First published in The Felixstowe Flyer, October 2020.

Government’s Covid19 lurches from crisis to crisis

We have held back from being political in our column for several months, preferring instead to focus on the great community spirit shown by residents since the start of Covid 19 in the Spring, but we feel we cannot stay silent any longer s we watch the Prime Minister lurch from one crisis to another, many of which have been created by the Government itself.

Some may say it is easy to be critical from the sidelines, and to comment negatively with the benefit of hindsight, but we have chewed on our knuckles not to speak out sooner. It’s a triumph of hope over experience that the Government would prepare a plan of action to keep us all safe until the pandemic ends. Instead, the best ideas they could come up with were to lock up the elderly for twenty weeks and to remind everyone to wash their hands.

During the Summer the Chancellor invited us to stuff our faces with the “eat out to help out” scheme, whilst at the same time Boris hypocritically berated us all to lose weight. Unsurprisingly, with confusion over whether to wear a mask or not, and as a consequence of throwing caution to the wind with little regard for our waistlines, infection rates around the country are increasing daily.

It has just been announced that new restrictions will remain in force for at least another six months. Autumn is already looking grim for those who will mourn the earlier closing time of 10pm at the pub, while the rest of us roll our eyes at another ineffective Government to curb the killer virus.

As Suffolk has the second lowest number of Covid19 cases in the country, it all feels a bit surreal in Felixstowe. We can only hope that our mostly compliant residents continue to observe Government guidelines and that everyone downloads the new NHS Covid19 Track and Trace App[1], so that we can protect ourselves and others and get back to doing the things that we love.

Government planning reforms override the views of local people

Government bodging has extended its reach to the planning system with new policy measures being proposed which will result in Town and District Councils having less say in future planning applications with permitted development rights being extended. Instead of developers submitting applications for outline planning consent, there will be a presumption in favour of development, and it will be much easier to obtain a change of use for a building which further threatens our already struggling high street.

Disappointingly, despite our best efforts, East Suffolk Council voted to approve the new Local Plan which will see the creation of circa 4,000 new homes in the Felixstowe and Trimley Villages, many built on green fields usually reserved for agricultural use.

Labour is still fighting on the local issues that matter

We are headed for a Winter of Discontent, with residents quite rightly complaining that it’s about time the gutters and drains were cleared of debris, broken street lamps replaced, play equipment repaired, verges cut and the untidy site at the junction of Garrison Lane and High Road cleared up. We will continue to raise these and other issues on your behalf.

  1. The ‘NHS Track and Trace App’ referred to above is operated by Serco, not by the NHS.
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