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Annual Report from Cllr Penny Otton

1 June 2016

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SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL BUDGET; this was again agreed with a zero increase in council tax; but with an extra 2% to cover increase in cost of adult care.

FIRE SERVICE; as a result of the proposed reduction in fire engines in Bury Ipswich and Lowestoft we put a motion to council to have these put on hold. This was debated for over 2 hours ; when put to the vote it was lost by 35 to 36. As the result of public concern some amendments have been made. It will be discussed again at council on Thursday.

HIGHWAYS; the new assistant director for highways is Mark Stevens.
The issue of road repairs continues to be a problem. Pot holes continue as issue!! I have report the damage to the water run bridge and footway to st nicholas close ; how long they will take is any one guess!!

HGVs; at that meeting I got a question to the cabinet member asking him whether Suffolk will be doing a review of HGV routes. As we know this is causing some real concern particularly to the Buffer depot in high town green.

20s PLENTY on High Street; I am in the process of getting this made into a 20 mph..

BUS SERVICE; the new contracts for community bus service have been agreed for Mid Suffolk area is to be run by ASPIRE. Suffolk County council will no longer issue timetables so they can be downloaded from www.suffolkonboard.com and printed to be given out or left in public places.

SCHOOLS; I am of course concerned that the government has decreed that all schools must become Academies; now it has decided that any school already outstanding will not. i.e. no longer the responsibility of the county council with no requirement for parent governors. The county council will still have responsibility for school transport and providing school places!! There has been a bit of a turn round in that any school that is outstanding will no longer be forced to become an academy. Rattlesden Primary has already joined 3 other schools to become a Multi Academy Trust.

BEYTON SWIMMING POOL; with a group of concerned residents who are trying to have the pool re-opened as a community facility we have been in discussion with Marc Rolph business manager at Thurston community college. A business plan has been developed and they are now looking for financial help to get the

BROAD BAND; Despite more money being put in this continues to be a problem.

CLOSURE OF MAGISTRATE COURTS; there was unanimous agreement to object to the proposal to close the court in Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft. Well done Judith Shallow for her campaign!!

DEVOLUTION PROPOSALS; following the chancellors announcement this is going full steam! However there is already a vote against by Cambridge county council. I have grave concern at the idea of a directly elected Mayor who will have so much power with little democratic accountability. All council have to vote on the plan by June followed by some sort of consultation then back to the councils around September with elections for the Mayor in May 2017

LOCALITY BUDGET; I am pleased to have been able to give some support to a project at Thurston Community College run by a Charity which helps students get into the world of work. Also a drama project at Rattlesden Primary school run by Theatre Royal. Also £400 towards new grit bins.

MID SUFFOLK;  The chief executive has a new job so there may be a new person in post by the end of the year.

GLIDING CLUB; we have a regular meeting and are able to raise any concerns.

COUNCIL TAX;It was agreed to increase council tax by 1.9%, I put an amendment to use £80,000 of the £6.3 million transformation fund to compensate for the £100,000 reduction by SCC in community transport and to use the government transition grant of £39,000 to reverse the proposal to increase the charges for brown bins and bulky waste collection which I think is a retrograde step

PLANNING ; I have been spoken to the director to get confirmation that despite the council not having a 5 year land supply the council still has the ability to refuse applications in the countryside

COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY; (CIL) the levels of payment were agreed and will be part of a consultation and should start 11th April. Any outstanding Section 106 agreements must be completed by then.
CIL is not charged on affordable housing and buildings used by charities.

HOUSING AT WINDY RIDGE; at last these seem to be progressing!! And hopefully all with have tenants by the autumn.

COMMUNITY PROJECT AWARDS; for this past year only mid Suffolk allocated £5,000 to each councillor which I used to allocate; money towards the new sink at the church, the new hand bell ringers, the village hall and the community shop.