move away from Thetford.The news comes after representatives from the Thetford Labour Party revealed that the councillor had only attended four out of 27 full council and planning meetings over the last year.Mr Pickering, who was elected to the Saxon ward with is brother and mother Marion Chapman-Allen, last May, said it was with “great reluctance” that he would be resigning at the next town council meeting.“I very much enjoyed representing local residents and taking the work of the town council forward. We are very lucky in Thetford to have a great community spirit and growth point is going to mean great new opportunities for everyone, especially younger people. “I am really sad to be leaving the town council especially at this very exciting time, but I just cannot give the amount of time that this important role requires because of my work commitments,” he said.Sylvia Armes, of the Thetford Labour Party, who had been calling on Mr Pickering to resign, said: “At this time of change in Thetford, we need councillors who will represent the people from their area and stick up for the interests of the town. They simply cannot do this if they fail to attend a single meeting of the town council for nearly six whole months.”A by-election for the vacant Saxon ward seat will take place in due course." Report by Adam Gretton

Monday, 12 May 2008

Suffolk CeX

I'm sorry, I dont care how they try to justify this, I still think it's ridiculous! £220,000! That's more than the Prime Minister gets for running the whole country and she is just running one county. "The appointment of Suffolk's new chief executive on a £220,000 salary was based on inadequate information but not unlawful, an independent report has shown" http://new.edp24.co.uk/content/news/story.aspx?brand=EDPOnline&category=News&tBrand=EDPOnline&tCategory=news&itemid=NOED12%20May%202008%2017%3A43%3A26%3A550

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Letter from Breckland Labour Group re: Post Office Closures

Dear Sirs, Re: Review of Post Office provision in the Breckland area I write to express my group’s concerns with some aspects of your proposed closure programme for the Breckland area of Norfolk. We do not dispute that commercial and viability considerations are important to all successful businesses. However, such “reinvention” programmes have taken place in the past and yet there still appears the need for further Branch closures to be contemplated. As you will appreciate, more than half of the Breckland Local Authority area is comprised of rural villages, many of whom are reliant on the local Post Office as the “social hub” of their communities. Breckland does appear to be extremely hard hit by your existing proposals and I question whether you have fully evaluated the community value and importance of these offices to local people. Though I have no wish to single out individual offices, our group is particularly concerned by the proposed closure of the Nun’s Bridges (Thetford) and Beeston branches. In the case of the former, many elderly customers would be forced into a journey of nearly three miles to find an alternative outlet; and, in the latter, the shop has historically provided a vital source of commerce for the village, and the loss of the Post Office business would seriously threaten its viability. As a group, we would urge restraint and trust that every effort will be made to spare as many offices from closure as possible. Yours faithfully, ROBIN GOREHAM Leader, Breckland Labour Group

Thursday, 8 May 2008

New Mayor of Thetford

Last night I attended the official 'Mayor Making' ceremony at the Guildhall in Thetford. Our new incoming Mayor is Councillor John Harding, and he takes over from Robert Kybird. John Harding is an 'Independent' member of the Town Council and I think he will be more prepared to highlight the failures of Breckland Council and be more 'independent' minded which I think is a good thing for the Town. I wish him well for the year ahead.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Breckland Council's commitment to public services

If ever there was a single article published which could easily summarise Breckland Council's commitment to public services then I think it has just appeared in this weeks Thetford and Brandon Times - article below. The words; 'couldnt care less' spring to mind.

Letters from Thetford and Brandon Times; 7th May 2008

Again, for another week there are lots of highly critical articles of Breckland Council in the Thetford and Brandon Times newspaper, including letters and articles. Here are the relevant letters from the 'letters section' and below are the actually newspaper articles;

Articles from Thetford and Brandon Times 7th May 2008

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Lottery grant successfull for Thomas Paine event

