War Memorial Gary Trouton

March Editorial

March 2006

The Editor looks at local problems and the inevitable cold snap just as the spring flowers arrive.

As I write this, the BBC has just announced in its weather forecast that temperatures will fall below freezing tonight and there is a high risk of snow showers. And I thought that spring was here! To be fair, so do the birds and the flowers. The snowdrops are a sheer delight on the Stoke Ferry common, the aconites are their usual brilliant yellow and the birds are happily nesting. I saw a ring-dove today trying out a very old nest for size; maybe she thought that an early claim would give her squatters rights. Later I noted that she had come to the conclusion it was much too small for her needs and she moved on. I can't recall so many Fieldfares as we have seen recently on our daily walk with the dogs. Today's walk also brought us a rare sighting of a grey heron and a short, but wonderful, flash of florescence as a Kingfisher darted across the Relief Channel in front of us.

The most important news this month without doubt is the apparent demise of Del Monte in Methwold. It only seems like yesterday that they laid off 250 workers and now it looks as if the rest of the workforce could lose their jobs at the end of the 90 day redundancy period. The Lynn News has already analysed the impact of the loss of these jobs on local businesses but seemed not to address the real culprits - the Supermarkets. Almost every day one can read about or hear stories of the pressure applied by the Supermarkets on all aspects of our rural community. Their desire to drive down the price they pay for fresh food pays little heed to the needs of the producers of that food. And when you add to that the scandalous delay by our government in paying the new "single payment" European farming supplement it is little wonder that farmers are fast going our of business with still more loss of jobs in rural communities.

Another news item today on Radio Norfolk gave rise to further concerns about our beloved county. Apparently, a recent survey of public (council or Hosing Association) housing stock revealed that 26,000 new homes need to be built in Norfolk to meet the demands of people awaiting public housing allocation. The worst are of all was great Yarmouth where there are 5,000 families currently awaiting allocation of one of the Borough's total of 7,500 Council or Housing Association homes. Compare this to the private sector where Wimpey have to discount new houses to attract buyers.

Now all I'm waiting for is my new council tax bill! Great life we lead, don't we? But at least we are in Norfolk; the 'big county' where horizons stretch for miles and the people are so friendly that if you stop for a chat you'll be there all day.

Ray Thompson

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