Readers may be interested that I will be closing my antiques shop at the end of this month. Increasing commitments in a time of low over the counter sales has meant that I will be concentrating on internet, mail and fairs for trade over the next period. This was a sad decision as we had been in Cuthbert Court for one month short of five years and generally enjoyed being a tenant of Michael Fanthorpe.
What this will mean for Jacqueline and I is that we will have a greater flexibility on our hours of work. For our customers, we will have a bit of a sale on all but central items of stock until the end of the month. For some of the charities we support, a few bags of goodies to sell. For my constituents, I will be a bit more available in time terms, but not actually in the shop. By the 30th of October all of our stock will be in the new lockup facility in Dereham, but we will still be buying and selling, so keep in touch.
On October 2nd I attended a symposium entitled Gambling Protections, Controls and the role of Local Authorities on behalf of the Council in my role as Chairman of Licensing.
A number of changes were proposed and over the next year some of them will be introduced by government. I have filed a fuller report with Breckland Council, which can be available on request to interested parties, but in brief
The Gambling Industry said:-
Proposes a number of measures to mitigate the problem gambling concerns into a code of practice. These include
Account based gambling, normal at the moment for amounts over £250 per session
Challenge 25 (or21) with additional training on how to ‘challenge’ and challenge early
Set Limits for regular users
Introduce or strengthen Warnings and Pauses
Introduce facial recognition systems so that problem gamblers are excluded from all not just one establishment
The charities said - regarding problem gambling:-
That whilst the voluntary is laudable it should be in fact the law and suggest.
Exclusion and personal and temporary exclusion should be increased
Annual risk assessments
Stop linking rewards to gambling (pay £10 get £30) etc
To be excluded a person has to visit all betting shops in an area, “the addict to the source of his addiction”?
The Government added:-
Gambling machine should have a mandatory pause after every £250 or 30 mins use
Should have accounts at over £50. per session
Must have more staff/customer interaction
Interaction must be repeated within the defined limits
Intervention must be up-front ie before play
Additional information and concerns include
The fact that before recent industry suggestions it was found that 98% of establishments failed in good practice inspections, now some 80% pass
stop when they reach the limit of their money
Some 85% when they reach the end of their time
What Breckland should do:-
Keep up with licensing laws (2015
Ensure that we establish a policy and principles for limiting betting shops with cause and evidence
What I will do:-
Take up the offer by the principle legal advisor to the four big chains for me to spend time in a betting shop, just deciding whether this should be within Breckland or out?
Get the statistics for problem gambling in Breckland from contacts made
Attended the induction of the New vicar for the FLEBBS benefice last night. I am always heartened to attend such a service which does so emphasise the work that the Church of England does within our communities. I hope in future that I will be able to work with her within the five villages (soon to be six if I am elected).
Welcome Lyn Page to your new work among us, I overheard the old superstition as I walked to the village hall, they are expecting an eleven year incumbency.
Whatever it is I do wish you well
3.5 hours of intensive debate in Breckland this morning-District Plan-most important issue.
Planning is the issue every District Council Member gets involved with most. Today attended one of a long series of meetings to hammer out exactly where the District will go on this.
I was pleased to be able to raise a number of points as they affect Eynsford Ward and of course the whole District. Town and Parish Councils will of course be entitled to make comment on all of this alongside developers, landowners and interested members of the public, when officers have taken account of all the points elected members raised today, (and previously) and this section will be set before Cabinet very soon and then Full Council before going to consultation.
I make issue on this as a matter of record. I was very offended last Friday when the EDP called Breckland to account for lack of debate. Since then I have personally been involved in some 6 hours debate in the chamber, plus the travel and reading up beforehand which pretty much doubles the time spent actually hammering out the details. This is pretty standard stuff. Checking my diary I expect to spend another 15/16 hours plus on Breckland work this week. When the matter of the Local Plan does go to Council I expect it will pass through in a very few minutes, but thats so every member can approve it or record their disapproval and that is democracy. This is of course after countless hours of work and debate by officers and members.
It is vital that every member and every parish has its say. I will be fighting for a fair deal for all rural parishes, not just in my ward, but we really must work hard and together to get the right out-turn this time around.
Follow me on twitter @gordonbambridge
It is my aim to directly contact all who comment on my Blog, but this is increasingly easy to miss a genuine contact. I get so many people who are just trying to sell me something, improve their english or just want to ride on the back of a blog for promoting some way out philosophy that I may have deleted you unread, I have had as many as 168 between my opening the page!!!!
