bringing the community together
On 23 January, the Conservative Cabinet at Suffolk County Council confirmed the final budget proposals for 2018-19. These proposals will be debated at a Council meeting on 8 February, where all councillors will vote on them.
I am very concerned by a number of the cuts proposed as part of the council’s savings plan. These are outlined below:
CHANGES TO FREE SCHOOL TRANSPORT
Cllr Gordon Jones has issued an email to say he is setting up some workshops to consider this with “partners” randomly selected. I have not been invited but hope Helen Wilson has.I gate crashed the one in Bury on 9th November where there were a few suggestions on how to reduce the asked for saving which is actually an income generation. I had a meeting with Helen Wilson at Thurston on Friday. They have done a survey of parents of which over 60% have said they will drive thus not saving the council money and increasing cars! It now looks like this will return to cabinet in December.
CHANGES TO FREE SCHOOL TRANSPORT
I and 4 members of the Lib Dem, Green and Independent group called this into the Scrutiny committee on 28th September.
Thurston Community College could lose over 800 pupils if they are forced to move to Stowmarket to get free school transport. This could jeopardise the viability of the college. Helen Wilson has been very active and has put her case to the council along with 4 members of the public that this should not happen and has been trying to find an alternative arrangement that would still save money.
I put forward the argument that this would disrupt children’s education if they are forced to move schools, increase the number of cars at start and end of school days, split some villages if half are forced to go to different high schools. Whilst disappointed that the scrutiny committee did not recommend putting a halt to this they have referred it back to cabinet (possibly November 7th) who I suspect will agree to go ahead with the consultation despite there being many questions still un- answered. Interesting email from Cllr Gordon Jones saying they are looking at some of the issues!!
Rattlesden Bike Show would like to thank the village residents for their support and patience during last Sundays show. We hope that you were able to come down and enjoy the show. Together we raised over £400 for St Nicholas Hospice Care Bury St Edmunds.
Following complaints from residents about nuisances caused by lorries accessing the Buffer Depot, the Parish Council spoke directly to the company which manages the Depot. They were genuinely concerned about what they had been told as they did not want to upset the local community, and consequently they would be writing to suppliers and transport companies which use the Depot to highlight the concerns that had been raised and asking them to be more considerate. This is encouraging, but clearly the situation will need to be monitored.
BOUNDARY REVIEW OF CONSTITUENCY; I have passed to clerk for the second consultation which ends 27th march. This is where they are proposing putting us into south Suffolk. I have asked the district council to debate this but the rules state that councils will not get involved!!
Police are reminding residents to be cautious when dealing with cold callers after an incident in Cockfield near Bury St Edmunds.
SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL BUDGET; this was agreed on 17th Feb. there was an amendment to put back the cut to the library service, to children’s centres, highways maintenance, concessionary fare support and, hedge and verge cutting and post 16 travel which I was happy to support. After a long and bad tempered debate this was defeated and the original budget agreed by a majority. This includes the 3% rise for social care.
Residents of Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils will have improved community based locations for customer access points as both authorities continue to deliver their programme of better services for residents.