Fears seaside masterplans could turn neighbours into rivals
- Credit: James Bass
Masterplans are being created for two seaside towns amid fears they could reignite old rivalries and set communities against each other.
Gorleston and Great Yarmouth will each be the focus of separate, politically-balanced, working parties looking into how they could evolve, and crucially draw down funding.
But the proposal, from Graham Plant during an online meeting of the borough council's powerful policy and resources committee on Tuesday, drew criticism that it could be divisive.
Mr Plant argued against a bid for a single working group with seven members looking at both resorts, saying that while they both had a seafront, Gorleston's was more "local" with a different demographic.
He said two would be better, one for each side of the river.
Tony Wright tagged the proposal as "absolutely ridiculous" speaking up for a "one borough" approach.
He said other organisations like the BID and tourist authority didn't split themselves and that having separate working parties would be extra work for under-pressure officers, adding: "Do not separate them.
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"It will put town against town."
Trevor Wainwright said any working group would be capable of looking at the distinct needs of each area without the need for two.
"This is ludicrous," he said. "We should be looking at things as a whole. I represent Magdalen ward but I am very interested in what goes on at the seafront.
"It will set Gorleston against Yarmouth.
"We are only asking for members to attend a working group. Now we are having a big debate about if we can have two."
Mr Plant however said Gorleston needed its own strategy.
"Gorleston is a town in waiting," he said. "It wants us to do something.
"The people of Gorleston will feel they have a voice, finally."
During the discussion some members said people on the doorstep said Yarmouth had priority over Gorleston.
It was pointed out there had been investment along the prom and with the splash pad but areas like the riverside and pier needed sprucing up.
Being in private ownership made tackling those areas more difficult, but a masterplan could help deliver success and the kind of funding that had been drawn down via the Town Deal - over £20m
It was resolved there would be two working parties made up of five members each, that would report to the policy and resources committee.