Any genuine person wishing to contact me please do it through my email or twitter, if you have a genuine comment I will take it on board.
Have a good weekend, why am I not outside in the sun?
I have had a telephone call telling me that the statement of common interests on the A1067//A47 link road has been agreed and that mitigation will be applied before building, This is great, it is the very best we could have expected from the current situation. I will blog again when I have seen the actual document, and give the link for the statement and announcements .
This will apply to most of the problem areas, but one, the route North from North Tuddenham to the A1067 via Lyng village (Heath Road) has not had modelling done. This is one of the routes I particularly raised with the Planning Inspectorate, but I am told it has been taken account of and I am assured that funding will be allocated for such modelling and mitigation measures also. I will keep an eye on this.
Thanks are due to Paul Claussen, and Brian Rose from Breckland alongside Mark Kiddle-Morris, Richard Hawker for his alerts and of course the Breckland officers who did much of the work for us in getting matters before the County and the PINS. Paul and I, with Brian, spent most of a day at the hearings in August, and we were both able to speak, I missed the later hearing but again Paul underlined the way that all parishes affected by the out-turn of a major road onto what is effectively a dead end.
We will all need to continue to monitor what is going on with both County and the Highways agency as the only viable long term solution is for a proper joining of the NDR with the A47, and this close to Norwich. In the meantime we must protect our citizens and villages.
I believe that this has shown just what can be achieved by local politicians working with and for the community
I really must pass comment on todays EDP front page on Brecklands ‘short’ full council meeting yesterday. I also emphasise that this is a personal view.
Cllrs Jermy and Gilbert are both quoted, but is seems to me they are being unfair and deliberately ignoring the way that this district council (and many others) work. The nitty gritty of debate mostly takes place in committees and working groups, almost all of which are fully open to the public, and certainly open to ALL members of the council. and of course are politically balanced. I recognise that the Labour members in Breckland are few, and with just 8 opposition in total, so Cllr’s Jermy and Gilbert may well feel outnumbered, but thats the will of the voters. I have never seen blatant shouting down of speakers in any meetings, although occasionally there is some ‘political banter’.
It is perhaps a pity that the ‘Third Estate” gives so little regard to the voters interests in the Breckland area by not attending more meetings, indeed they were not at yesterdays Council meeting, nor at the many meetings where the real debate had taken place on the issues raised yesterday.
Personally I attend meetings where matters of interest or which affect my ward are discussed and decisions are taken, as well as all those which affect the majority of voters in Breckland. To my mind thats why I am elected.
As an example, on the same day as the Council referred to, Cllr Jermy who is actually a member of a committee which had a meeting and spent two and a half hours thrashing out details of Brecklands ICT with members and officers, apologised for non attendance, as he was attending another meeting in Thetford, but that is no reason to then complain about lack of debate. It was after all his decision not to attend the debate. We all make our own priorities. Cllr Gilbert could also, no doubt, have attended that meeting and joined in the debate if he felt he had an interest.
Members of the Council and journalists such as Andrew Fitchett will already be aware of this, but members of the public could easily be misled by both the quotations in the article and the so called “What should have been on the agenda” comments which are at best misleading and at worst downright incorrect. As a member at Breckland Council, (and perhaps I need to apologise for being a conservative?) I am entitled to attend and speak at any committee meeting, but only to vote if I am a member of that committee. Now that is where and when I would bring up matters at full council IF I feel the committee has made a wrong decision. and YES I have done this in the past.
Thats why all councillors have to vote on most matters and why this sometimes seems to be a rubber stamp at Council, we have already had the debate! we are now approving the decision! Apart from individual detail committees and panels almost all matters and certainly all major matters, pass through the Scrutiny process and the Cabinet before Council. This is why I usually attend both of these, although I am a member of neither. All Breckland Councillors can attend and can speak/debate/promote ideas and of course they are open to the press and public to attend . This is where the debate and argument takes place.
I first became a conservative when Harold Macmillan was PM I suppose I am a Working Class Tory, members of Breckland, and especially the cabinet, will be aware that over the twelve years I have been a councillor I do not always support every proposal they make, I have often not succeeded when suggesting changes, but sometimes I have persuaded them to a change in policy. Always of course I accept the will of the majority in council, that is democracy. As a councillor I have the duty of representing the people of the ward who elected me. If a breckland policy opposes that, or on a matter of belief or conscience, I disagree I will and do speak and vote against it in committee or in council. It is not only my right it is my duty. Whatever party we belong to we all represent the views of our constituents and should and indeed are at Breckland I feel respected as such
To all parish councillors in Eynsford Ward
Members of the Parish Council will be aware that I was effectively de-selected as Conservative candidate for the new Upper Wensum ward by the allocations panel. I had protested this decision but was advised that it was irreversible. However over the last few days the decision has again been questioned and last night at the executive meeting it was reversed. I do thank all of those who supported me and lobbied on my behalf. I am really appreciative for the comments, telephone calls and emails of support I have received.
