bringing the community together
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.
Action on Waste - Litterally(!) Speaking…
The Council has received one or two complaints of late about litter in the village and so is asking for help to eradicate this problem. After all, Rattlesden is a Conservation Area and should lead by example. Already we have a litter-picker who does an amazing job, going about her business in a quiet but very effective way - yet, as is always the case, a few people somehow almost conspire to thwart the best efforts of the majority. So, perhaps, a timely reminder will not go amiss?
Suffolk County Council has appointed a new chief executive, Nicola Beach, following a unanimous recommendation by the authority’s Staff Appointments Committee and decision by the full council. Nicola, who is currently executive director of infrastructure and environment at Essex County Council, will join SCC this summer.
Respublica commissioned to examine options for public sector reform in Suffolk
Obviously the big storey has been the BEAST FROM THE EAST!!. I,m sure there have been 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 to get a face to face discussion on the highways contract and also the survey re; communities taking on highways small work. He said this will be looked at a feed back to me in July but I,m sure nothing will happen until the end of the year as they are worried about any litigation if there are accidents.
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.