Lib Dem membership soars since close of polls

As the polls closed and the ghastly General election results rolled in people began to realise that liberalism is still a cause worth fighting for.

The national total of new members is rising all the time. It’s around 11,000 as I write and many of these are under 30. The running total is here.

We are welcoming hundreds of new members across Suffolk and here’s a response from one of them:

I think I grew up thinking that Liberalism seemed a sensible way of going about things, even though my father is a lifelong Tory.  I was drawn, to some extent, towards socialism in my teens, appalled by the mean divisiveness of Thatcherism but always admired the Liberals, SDP and  Lib Dems, having the greatest respect for Shirley Williams, Paddy Ashdown, Charles Kennedy and others, with their ever sensible contributions to debate.

I’m afraid I took some notice of the “wasted vote” disincentive for voting Lib Dem, even when I would like to have done so, until the national disgrace of the 2003 Iraqi invasion, at which point I vowed never to vote for anyone who had supported that outrage.

I have to admit to having been disgusted to think, as the coalition was formed, that I had inadvertently helped to prop up David Cameron’s Conservatives in office.  However, I have gradually come to appreciate what a great job Nick Clegg and his party have done in staying the hand of the Conservatives and I would have been very pleased if my vote had contributed to a similar situation last Thursday…

What a desperate shock, and I share the immense sadness and disappointment of all Liberal Democrats  at the devastating losses, followed by Nick Clegg’s resignation as leader.

I agree with the statement on the party website that it is now more important than ever to have a strong central party to protect and promote liberal ideals and I would like to offer whatever support I am able towards that end.

If you would like to join us now click on this link

And an interesting commentary on the loss of liberalism in government here in the New Statesmen

Adieu, adieu, auf wiedersehen, goodbye

Thanks to the 1104 people who voted for me in Thursday’s local elections. Unfortunately not quite enough to re-elect me. Congratulations to my friend and colleague Sue Carpendale who was re-elected with 1196 votes and good luck to the Conservative who didn’t even put out a leaflet and stood as a favour to the Conservative agent. She got 1145 votes and was elected. Democracy is a blunt instrument – especially when you have local elections on the same day as a General Election.

In my 28 years as a local councillor I hope I have made a difference. In that time I have campaigned on a huge range of issues from retaining the Bury Road Park and Ride site, to preventing the Conservative proposals to close all but 8 of Suffolk’s 43 libraries, retaining the student travel discount card and fighting against the closure of the County’s middle schools.

Road safety has always been a major concern for me and I began by campaigning with Sue Carpendale for a road underpass in Capel St. Mary more than 30 years ago. We even sent a giant Christmas card to the then Transport minister, Peter Bottomley. It had the slogan “All we want for Christmas is our underpass” with a cartoon of Father Christmas and his sleigh trying to cross the A12. Mr. Bottomley was most amused and gave the go ahead. The underpass opened in 1990.

A12 safety issues are an ongoing concern. More recently Sue Carpendale and I wrote a report on the state of the A12, including accident data and submitted it to the Department for Transport. This has resulted in the installation of permanent speed cameras on the A12 between the Essex border and East Bergholt and the closure of the right turn at Hughes Corner. We have also highlighted many times the problems with the short slip roads at Stratford St. Mary and East Bergholt, where there is a high accident record. Lately we have fielded numerous complaints about the A12 roadworks and nighttime diversions.

When I was first elected as a County Councillor in 1993 there had been a political earthquake in local government across the UK. For 12 years we ran the County Council in coalition with Labour. In that time I was County Council chairman and then for a time I was the councillor responsible for roads and transport. Amongst other issue I campaigned for a Western bypass for Sudbury. It was my former Lib Dem colleague and then Transport Chairman, Peter Monk, who had the idea of introducing 30mph limits to all our villages 20 years ago. We take them for granted now, but prior to that many villages had only the 60mph national limit. It has made our communities much safer, although speeding is still a big issue.

When the Conservatives took back control of Suffolk in 2005 we handed on a council which had been given an Excellent rating, with our schools in the top 25% in England. Social care also had the top rating. Since then the Conservatives have outsourced care homes to Care UK, privatised road maintenance and dragged Suffolk’s schools to the bottom of the English league table. Last year’s Ofsted report condemned the council for failing to support less well performing schools. The Care Quality Commission also criticised the council for failing to employ enough staff to properly manage the Care UK contract.

In these elections we have lost many hard working councillors who have been champions for their community for a very long time. I am sad that Dave Wood, Tony Roberts and Dr. Mike Bamford have lost their seats. A number of valued colleagues also stood down this time, including David Grutchfield who served Hadleigh so well for nearly 30 years. Also Nigel Bennett, Sudbury South councillor for 12 years, Trot Ward, John Deacon and Mary Munson. Congratulations to Sue Carpendale, Dave Busby and Bryn Hurren who have retained their seats and commiserations to all our great candidates who failed to get elected. In Shotley people even elected a Conservative from Colchester! What were they thinking?

My thanks also to the staff of Babergh (and Mid Suffolk) District council. It has been a tough time for them too in the last few years, with huge cuts in funding and staff losses. My best wishes to them for the future. Life will continue to be tough under an unfettered national Conservative government as we claw our way out of austerity.

Au revoir.

VoteSmart says Lib Dem Grace Weaver is “only choice for change” in South Suffolk

imageVote for Grace Weaver on May 7th

VoteSmart has declared that Liberal Democrat candidate Grace Weaver is the only choice for change in South Suffolk. Liberal Democrats polled 31% in 2010, while Labour polled only 14% in the constituency.

