Tom Garrod explains why he still supports the decision to purchase former RAF Coltishall.
"In response to DJ Hastings letter "Priorities Wrong" (EDP, December 6), I disagree with him that my priorities are misplaced.
"He raises the subject of my known support for the County Council's acquisition of the former RAF Coltishall site. I support this as I believe that in times of austerity the County Council needs to look to ways of income generation, in order to minimise cuts to essential services. If the £6 million (figure he suggests) spent on RAF Coltishall was used to maintain services, as DJ Hastings seems to imply, the £6 million would only last a certain amount of time (depending on the cost of the service). Whereas, if we can use that money to generate an income, not only will it payback the original investment, but provide an income stream to maintain services beyond that. As the County Councillor for the village of Coltishall, I have made it clear at County Hall that I expect local residents to have an ongoing two-way dialogue with the council over the future of the site (which is happening); and that I am very keen to see the site be brought back into use, and an income be generated from that; not for it to sit there unused like the past 6 years when it was under the ownership of the MOD. If a private sector firm had been interested in the site, surely 6 years was enough time for them to declare an interest to the MOD?
"I also strongly reject his suggestion that I solely follow my party's line on this and other issues. As a young man who has had Cerebral Palsy from birth, I have always had to struggle to get my voice and opinions heard, and I'd like to reassure him that any communication you see in my name is purely my own view formulated by me.
Councillor Tom Garrod
Conservative Norfolk County Councillor for Wroxham Division"