Should I turn my back on beloved Felixstowe?

The Suffolk Coastal chalets at Bath Tap, Felixstowe

The Suffolk Coastal chalets at Bath Tap, Felixstowe - Credit: Archant

With the Spa Pavilion boarded up – the massive rise in beach chalet prices – the disappearance of yet more shops in the town centre – supermarket wars – I seriously thought about renting out my small Felixstowe flat with sea views (distant) and giving the town a wide berth.

No sooner has the Spa Pavilion closed without so much as a head hung in shame by those who have signed its death warrant without really trying very hard to keep it open, than my beach chalet – something I waited several years for – has been subjected to a price rise so massive one would think we are living in inflation ridden Argentina of the 1970s.

These chalets are now going to cost give or take £1,500 a year – and for the 20 per cent increase those of us lucky to have one will not be getting any better service or facilities.

Apparently the rise is because there is a big waiting list – what a load of rubbish. It’s a weak argument that doesn’t stand up and one that no one believes.

Indeed most of those I have spoken to down at Bath Tap think the “waiting list” argument is little more than a cover for officers of the council trying to secure even more revenue to secure their own jobs.

Though there are certainly some councillors and officers who understand and embrace the philosophy of public service, I have little time for local government – the offices are simply too well appointed, the facilities too good, the flow of money too easy, the unaccountability too easy for no one to be responsible for anything.

It is not as if these organisations need to make a profit – all they have to do is stick to a budget of millions provided by other people. Unfortunately the language the public sector uses, the internal cultures it asserts, the arguments it develops, the ideas it professes, the rules it abides by and the philosophies it espouses have become increasingly removed from the world the rest of us inhabit.

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Indeed the differences between public and private sector are so marked now, the rewards so singular, the genres so distinct that we have a workforce which is increasingly divided along these lines.

Economic growth and entrepreneurship is stifled by the sheer size and demands of public sector in this country and the decisions it makes.

This decision about the beach chalets, though small in the scheme of things and though likely to affect just a minority, is an example of what is creating a wider dissatisfaction felt by a silent majority.

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