Last week I attended a packed meeting of local people at the Whitton Residents' Hall.
The purpose of the public meeting was to hear about plans for new houses on the Jeld Wen playing field, the County Wildlife Site behind it and the Brooke industrial site
The message from residents was clear. We need more jobs, not just more homes. On the former Brooke Marine site, there are over 120 existing industrial and technical jobs. By proposing to develop this area for housing, Tory WDC would see these existing jobs kicked out of the area. This is prime industrial land, with businesses choosing to locate there because of its access to Lake Lothing, not in spite of it. That’s why offers of land on the South Lowestoft Industrial Estate for these businesses are nonsensical. Having met with the largest of these businesses, Bob Blizzard told us at the meeting that the firm is considering relocating out of the area completely, if moved from their current site at Brooke Marine. Equally, some of these businesses want to expand, but can’t, because of the uncertainly created by these housing proposals. We should be celebrating skilled jobs in our town, and supporting the growth of more, not pushing them away.
We do need more homes in Lowestoft. That’s why nationally Labour has pledged to build 200,000 per year across the country. But, just because we support building new homes, to help deal with our housing crisis, doesn’t mean we should automatically support every ill-thought housing proposal that is brought forward. When we think the plans are wrong for our community, we should say so.
Tory Cllr, David Ritchie, talks about many jobs being created from the proposed development. Can I ask how, when the only employment on the site will be a small school and a shop? They will certainly not make up for the loss in jobs caused by the displacement of existing firms.
Cllr Nick Webb
Labour Councillor for Whitton