A selection of letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, April 25.
REGULATIONS ON AFFORDABLE HOMES
An article in the April 11 edition of the Bury Free Press referred to the fact that Breckland Council has not achieved 40 per cent affordable housing. What the article didn’t say was how much this is a matter of regret for both myself and all Breckland councillors.
Because of changes in market conditions a figure less than 40 per cent is often
unavoidable. New government guidance addressing the national housing shortage, now requires councils to ensure that housing development schemes are financially viable for the developer.
Councils must not require a developer to include a percentage of affordable housing that would not be economically viable for the company. In the current market conditions developments with 40 per cent affordable housing are not always financially viable for developers.
Here in Breckland we require developers to tell us their anticipated income from the sale of houses, and these are independently checked by the district valuer. For larger developments, the council will enter into legal agreements which include claw-back clauses so that, if the scheme is more profitable for the developer than originally envisaged, Breckland can secure an additional contribution. Either in the form of more affordable homes within the development, or a financial contribution used to fund affordable housing through a housing association.
The needs of Breckland residents is always our overriding concern. Through the planning system, our aim is to provide housing for local people and to achieve the highest percentage of affordable units that government guidelines and market conditions allow.
-- Cllr Elizabeth Gould, Breckland Council executive member for planning, building control and housing
WORKWISE IS A HIDDEN GEM
I feel I must put pen to paper and publicly applaud the brilliantly talented team from Workwise, Bury St Edmunds, based at Moreton Hall.
For those who don’t know, Workwise has been around for almost 30 years, helping individuals with mental health and physical disabilities to regain confidence, motivation and self-esteem in the workplace.
This has led to a whole host of employment opportunities as well as volunteering and further education.
It is an incredibly worthwhile mission that deserves support for its values and goals alone.
But what makes the Workwise team stand out even further is the incredible care and talent it possesses.
From the magnificent handmade oak signs courtesy of the joinery team (who can literally make the majority of things requested) led by instructors Lee Coe and Matt Magnus, to the quality and cost-effectiveness of T-shirts and bespoke embroidered products from Doreen Smith, Shelly O’Brien and many, many more very special talented team members. They offer great value for money with everything single thing they produce.
The depth of the services they can offer continues to amaze me and it is a crying shame that more people don’t know about their attention to detail and real quality of their work. Just one look at their website, http://workwise.org.uk, highlights both their fantastic work and also what they bring to our local community.
They truly are a hidden gem of Bury St Edmunds and long may they continue to be so. Working with them is an absolute pleasure on every level.
I hope your readers will follow suit and consider giving them a call.
-- Gina Long, Bury St Edmunds
I was wondering if any of your readers would be willing to help me. As 2014 is 100 years since the start of World War One, I am undertaking a project to photograph and record and document the headstones of those service personnel who gave their lives in the two world wars. Would any of your readers be willing to visit their local cemetery and photograph the gravestones, providing details of the cemetery. Photographs to show the front of the headstone so that all names and details can be recorded. If so, please email details to firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Clive Roberts, via email
ONLY ‘PROGRESS’ IS TO BOTTOM LINE
Journalist Camille Berriman writes – and shows concern – about the spread of machinery replacing people in the workplace, ending her comments asking the question ‘is this progress?’. Surely the only ‘progress’ is shown in the bottom line of any company’s accounts using machines as substitutes for people. Recently a person wrote in complaining about Barclays Bank having become fully automated, and I have noticed the original four self-service checkouts at Asda’s have bred, and, in a remarkably short gestation period, have become eight.
Unless we are prepared to have our lives run by machines (accompanied by the inevitable loss of countlessnumbers of – human – jobs) the obvious alternative is to stop using self-checkouts in supermarkets, where just one person oversees four checkouts and, in the case of the bank, change to another, and providing we all stick together, it would only be a matter of time before not only governments but companies would have to do u-turns.
-- Brian Davies, Bury St Edmunds
WHAT’S HAPPENED TO BIG CONCERTS?
We all welcome the return of the festival to its full 10 days of various events, but what’s happened to the outdoor music events usually held on the last weekend in the Abbey Gardens and attended by hundreds of people?
-- Tony and Dawn Mildinhall, via email