I woke up to a heavy cold. OK, I’ll tell it to go away, that always works, but my voice is not working well so there’s no audio today.
There’s a useful social media called Streetlife: http://www.streetlife.com. I like it as it appears to be British- yes, isn’t that great! It covers local areas, and I’m a member for my part of Suffolk.
It’s about the only platform people have to discuss local issues. It works well, but needs many more people.
One or two of our local Councillors ventured on to the site but soon disappeared. When questioned by one of their colleagues they apparently said they were put off by personal attacks by certain individuals. Searching through the site it’s difficult to find these attacks. Clearly people have questioned some Council decisions, and very rarely an individual has been identified but these Councillors are in the public domain, they are there to represent the local people. They will never please all of the people all of the time. Criticism comes with the post.
I’m often asked why I don’t stand for Council.
I have tried. At the last election I contacted the local Conservative Party and asked for my name could be included. I never received a reply, despite several requests.
My critics tell me to ‘Do Something’, don’t just criticise.
It’s time just to list some of my activities over the last decade:
1. The Spa Pavilion management contract came up for renewal. I built a team of about twenty local people to take over the management. They included experts in theatre management, film and TV, restaurants, builders, lawyers and accountants. We were told that the Council would not give us a penny. We went ahead, with a carefully costed plan that split the theatre in half, added a fly tower (to take West End shows), had an internationally-famous chef managing the restaurant and created a continental-style cafeteria and shop. It was to open at 8am and close after midnight. Plans included an outside performance area, a multi-storey car park (we had a sponsor for that) and much more.
We were turned down because, as a group, we had no financial experience. As one example I was the money man behind any number of shopping centres, including Lakeside.
The chosen contractors, an international company, were immediately given £175,000, that rose to £225,000 – by which time they managed just 30 performances a year!
2. Herman de Stern Built as a convalescent/retirement home it was purchased by the Council for £54,000. They paid for plans to turn it into a small theatre. Along came Bloor Homes wanting to build on 17.6 acres of prime coastal land, owned by the Council. They wanted the Herman removed. Planning permission was granted and the day after that the Herman caught fire. Insured for £1 million I suggested we could still go ahead with the theatre. The Council paid £27,000 to have it demolished. To date we have no idea how much Bloor Homes have paid for this publicly-owned land, which must be valued at about £30 million.
3. Felixstowe Radio 107.5 FM was started in my small front room. For four years I worked ceaselessly to obtain a licence and raise funds, and we built a studio at Great Eastern Square and had 65 great volunteers.
To support that initiative I became a trustee at Suffolk Association of Voluntary Organisations, a director of Social Enterprise East of England, a Council Member of the Community Media Association and a director of Community Media Forum Europe. Collectively they were more than a full-time job, and I never received any payment.
4. I have run Author-Publisher Network, helping many hundreds of writers to publish their own work. I’m a member of several local associations, and try to play an active role in the community, including the Felixstowe Seafront Gardens Committee to which I was elected. A further meeting was held and I was thrown off – in order to do that they had to rewrite the constitution – so they did.