Lottery joy for Paine celebration
06 May 2008
Plans to celebrate the life of Thetford's most famous son have received a major boost with organisers almost reaching their £100,000 fundraising target.Officials behind the Tom Paine 200 event spoke of their delight last week after securing a £50,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.The cash boost means that Thetford can celebrate in style next year to mark the bicentenary of the death of the 18th century revolutionist and democratic hero.John Weeks, former Thetford Grammar School headteacher and festival coordinator, said the news of the lottery money meant that they had almost reached the £100,000 target launched five months ago to stage an ambitious programme of events to commemorate the achievements of the renowned writer in 2009.Oscar winning filmmaker and Paine fan Lord Attenborough is set to open a re-enactment event on June 6 and 7, which will cast Thetford back into the Georgian age. Street entertainers, drilling musketeers, and rabble rousing politicians will be just some of the characters populating the town centre on that weekend before a gala bicentenary dinner on Monday June 8 on the anniversary of Paine's death.The six month long celebrations will also include summer museum displays, workshops, story-telling, concerts, art exhibitions, school events, tours, lectures and a community play.Mr Weeks said the festival aimed to amuse and entertain as well as do justice to the serious issues Paine himself addressed in his forthright “commonsense” way.“We are planning an event which will attract visitors from abroad as well as from across the country. But at its heart, Tom Paine 200 is a chance for local people to come together, whether as individuals or through their community groups, to celebrate Paine and to celebrate Thetford.”“We are delighted that through this Heritage Lottery Fund grant has given us the chance to explore the energy, creativity and resolution of the town, past and present,” he said.Thomas Paine, who was born in Thetford in 1737 and was the son of a corset maker, was educated at the town's grammar school before leaving Norfolk at the age of 19. He went on to shape the American and French revolutions through his pamphleteering and his major works Common Sense, The Rights of Man and The Age of Reason.Robyn Llewellyn, head of Heritage Lottery Fund, East of England, said: “Thomas Paine is an important figure in both the history of Thetford and internationally and we are thrilled to be able to help fund this exciting opportunity for people to commemorate his life and works.”For more information, visit http://www.tompaine200.org.uk/.
Story Link:

Today at work...

I finally managed to finish a couple of funding bids at work today, I've been working on these for a good few weeks and it always takes longer to finish these things off then you might think. I submitted the application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for Keystone which, if successful, will pay for a series of workshops locally at the life of Charles Burrell the steam engine pioneer which is a key part of Thetford's history. It will also pay for a community garden to be put together near to the Charles Burrell High School in Thetford and it will pay to commission an artist to construct a metal sculpture of a steam engine. The second bid was on behalf of the Thetford Community Association, a local charity in Thetford. This was just for a few thousand pounds which they need to put with some money they already have confirmed from the Football Foundation. This money will pay for two evenings of football training courses for young people at the Thetford Ballpark. Both very worthwhile projects. I should also be able to finish off tomorrow the application to Awards for All which I have been working on with a local residents group - the Barnham Action Group, this will pay for a youth club (the Big Sitting Room) to take place on two evenings a week for the next year on the Barnham Cross Estate. Fingers crossed! :)

Monday, 5 May 2008

Statement from William Nunn

From the Breckland Council website:
Breckland council would like to thank residents who took the time to attend the public meeting in Thetford on Tuesday evening. William Nunn Leader of the Council said;
“We asked for this meeting to enable local people to voice their concerns and I believe that the meeting gave us a clear understanding of the frustration that Thetford residents are feeling, I want to reassure the public that Breckland is highly committed to Thetford’s future, as it is to all its communities. We will continue to invest in both services and projects to secure long term prosperity for the town and surrounding area. We will be working together with all our partners including the Thetford Town Council, Keystone, the County Council, and everyone dedicated to building on Thetford’s real community spirit. The Moving Thetford Forward Group involves us all and we will be consulting residents and local groups to make sure that new developments are in line with what residents want to happen and meet local needs.”

Letters... 30th April 2008

Letters... 16th April 2008

Hurrah for Bank Holidays!

How nice was it to not have to get up for work this morning! and to make things better, it is actually a nice sunny day. I have spent the morning putting together a mail-out to all members of the Labour Party here in the South West Norfolk Constituency. This is no easy task with over 150 members, it is suprising just how long it takes to print labels, put them on envelopes, attach stamps (thank-goodness for pre-sticky stamps!) and then stuff the envelopes with the letters etc. Oh well, hopefully it will be worth it. We have got Richard Howitt, the Labour MEP for the Eastern Region coming along to the next CLP meeting in a few weeks time so I am sure members will want to know about this and come along.

My first post!

Wow! Welcome to my first post. I have been thinking about starting my own blog for sometime but have worried that I may not have nothing interesting to write about or that I may not get time to write anything that often. However, today is the 4th May 2008 and I have been prompted to start the blog as nationally, the Labour Party has suffered what the media is describing as "its worst electoral defeat in 40 years". As somebody that reads many blogs on a regular basis and as a supporter of the Labour Party, I have become increasingly disappointed that there are very few blogs from a Labour Party perspective. I regularly read blogs such as Iain Dale, Guido Fawkes, Dizzy, Conservative Home, Little's Log, Norfolk Blogger and others and all of course are highly critical of the Government, sometimes justifiably, and sometimes I feel they can be very vindictive, unfair, and tirelessly search for bad news stories without giving a fair account of a situation, or express a balanced argument. With my blog, aptly called 'Jermy's Journal', I hope to give the views of somebody who supports the Labour Party, and the principles of the Labour Party and share my views to anybody that cares to read them. It is likely that I will predominantly comment on issues concerning our local Town, District and County Councils here in Thetford as these are of particular relevance and interest to me and I will also comment upon national topics and international topics. Here's to hopefully, many more blogs. TJUK2008