Bonkers to move to Yarmouth Road

IT is absolutely right that officials from Endeavour House should have considered all the options when applying for government cash to improve the county's fire stations.

IT is absolutely right that officials from Endeavour House should have considered all the options when applying for government cash to improve the county's fire stations.

But the idea of spending officer time - and the inevitable money it involves - in drawing up a planning application for a new fire station in Yarmouth Road seems absolutely bonkers.

If you were trying to find a worse place for an important fire station you'd be hard pressed.

It is vulnerable to flooding from two different river sources, and it's right on one of the most congested junctions in the whole county.

Has anyone at Endeavour House ever tried to get through the London Road lights at 5pm, or do they follow the lead of the rest of us and take a detour via Woodbridge to avoid them?

So far as the flooding is concerned, the council must know that the government's Environment Agency is very concerned about potential problems. The Agency blocked proposals to move Ipswich police station to a different site on the flood plain.

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And if there was any doubt that the site is vulnerable to flooding, the council only has to look at the Agency's website and enter its postcode - it's right in the middle of the flood risk area.

Given all this. And given the fact that council keeps telling us how strapped for cash it is. Is it really a good use of valuable officer time to spend weeks or months drawing up all the necessary planning documents?

I know that unlike a private individual or organisation they won't have to pay a fee for the application - but the fact is they will have to pay the fees of architects, strategic fire chiefs and planning officers to look it over.

How many tens of thousands of pounds will that cost? How many home helps could that provide to people in need? How many sessions in day centres for vulnerable people would that buy?

You don't find commercial organisations making applications for schemes that they know will be rejected because it would cost them.

That logic doesn't seem to apply at Endeavour House in this case. Just because the cost isn't obvious doesn't mean it isn't there.

This whole application has the look of giving something for the boys to do while the most vulnerable people in the county are seeing their services cut back. And that stinks.

WHEN the Conservative government of the early 1990s looked at whether to reorganise local authorities, the county and borough councils went for each other with a real vengeance.

Eventually the county won. The status quo was retained and relationships were rebuilt.

When the current government announced it was again looking at structures, I was told by both county and borough bosses this would be very different from last time.

“We shan't be lobbying against other,” I was told. “We'll just be putting the positive side of our arguments to the minister.”

I must confess that the cynical side of my nature came to the fore - I thought I'd believe that when I saw it!

And sure enough the two sides haven't been able to resist going at it hammer and tongs - especially when they know I don't have a pen in my hand!

Of course this is all given added piquancy by the fact that the Ipswich and Suffolk's headquarters now face each other across Russell Road - which must surely be planning to twin itself with the Korean demilitarised zone!

If I get asked once more by one of my contacts at the councils: “What do they have to say about that in Grafton/Endeavour House?”

I'll be tempted to suggest that they get up off their seat and wander across the road, to talk to them themselves.

I'm beginning to find out what it must be like to be a kid stuck between two parents contemplating divorce!

I SUPPOSE I shouldn't have been surprised to see that in the Sunday newspapers the backlash against the Stern Report had started.

There were polls suggesting that many people thought the government was using concern over the environment to introduce green taxes as a cynical money-making measure.

It may be that the government will raise extra money by imposing green taxes - but the important thing is what that money is spent on.

If there were to be a 100percent tax on traditional lightbulbs to allow low-energy bulbs to have a 50pc subsidy, would that be so bad?

If fuel excise duty was raised, so the duty on bio-diesel and bio-ethanol could be cut by half, would that be such a disaster? If the planet is to survive as we know it then everyone in the world is going to have to make substantial lifestyle changes over the next 20 years.

And the simple fact is that the only way most people can be persuaded to change their lifestyle is by being hit in the pocket.

If enough voters can't be persuaded of the environmental dangers currently facing us, then the human race really is in great danger.