Video: ‘I want other councils to follow Great Yarmouth’s lead’ - communities minister Eric Pickles in Norfolk

Cabinet minister, Eric Pickles visiting a construction site for the first new council homes in the Great Yarmouth borough for 20 years, which are also being built to an innovative energy-saving design.

Picture: James Bass Cabinet minister, Eric Pickles visiting a construction site for the first new council homes in the Great Yarmouth borough for 20 years, which are also being built to an innovative energy-saving design. Picture: James Bass

Friday, January 31, 2014
4:35 PM

Cabinet minister Eric Pickles has said he wants local authorities to work together to be more efficient.

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Cabinet minister, Eric Pickles visiting a construction site for the first new council homes in the Great Yarmouth borough for 20 years, which are also being built to an innovative energy-saving design.

Picture: James BassCabinet minister, Eric Pickles visiting a construction site for the first new council homes in the Great Yarmouth borough for 20 years, which are also being built to an innovative energy-saving design. Picture: James Bass

The secretary of state for communities and local government was visiting east Norfolk today, less than a week after Great Yarmouth Borough Council (GYBC) revealed the funding it will receive from Mr Pickles’ Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) would be £1m on this year’s grant.

The DCLG has indicated that GYBC’s funding for 2014/15 would be £7,023,364, a 13.8pc reduction on the £8,146,803 received in 2013/14, not including the efficiency support grant.

And while the Labour-led borough council has historically refused to share management with neighbouring authorities, Mr Pickles today said he wants to see more shared services.

“The last government abandoned a scheme which meant that Yarmouth was a bit be short of money, we’re protecting them from that but what we really want in return is for them to increase their efficiency, work better with adjoining authorities and reduce their cost,” said Mr Pickles.

In Caister-on-Sea this morning, Mr Pickles visited the first new council homes being built in the Yarmouth borough for 20 years.

A total of 12 homes are being built across the borough to an innovative energy-saving design - and Mr Pickles said Yarmouth was “leading the way” when it came to constructing affordable homes.

The project was allocated cash by Great Yarmouth Borough Council (GYBC) last year, with cash coming from tenants’ rents, developer contributions, the New Homes Bonus, and income from stock sold under the Right to Buy scheme.

“With another £23 billion public and private funding available from 2015, I want other councils to follow Great Yarmouth’s lead,” said Mr Pickles, who toured the site with Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis, meeting local councillors and representatives from construction body Beattie Passive Norse.

“I am impressed. I’d heard about this form of construction; it’s a very cheap way of building but you’re going to have a very high quality of house.

“This represents something that, if we can reduce cost of construction, we can reduce the cost of a house which will mean more in the reach of what people can afford.”

Penny Linden, Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s cabinet member for communities and chair for community housing, welcomed the opportunity to highlight what is happening in Caister.

“He’s come here and he’s said that Yarmouth is leading the way regarding these houses and that’s thrilling,” she said.

“And there will be more. We’ve signed up to use Right to Buy funding and put it towards new builds and besides, now that we’re self financing we can manage our own affairs and house building is one of the affairs we’re very interested in.

“GYBC does own land and community housing owns land so we’re looking for sites like these where we can infill; modestly to begin with but hopefully we’ll look at larger sites as well.”

Later in the morning, Mr Pickles met independent traders at the Fusion Hair Consultants salon in Gorleston to hear how businesses owners are trying to revive the high street. Car parking, business rates and out of town competition were high on the agenda.

Speaking after, Mr Lewis said: “Gorleston is a brilliant example of traders coming together to get things done. The town has a six per cent under occupancy rate which is well below the national average of 12 per cent.

“But it’s not just the retail side, the reason we met at Fusion was partly because of the fantastic academy Kevin has set up here, training the entrepreneurs of the future.”

10 comments

  • sorry, something did not work out during posting, somehow the letter has started again and in full in line 8.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, January 31, 2014

  • ...."Thanks for explaining - not that anyone was ever interested anyway. ".....well you must have been!

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    Rhombus

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Many more houses could be built in the borough if GYBC did not have to spend so much money making their properties habitable again when their tenants moved out.

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    BG

    Friday, January 31, 2014

  • Thanks for explaining - not that anyone was ever interested anyway.

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    Magwitch

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • The more you increase the population the more pressure on already stretched services, doctors, dentists, not enough full time jobs.. A&E more pressuse.. Who actually goes shopping in GY anymore for quality..?

    Report this comment

    Lionel

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

  • Bungalows!, blasted bungalows! What example is this setting to private developers. Many of them are too switched on to build bungalows. I would like to see developers innovating and creating a city centre style for rural communities and building truly desirable multi-occupancy buildings on sites like these. But why bungalows, or has a councillor or several councillors got an eye on a retirement property that will be cheap to run in twenty years time? They could also order the demolition of surrounding properties on the basis that they are not fit for purpose.

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    George Ezekial

    Friday, January 31, 2014

  • So Eric pickles wants other councils copy GYBC's bad recycling record? And whats ecological about this housing? Are the materials grown locally? Are they made from recycled materials? How much of the building site waste was seperated and recycled? Are they using cement? Hempcrete? Straw bales? Are there solar panels on the roof and can the tenents heat their water from a solar heater for six month of the year? Are the houses on a reedbed filter system or do they accrue standing charges and sewerage charges,So Eric pickles wants other councils copy GYBC's bad recycling record? And whats ecological about this housing? Are the materials grown locally? Are they made from recycled materials? How much of the building site waste was seperated and recycled? Are they using cement? Hempcrete? Straw bales? Are there solar panels on the roof and can the tenents heat their water from a solar heater for six month of the year? Are the houses on a reedbed filter system or do they accrue standing charges and sewerage charges? This fluffy articles claims a lot but delivers zilch. Try again, maybe questioning the builders provides relevant information to the ecological claim you made here, than than Eric Pickles party political press release, Ms. Rogers.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, January 31, 2014

  • From childhood memories. Is this the car parking area Charles ClosePlaying Field Area? If so, why are they building so close to the sea? Wouldn't the Cemetery End have been a better location with higher ground etcetera?

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    greyrider

    Monday, February 3, 2014

  • The council ought to have ditched the expensive and ultimately futile eco-nonsense and built more homes for the same money. Still, at least GYBC are building homes. A pity Pickles and Brandon Lewis were allowed to use this as a media opportunity when they are ideologically opposed to social housing. The sole credit for this should go to Yarmouth council's Labour Group.

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    Henry the cat

    Monday, February 3, 2014

  • His office has spent £76,000 in ONE year on tea and biscuits. He also ate SIX curries in one sitting. This man doesn't practice what he preaches on efficiency!

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Friday, January 31, 2014

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