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November 2018 Report from Cllr Penny Otton

16 January 2019

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

A Highways Improvement and Innovations Board was established in June and has met three times. The Board recently announced that Suffolk Highways will be piloting a new approach to prioritising pothole repairs over the winter, specifically for services coming out of the Ipswich Phoenix House depot. If successful, the new approach will be rolled out to other depots.

The new approach will mean more potholes in a single area will be repaired together, and potholes of 200mm width will also be included.

The pilot aims to tackle more potholes at once, rather than later returning to the same area to repair nearby potholes. It will also aim to reduce the number of temporary repairs, which also have to be returned to later. This should reduce the travelling time of maintenance crews, and result in more potholes being filled.

The Board has also been looking into improving the coordination of road closures, reducing the number of roadworks which overrun, and exploring ways for Suffolk Highways to work closer with town and parish councils. A progress report from the Board is expected at Scrutiny later in the year.

Council signs up to 100% nuclear energy deal

At the Council meeting on 18 October, members of my political group put forward a motion calling on the Council to recognise the benefits of renewable energy, commission a report into smart grids, and commit to ensuring at least 50% of the Council’s energy comes from renewable sources by 2025. Unfortunately, the Conservative administration amended the motion to remove any clear actions or targets.

It was also revealed that the Council have recently signed off on a 100% nuclear energy deal for the next three years, to commence in March 2019. This represents a major step backwards for Suffolk County Council, whose current energy contract includes 18.7% renewables.

New Home Care operating model

At Cabinet on 9 October a new Home Care operating model was agreed. It was acknowledged that the previous model had not been a success and had caused unnecessary stress to both care providers and residents receiving home care. We were assured that “lessons had been learned” from this previous experience, and that greater care had been taken to develop the operating model in partnership with stakeholders.

Budget consultation and reduction in overspend

Suffolk County Council is currently consulting on the 2019/20 budget and is asking the public to share their ideas for potential savings. The consultation runs until 5pm on Friday 16 November, and can be found at: https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/consultations-petitions-and-elections/consultations/a-tough-call-to-make-budget-20192020/.

I am extremely concerned at the proposal to cut all core funding for the CAB, to reduce the winter gritting service and reduce the spending on some bus services.

I have looked at the council papers there is a contingency reserve of £30 million

A possible rise in council tax of 2.9% plus a 1%rise for adult social care has been mooted.This will all be looked at by the scrutiny committee and make recommendations back to cabinet.

SCC LOCALITY GRANT; I have put in an application for £3,000 towards the cemetery green kerbing


5YEAR LAND SUPPLY; there continues to be confusion whether MSDC does have the 5-year land supply ;

INCREASE IN CHARGES FOR DOG BIN EMPTYING these are to increase, I’ve sent details to the clerk.

LOCALITY GRANT; I have sent Doug the form to complete asking for £3,000 towards the Birds Green Kerbing

Sorry I will not be there so wishing you a very happy Christmas and successful 2019