I can now confirm that I will now be the prospective conservative candidate for Upper Wensum ward at Breckland in May 2015. This will be alongside Bill Borrett in what will be a two person ward. Bill will of course also remain the County member for most of the new enlarged ward
The Ward will consist of the villages of:-
Bawdeswell, Billingford, Bintree, Brisley, Bylaugh, Elsing, Foxley, Gateley, Guist, Hockering, Lyng, North Elmham, North Tuddenham, Sparham, Twyford, and the hamlets and settlements between.
Thats 15 villages, albeit some are very small, and about 1 1/2 times the number of voters which Bill and I currently represent together. As both successful candidates will become jointly responsible and therefore will both represent all the people we cannot divide the ward although I do pledge, if elected, to work with Bill, I hope, or any other elected person for the good of the whole Ward. I will also pledge to attend as many as possible of all Parish Council meetings, and to continue to fully represent the area and it’s people in Breckland.
It must be emphasised that the change of boundaries was forced upon Breckland as a council and was not sought or indeed supported by any I know of. I did, as many are aware, alongside a few other councillors, submit alternative suggestions which the LABC chose to ignore. I know some of you did the same. Between now and Christmas I will develop my own manifesto, along side Bill, and will no doubt speak to many parishioners as I move through the villages.
One offer I do make is that if any group wishes to know more about Breckland or what I stand for I am happy to attend small meetings and answer any questions or hear your concerns in a non party political manner. Speak to me for details.
I am often critical of planning committee decisions but today they got it right. (twice actually) The matter of interest to me was the application for over 250 houses etc between Derham and Yaxham had just not been thought through enough and the weaknesses were revealed by the committee.
Planning officers are of course the experts in planning regulations and laws, but, and it is a big but! they do need to follow the lead of the councillors who are the representatives of the voters in Breckland. Today it was right to reject the recommendations they had been given.
In my opinion there were a number of reasons for rejection, but they ‘deferred’ the decision giving the applicants and officers time to work out matters which are more acceptable to the local community. I await its return with interest.
So why do I have an interest? Well next May I am moving wards and Yaxham which overlooks the site will be in that ward. I have in my pre election moves around the New Mattishall Ward (East Tuddenham, Garveston, Mattishall, Whinburgh, Westfield and Yaxham) spoken to many concerned residents and will begetting up to speed it the event of me being elected I can then take issue if it is not concluded by then.
Residents in the area can always contact me with concerns email@example.com 07540 973229
Residents across Breckland are being encouraged to join together to see if they could help each other make real savings on their energy bills.
Breckland’s Big Switch and Save has been organised by Breckland Council and aims to unite households across the district in saving money on their gas and electricity bills. The initiative works by signing up hundreds of local homes to the programme and then negotiating tariffs on mass to get energy providers’ cheapest deals.
This is the third time the initiative has run in Breckland. Last time (November 2013), more than 1,500 people from the district signed up to take part, with those choosing to make the switch to a cheaper tariff averaging savings of £104.69.
“The prospect of potentially gaining hundreds or thousands of new customers can be a great way to get providers’ best deals, so it is an initiative that brings benefits for everyone!”
To take part in Breckland’s Big Switch and Save, residents simply need to complete an online form detailing their name, address, energy usage, and current tariff. The scheme is absolutely free, there’s no obligation for people to change suppliers if they decide not to, and there are no charges for taking part.
Once the registration period closes, Breckland will work with its partner, ichoosr, to invite energy providers from across the country to bid for the custom of the residents who have signed up. Following this ‘reverse auction’, each registered resident will be sent a personalised offer by the winning energy provider.
If people like the offer, Breckland and ichoosr will support them to make the switch. If residents choose not to change suppliers, they simply take no action and remain with their current provider and on their current tariff.
For more information, including a short film about the process, and to sign up go to: www.breckland.gov.uk/content/brecklands-big-switch-and-save. People who don’t have access to the internet can also sign up by calling Breckland’s Customer Service team on 01362 656870. Residents must register their interest before October 14 to take part.
Residents living outside of Breckland’s boundaries can still benefit from the Switch and Save initiative as it is also being run by district councils across the county.