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Home > News > 2018 Annual Report from Cllr Penny Otton

2018 Annual Report from Cllr Penny Otton

23 May 2018

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Obviously, the big storey was the BEAST FROM THE EAST! I’m sure there were numerous problems with the snow and road closures, there will be a back log for any works that had been scheduled. I met with mark Stevens head of highways to get a face to face discussion on the highways contract. HIGHWAYS; again, complaints about potholes has filled me in box!! The council is borrowing £21million form the public works loan board for highways repairs; I just hope this will do some good and has been given a further £ 2.5million from the government. Hopefully we will see some changes and good work completed.

ROAD LINES ON LOWER ROAD AND HGV SIGNAGE; along with the parish council I am please we have manged to get a sign to deter HGVs from using Birds Green and by removing the central white line to try to slow down traffic and avoid another crash into the railings. Potholes – funding boost and rise in insurance claims

Potholes continue to be a key issue for councillors and residents alike. There are two significant updates this month: Suffolk County Council receives cash boost to deal with potholes Following the bad weather in February and March, Suffolk County Council has received £2.5m of additional funding from the Government to help with road repairs. Rise in insurance claims against Suffolk County Council Insurance claims against Suffolk County Council due to “carriageway surface defects”, such as potholes, have risen in recent years, from 363 in 2013 to 647 in 2017. A total of 2239 claims were made in this five-year period, but 84.7% of these were successfully defended by the council. Despite this, between 2013 and 2017, Suffolk County Council paid out £226,432 in compensation and legal fees.

The other issue is that of diversions! Some of which seem to be nonsensical!

SCHOOL TRANSPORT; I am shocked that the proposed change in policy could mean some children having to change schools if they are not already at their NEAREST school, if not would be charged about £900. The impact on Thurston Community could be a disaster as would the possible increase in cars coming through Beyton. Pupils from Rattlesden will be some of the worst effected. My group called the first cabinet decision into the scrutiny committee, but I was disappointed that they gave very little recommendations back to the cabinet. A petition with more signatures than any other ever presented to the council. At that meeting of the council I again stressed just how devastating these changes would be.

On Thursday 22nd March a motion to hold an extraordinary full council meeting was put where all councillors, rather than just the 9 cabinet members, will be able to vote and make a recommendation to the cabinet in June. I am dismayed that this was voted down.

PLASTIC BOTTLES; At the meeting of Suffolk County Council on 7 December, I proposed a motion calling on the Council to pledge support for the introduction of such a scheme, and to offer Suffolk as a pilot area should one be needed. This was met with unanimous support and we wrote to the minister urging him to implement this new recycling scheme in the UK. I am therefore delighted that Mr Gove has done what I asked!!!

WOODLAND TRUST CHARTER; all councillors signed up to the Woodland trust charter.

Cllr Noble (who at the time of writing was the leader of the council and may not be now??) has instructed a research company to investigate the possibility of some form of unitary council for Suffolk. This was not discussed with the leaders of all the districts and boroughs who were unsurprisingly not at all pleased. They intend to do their own review. NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE; A new cex has been appointed; Nicola Beach, who comes from Essex county council.

LOCALITY BUDGET; I am pleased to have been able to help with the cost of grit bins, a new sign for the shop.

MID SUFFOLK The move to Endeavour house in Ipswich is now complete, though later than anticipated and with some extra costs. Sharing the building with Suffolk county council has some advantages in that more officers in the same place, but I continued to vote against the move as it has taken the council away from the community.

FORMER HQ; A Public meeting will take place in Needham Market looking at the proposals for the former HQ in the town, this includes housing and a new retail store.

BOUNDARY CHANGES; the Boundary Commission has issued a second draft of proposals for new ward boundaries and with fewer councillors. Currently the suggestion is to include Hessett and part of the Onehouse ward.

MERGER; the proposed merger with Babergh council has been put on hold. Was this due to Cllr Nobles plan??

PLANNING; congratulations to the parish council for holding 2 public meetings concerning the large application at Poy Street. I have asked the officer several times for an update on this.