Lowestoft Town Council has a strong commitment to Lowestoft’s heritage and locally-significant archive collections and is concerned about the threatened closure of the Records Office in Lowestoft. The Town Council is pleased that the decision has been put on hold and hopes this indicates that there is due recognition to the importance of maintaining and safeguarding relevant records locally. The Town Council is always watchful and concerned when policy positions appear to favour Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds and should changes proceed, would wish to see full recognition not only of the importance of local heritage but also the need to ensure local people are able to access this information. The Council, newly created in 2017, will be greatly disappointed if there is not meaningful consultation with the Council and the community about the options which might now be explored to ensure preservation, enhancement and accessibility of Lowestoft’s heritage collections. The Council continues to monitor developments at the Records Office and to consider the impact any changes might have on Lowestoft library. The Council would welcome any views from local people.
Lowestoft gets the most Easterly Charter Oak.
One of the earliest acts of Lowestoft Town Council was to sign up to the Charter for Trees, Woods and People. It seemed highly appropriate to mark the beginning of the new council with committing to one of our most important resources, especially as they both took place in the same year.
The Charter was initiated by the Woodland Trust in response to the crisis facing trees and woods in the UK. On 6 November 2017, on the 800th anniversary of the 1217 Charter of the Forest, the new Charter for Trees, Woods and People was launched at Lincoln Castle – home to one of the two remaining copies of the 1217 Charter of the Forest.
In 1217 the Charter of the Forest was signed by Henry III to protect the rights of free men in England to access and use the Royal Forests which has been set aside as the King’s hunting grounds. Prior to this, anyone entering Royal Forests to access sustainable benefits, such as firewood, could be punished severely for stealing. 800 years on the role of trees and woods in the lives of people living in the UK has changed, but trees and woods are in need of protection more now than ever.
As part of the Charter Tree initiative 800 Charter Trees will be planted across the UK to commemorate the 800 years that have passed since the Charter of the Forest. The town council applied to have one of these trees for Lowestoft but have been lucky enough to get two, a Sessile Oak and a Scot’s Pine. They are both very young native trees which will hopefully grow and become recognisable features of our landscape and a source of pride for Lowestoft.
The Sessile Oak was planted by the Mayor, Cllr Ian Graham, in Sparrow’s Nest at 1pm on the 5th of February. Local Councillors from both the Town and District Council were present as well as student and staff representatives from the Denes High School, representatives from the Lowestoft Maritime Museum, Royal Naval Patrol Service and Museum, the War Memorial Museum, the Lowestoft Movie Makers Club (who filmed the event), Waveney Norse and several members of the public as well as local media. The Scot’s Pine will be planted later in the year when the work on the East of England Park allows.
The town council is committed to caring for the trees and open spaces it looks after for the town. It has already drafted a tree policy and is starting to set up Friends groups for our parks, open spaces and play areas to give a wider voice to the local community. The council also wants to work with local community groups and schools to catalogue all our trees as well as annually inspect and measure them so that future generations know their history and can enjoy them as well.
Contact details for the Council:
Tel: 0330 053 6019
For immediate release
Last year Waveney District Council increased the overall council tax cost to the Lowestoft taxpayer in creating the Town Council with no corresponding decrease in their own element of the council tax and with insufficient consultation with the people of Lowestoft. The Town Council noted that, in the rush to create the Town Council and transfer mainly non-revenue earning assets, the District Council had forcibly transferred many assets in a poor state of repair, left unfunded future project commitments (created by the District Council) and provided the Town Council with a budget that contained errors and was unrealistic considering the commitments transferred by the District Council.
Last night, following a lengthy budget-setting process, a proposed budget was placed before Full Council. A wide-ranging debate took place prior to the council voting in favour of accepting the budget. There were serious concerns that the Council would be requesting 13.32% increase. However, it was noted that, due to the small level of the current precept this would in effect increase the precept by 29p per week for a Band D property. If this budget had been set last year, the increase would have been just a further 1% on the increase set by Waveney.
The Mayor, Cllr Ian Graham, said "This is the biggest transfer to a newly created Council from a District Council for many years. We are determined to improve Lowestoft and not to manage its continuing decline. We have 20 unpaid local councillors committed to making things better, providing better value for money, bringing in new benefits for local people and ensuring that in the future there is genuine community consultation and involvement."
Our plans for the upcoming year include: a major Lowestoft-wide community consultation on the services and assets we provide; improving children’s play areas and actively seeking friends groups to help shape the future of their parks; seeking grants and conducting structural surveys for our heritage assets, including the Town Hall, to help protect them for future generations; consulting with the National Association of British Market Authorities about reinstating a market in the town; work with the people of Lowestoft to develop a Neighbourhood Plan for the future of Lowestoft; providing a community voice, including when cuts to services affect local people; and sponsoring events and festivals, including for the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Among other things, as part of its efforts to help increase the health of local people and encourage social and physical activity, the Town Council has made the decision to remove the charges for its leisure facilities, such as tennis, bowls, football and cricket from April 2018. Look out for details of the new booking system on the Council’s website in due course. This has already received a warm welcome from groups which could otherwise not have afforded to use the facilities.
The Mayor said: "We have now provided a strong foundation for the future which ensures the Council should not need to increase the budget more than inflation in future years."
Assets and contracts were transferred to the Town Council on 1 April 2017 through a Reorganisation Orderi drawn up by Waveney District Council. The District Council set the budget at £1,392,280. The first councillors were elected in May 2017 and the inaugural meeting was held on 16 May 2017. This was the first opportunity for councillors to consider the significant number of assets which had been transferred before the Town Council was able to make any decisions. The total payable per year (2018/19) for Lowestoft Town Council is shown below:
i The Waveney District Council (Reorganisation of Community Governance) Order 2017 can be viewed on the Town Council website.
District Council is empowered to create new councils and make such transfers under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007.
|The Lowestoft Town Council Precept||2018/19 Per year (£)|
On the 15th and 16th January Oulton Road and Snape Drive will be closed between 9:30 and 15:00 for road repairs and to clear vegetation. More details can be found here.
On the 20th December Lowestoft Town Council held a Christmas Market at the Triangle Market. If you would like to see a regular market there, let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
North Lowestoft has been chosen as one of the country’s latest Heritage Action Zones, John Glen, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, today announced in a speech.
There is a vacancy for a Councillor to serve the Pakefield Ward, which will be filled through Co-option at the Full Council meeting on the 10th November 2017.
Kensington Road will be closed between 6th November 2017 and 4th June 2018 to accommodate the CEFAS development. The notice of closure can be found here.
Three free events are being offered by Waveney District Council over the half term. More details can be found on Waveney District Council's website.