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Annual Report 2019 from Cllr Penny Otton

3 May 2019

School Travel

The change to free school transport was one of the most controversial decisions the council has taken in my time; since the decision to close middle schools.

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3 May 2019

I am writing to introduce Graham Construction Ltd as the principal contractor working on behalf of Highways England. We will soon be carrying out several separate schemes along the A14 between junctions 40 to 47 which includes vegetation clearance, renewing road signs, carriageway repairs, the installation of vehicle restraint systems and the replacement of road markings and studs.

Works will begin at the end of May 2019 and are due to last until early September 2019. We will continue to keep you informed of each individual scheme as work progresses and advise you of any changes to our programme or traffic management if required. A further letter with greater detail setting out our upcoming works and diversion routes in your vicinity will be delivered in advance of the scheme starting.

Whilst we appreciate that disruption on any scale is not ideal, we will be working between the hours of 8pm and 6am to help minimise this.

If you have any questions in relation to this letter, please feel free to contact us via the Highways England Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000, or by emailing HEWorks@graham.co.uk

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Womens Tour Event 2019

2 May 2019

The OVO Women's Cycle Tour will be coming through Rattlesden on Monday 10 June - and, as you'll see from the attachments, around 2.00pm until 3.00pm requiring unfettered access from Felsham Road, through Lower Road and Birds Green then out towards Buxhall. It would seem that a 'no parking' zone is to be applied from the entrance to Birds Green onwards (i.e. until the race leaves the village).

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November 2018 Report from Cllr Penny Otton

16 January 2019

Highways Improvement and Innovation Board – new approach to pothole repairs, coordinating road closures and working with parish councils

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September 2018 Report from Cllr Penny Otton

30 October 2018

“Staying Close” scheme launched to support care leavers

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August 2018 Report from Cllr Penny Otton

31 August 2018

Suffolk County Council

Council agrees to draw up costed five-year cycling plan

At the Council meeting on 19 July, councillors from the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group put forward two motions asking for a commitment to investing in Suffolk’s cycling infrastructure. The first motion asked the council to set up a cross-party group tasked with drawing up a costed five-year cycling plan, whilst the second motion asked the council to commit to ring-fencing at least 5% of its annual Integrated Transport Block for cycling infrastructure.

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July 2018 Report from Cllr Penny Otton

1 August 2018

Suffolk County Council

Overwhelming public opposition to Suffolk County Council’s school transport plans

Despite having over 30 question to the cabinet from parents, pupils and governors the Cabinet decided to agree to option 2 on changing the school transport policy.
I, along with my Group, have opposed the proposed changes since they were first announced in September and we will continue to raise our concerns at the Cabinet meeting.
We have now put in a “call-in” to the scrutiny committee with numerous examples of where we consider details have not been taken into account. This will go to the scrutiny committee on 9th July then back to cabinet on 24th July.
At least no child will now be forced to leave the school they re already at, but will this mean their siblings will be made to attend a different school.

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Councillor Vacancy

1 August 2018




that a casual vacancy has arisen in the Office of Councillor for the Parish Council.

If by 20 August (14 working days after the date of this notice) a request for an election to fill said vacancy is made in writing to the Returning Officer at Mid Suffolk District Council, Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2BX by TEN electors for the said Parish, an election will be held to fill the said vacancy, otherwise the vacancy will be filled by co-option.

If an election is called, it will take place not later than 23 October 2018.

Anyone who would accept co-option should notify the Parish Clerk as soon as possible.

Dated: 31 July 2018

Doug Reed Proper Officer

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Parish Council Report 2017-18

23 May 2018


Has continued to be the subject of a significant amount of work to ensure it is properly and respectfully maintained - thanks to The Felsham Gardeners who do a great job at the site.
With space an issue, the Council completed the acquisition of extra land for an extension and has worked hard to bring the new area into use. Further work remains but the extended Cemetery should now provide for residents' needs for a long time to come.

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2018 Annual Report from Cllr Penny Otton

23 May 2018

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.

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