- Disastrous Riverside Road
- Project to go Ahead
- Serious Questions Remain Unanswered
On Wednesday 30 January Lowestoft Coalition Against the Cuts had the chance to put the concerns about the Riverside Road accommodation Project to Waveney District Council. LCAC thanks all those who made this possible by signing our petition either online or in the precinct.
Unfortunately councillors were unable or unwilling to provide any answers. Here is how it went: LCAC: You have halved WDC staff numbers in the last five years and more redundancies are to come. Why does the business plan contain no assessment of future staff numbers? How do you know what to build? No answer.
LCAC: Are the Riverside Road offices being built for the private and outsourced partners who will contribute nothing? No answer.
LCAC: The plan, co-written by Norfolk Property Services, involves selling off about ten properties. NPS stands to collect a commission when it sells them. Is this right? No answer. (LCAC has found out that NPS does stand to profit in this way.)
LCAC: If you are centralising services why have you got two centres, the Marina and Riverside Road Offices? Doesn’t this defeat the object? No answer.
LCAC: Whose bright idea was it build on Riverside Road and to shift five hundred jobs away from theHigh Street and town centre shopping areas? “Riverside Road is in the centre. It is the centre.” (Colin Law, Tory, Council Leader. Laughter in the Chamber followed.)
LCAC: Have you made an impact assessment of the effect on shops and other businesses of moving five hundred jobs out of town? No answer. (LCAC has found out that no impact assessment has been made.)
LCAC: Why was the redevelopment of the Town Hall site not considered as an option? No answer. LCAC: Why was the site occupied by the old WDC
Housing Offices not considered. It is central, is owned by the Council and could contain all Council departments. No answer.
Green Councillor Graham Elliot pointed out that building offices outside the Town Centre broke Waveney’s own planning guidelines. Curiously, he got no answer either. On the fate of the Town Hall there was much waffle, Tory Councillor Martin Parsons entered fantasy land with the building becoming the centre of a “erm, cafe, artistic quarter”. The people are to be “engaged” about its future. And then the project was voted through.
Only five voted against, four Labour and one Green. Waveney District Council is to decide whether the project gets planning permission – LCAC is opposing this stitch up.