New town and parish councils for Lowestoft and Oulton Broad could start work next year

KirkleyPHOTO: Nick Butcher

KirkleyPHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

It has been described as a 'democratic deficit' which a coastal town has suffered from for far too long.

Lowestoft town centre.

Lowestoft town centre. - Credit: Nick Butcher

But Lowestoft could soon finally have its own town council after a proposal was put forward to create a new organisation to represent the area.

Although smaller neighbouring areas such as Southwold, Kessingland and Carlton Colville have long had their own councils, Lowestoft – a town of thousands of people – has never had a similar grassroots body to fight for people's interests.

So Waveney District Council carried out a public consultation earlier this year to ask people if they would like to see a town council representing the whole town, or a series of parish councils covering smaller areas.

After two thirds of those who responded backed the idea of some sort of council, it has now made a final recommendation of a single authority over Lowestoft and a separate Oulton Broad Parish Council.

The move will not be cost-free for residents – in Lowestoft, people living in a Band B property will pay £91.35 per year, or £1.76 per week, for the new council, while in Oulton Broad the cost will be £40.99 per year or 79p per week.

However, Waveney District Council leader Colin Law said: 'These new councils would fill an important democratic gap.'

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Desmond Baldry, who runs Desmond's coffee shop in London Road South, Kirkley and has been running a 'Kirkley Parish Council-in waiting', said the town council would have some benefit in fighting for extra funding for the area.

Areas such as Kirkley will also be represented on the new authority by individual ward councillors, although Mr Baldry said: 'I still think a separate parish council for Kirkley would have been more appropriate.'

The final proposal can be viewed at www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/lowestoftcgr, at the Marina Customer Services Centre or at the council's Riverside offices in Canning Road.

Residents have until October 31 to submit comments on the final proposal, with a decision due to be made at a full council meeting on November 16. If it gets the green light, elections to the council would take place on May 4.

Do you think Lowestoft should have its own town council? Email andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk

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