Sunday, 31 May 2009

Photography competition for children in Thetford

About the competition: You need to submit two photographs about where you live, one photograph should show what you like most about where you live, and the other about what you like least about where you live. Each photograph should also have a small amount of text explaining why you have chosen each picture. Competition for young people aged 5 - 11 years and 11 - 18 years. How to submit your photograph: You can email them to or you can post them to; Photography Competition, Keystone Development Trust, The Limes, 32 Bridge Street, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 3AG Deadline for all entries; Wednesday 10th June 2009 For more information, contact 01842 821643

Friday, 29 May 2009

Leaflets, phone calls and unhappy residents

I've been spending a lot of time out and about recently, mainly due to the need to deliver literally thousands of leaflets - (trust me to be standing in the second biggest seat out of all 84 in Norfolk!) Although, ever the optimist, it is really good exercise, it gets me out and about in the fresh air and sunshine and I can speak to people as I'm going around. Plus, I pick up lots of things to report to either Breckland Council or Peddars Way, never any shortage of this, as these two latest photos demonstrate - both now sent off to Breckland. Furthermore, have just finished working my way through the 11 voicemails on my landline, mainly from residents, oh joy. Some happy customers, some very rude - politics really isn't for the faint hearted.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Abbey Barns; Town Council opts for weak stance

At the Town Council planning committee meeting last night (Weds 20th May 2009), we discussed an item put forward by a representative of the Thetford Society concerning the Abbey Barns. Planning permission has now been granted again by Breckland Council - controversially, and people are being encouraged to write to the Secretary of State to 'call in' the matter and decide if it should be upheld. You would therefore expect that Thetford Town Council would of course add its weight to the campaign and exercise its duty to provide a voice for the town. It did not. They voted to send no letter, or undertake any lobbying of any kind, merely to 'support' the Thetford Society's efforts, what form that 'support' might take was unclear. Some councillors actually thought this was indeed the wishes of the town as the majority of people did not care about the Barns. Whereas, a great many people have spoken to me about them - as a councillor, and as part of the 'West Thetford consultation' which I am working on as part of my Keystone role. Surely our council is there to lead and fight for what is right with gusto and determination. Not sit mealy mouthed mumbling theirselves into insignificance. NOTE: I've attached an example letter which can be sent to the Secretary of State should anyone so wish.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Norfolk Homewatch Saturday 16th May 2009

On Saturday I attended the Norfolk Homewatch event at County Hall. I had been invited to be a member of the 'question time' panel representing 'youth'. Not an enviable task at a 'homewatch' meeting given that I am sure most people there had issue with 'youth' for one reason or another. The main two questions I answered were about how to get more young people involved in Homewatch and their community. The main jist of my answer was that new technologies; i.e. blogs, facebook etc should be utilised far more then they are now - improving accessibility and the other question was around addressing the issue of youth nuisance / anti-social behaviour, so I reminded the audience that Norfolk has one of the lowest funded youth services in the country and much of what takes places is very piece-meal and short-term, and therefore community & youth workers have little time to establish relationships with the youth people and address some of the issues which exist. All in all I rather enjoyed the event and it was good to give a 'younger person' an opportunity to be on the panel.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Mayor Making Ceremony - 13th May 2009

Last night was the annual Mayor Making ceremony for Thetford Town Council. Every time I mentioned the title to someone that I was going to this, I needed to explain what exactly was 'Mayor Making' - what a pity that so few people in our town are aware of the customs and traditions of the town council. I get the feeling that some people view me as some kind of 'revolutionary' with no respect for such things as customs and traditions, maybe its because of my age, but actually this could not be further from the truth. I am very proud of Thetford, and I do respect the role of the council and its customs (although of course, none of them are properly explained or discussed with new councillors). I may sometimes get frustrated when customs and traditions stand in the way of progress, but on the whole, I would consider myself respectful of such things. It was my first Mayor Making ceremony as a councillor and I must confess to being exceptionally nervous! Our new Mayor, is Pam Spencer who I am sure was also very nervous, but did a great job last night and I wish her well for her year ahead.

Monday, 11 May 2009

and the nominations are....

St Mary the Less .....

The photos below are of St Mary The Less Church on Bury Road, Thetford. It is the oldest church in Thetford and as you can see from the photos, it is in a very bad state. Like so many other buildings around Thetford, The Mary The Less is owned by a private property developer - (if you could say developer?). The owner bought the building from the church, has done virtually nothing to it, applied and obtained planning permission to convert it into a house and attempted to sell it at a far greater price than what it was originally purchased for. Easy hey? Well no, because nobody has bought it, and several years and neglect are really now showing, particularly the gaping hole in the roof which must surely be affecting and weakening the whole building considerably. As ever, our local district council seems entirely ineffectual at forcing the landlord to do anything in regards to protecting this building, despite its Grade I listed status. The planning permission has now lapsed, and I cannot imagine that if it was obtained, there would be anymore demand for it as a house then there was previously, particularly given the economic climate. Maybe the price will continue to drop and some other well intentioned organisation, or person, could purchase it, and make the improvements it so desperately need. What a fantastic beacon for Thetford this could be with enough thought and investment. Update: St Mary the Less is a grade II - not a Grade I.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Redcastle Estate

This morning, I delivered a leaflet around St Martin's Way, St John's Way and Prior Stephen Way. On my travels I spotted numerous things requiring attention which I have now reported to Breckland Council.