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July 2018 Report from Cllr Penny Otton

1 August 2018

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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.


The new cabinet member, mary Evans is doing a review of the highways programme.

New development with affordable homes in Cockfield

On 15 May, Suffolk County Council Cabinet approved proposals for the development of a 4.5 acre site near Cockfield, which is owned as part of its County Farms estate. The development will be comprised of 51 units, including 12 affordable rented homes. There will also be homes specifically for first-time buyers, affordable shared ownership homes, and self-build plots.

This project is being treated as a pilot for future developments on Council owned land. The County Council is planning to work closely with design and property partners, and there will be a particular focus on local needs and benefits for the local community. The council will also benefit from financial returns as a result of developing the land.


I am concerned and have raised this with the leader, that there are various councillors who have not updated their register of interests, including the cabinet member for planning!

PLANNING COMMITTEE; I attended and spoke on the application for 22 homes. I am disappointed that despite there being numerous issues still outstanding it was vote by 5;2 for approval.

COUNCILLORS ALLOWANCES; a report by an independent panel has recommended large increases for cabinet members with a portfolio. I believe these are too large an increase, but they also suggest no allowance for members of the planning committees which seems odd as they have a huge amount of reading and responsibility, these went to council on 21st June,

also at that meeting a decision on the Needham HQ. was made which will include some affordable houses and some retail.

GRANTS FOR VILLAGE SHOP FRONTS; £300,000 has been allocated for shop front renewal across the district, although I suspect most will go in Stowmarket, needham and Eye. The council is buying the old Aldi site and can then own the car park and lease the building,


COMMUNITY ACHIEVMENT AWARDS; also launched so let everyone know, there are various categories.