Grace, who grew up in East Bergholt is an Oxford graduate currently working as a consultant advising health and disability charities. She commented “Only the Liberal Democrats can deliver the focus on education, affordable housing and transport that South Suffolk desperately needs.” More details on the South Suffolk Lib Dem website.

 

Grace leafletHave you had this leaflet?

If you haven’t received Grace’s General Election leaflet please let us know – as Royal Mail have failed to deliver in some areas. This is what it looks like. Please email us libdemssouthsuffolk@gmail.com with your postcode if you haven’t received it.

We are gathering evidence to take action against Royal Mail. If you’d like to see the whole leaflet it’s here.

South Suffolk Lib Dem Freepost final

 

IMG_5200Vote Kathy and Sue for Babergh!
And in the District Council elections in Mid Samford – covering Capel St. Mary, Holton St. Mary, Stratford St. Mary, Little and Great Wenham – you can vote for two hard working local councillors: Sue Carpendale and Kathy Pollard. Sue and Kathy have worked tirelessly for local people for more than 30 years. They say “Don’t forget you have TWO votes for Babergh in the Mid Samford ward and please vote for Grace Weaver at the General Election – a young, talented and dedicated candidate who will work hard for the people of South Suffolk.”

Published and promoted by E.Da Costa on behalf of the Liberal Democrats all at 16 Two Acres, Capel St. Mary, Ipswich IP9 2XP

General election – a few things to consider on May 7th

General Election May 7th – A Few Facts to Consider

LD rosetteOKAY – after all these weeks the finish line is coming upon us.

Your LibDem candidates on May 7th are:

Bury St Edmunds   David Chappell http://davidchappell.org.uk/en/

Ipswich   Chika Akinwale  http://www.libdems.org.uk/chika_akinwale

Central Suffolk& North Ipswich Jon Neal http://www.libdems.org.uk/jon-neal

South Suffolk  Grace Weaver http://www.libdems.org.uk/grace_weaver

Suffolk Coastal James Sandbach http://www.james4suffolkcoastal.com/

Waveney Stephen Gordon http://www.libdems.org.uk/stephen_gordon

West Suffolk Elfeda Tealby-Watson http://www.libdems.org.uk/elfreda_tealby_watson

A few things to remember when you cast your vote on Thursday:

In 2010 the Labour government left a mountain of debt for the nation. Liberal Democrats shouldered unpopularity to take the responsible step of forming a stable coalition government. In the last 5 years 2 million new apprenticeships and 2 million new jobs have been created and Labour’s deficit has been halved.

The following initiatives were in the LibDem 2010 Manifesto and would not have happened without us:

  1. Tax cuts: Low and middle income earners have had a tax cut of nearly £1,000 a year. Because we raised the income tax threshold – as we promised (though David Cameron said it was impossible) people who earn £10,500 a year of less pay no income tax at all. We want to raise this threshold to £12,500.
  2. Education: We have invested in education, targeting funding at the most deprived children. This has meant an extra £60m for Suffolk schools. It is making a real difference to literacy and numeracy and has provided, for example, one-to-one tuition, breakfast and after-school clubs. In addition we have given free school meals to 5-to-7 year olds.
  3. Health: We have provided additional funding for health and introduced the first ever mental health waiting time standards. We will invest an extra £8bn a year in the NHS each year by 2020. We are the only party to promise this and say how it will be funded.
  4. Renewable energy and environment: We have trebled the amount of energy generated from renewables. We will introduce 5 green laws including protection for bees and pollinators.
  5. We have cracked down on tax dodgers – getting £9bn tax back through deals with Switzerland, Liechenstein and the Channel Islands. We have also prosecuted 10 times more people for tax crimes than happened under the last government.

Some endorsements in the national press:

The Times  “Nick Clegg made a bold decision to take the Liberal Democrats into government. Power has been a justified gamble for the Liberal Democrats…Their signature policy of taking people who earn £10,000 or less out of taxation altogether has been one of their successes.” http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/leaders/article4430579.ece

Independent  “Many of the good things the Coalition has done are owed to the Liberal Democrats. Nick Clegg may not personally recover from the tuition fees debacle, despite being right (eventually). But history will record him as the man who turned a party of protest into one of government.  http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/editorials/in-defence-of-liberal-democracy-10224221.html

Sunday Times  “…[the Coalition] did survive and this has been a period of political stability that would have been the envy of many majority governments of the past. Mr Clegg deserves to survive and so do his closest Lib Dem colleagues in government. Tory supporters in Labour-Lib Dem marginals may wish to vote for the Lib Dem candidate… http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/comment/article1551497.ece

Published and promoted by E. Da Costa on behalf of the Liberal Democrats all at 16 Two Acres, Capel St. Mary, Ipswich IP9 2EE

Update on A12 roadworks

I have just received this message today from Anna Graham of Highways England (formerly Highways Agency)

“I am writing to provide an update on the resurfacing works between Junctions 33 (Copdock) and 31 (East Bergholt). We have so far laid 11,227 tonnes of surfacing material. The areas of safety barrier and drainage identified for renewal are 78% and 90% complete respectively.

We continue to be on course to complete the works by the end of May, subject to weather conditions.

We are due to switch the contraflow which will involve a full northbound overnight closure on 5 May and an overnight full closure on the southbound carriageway on 7 May. This will enable us to work on the southern section of the southbound carriageway while contraflow is on the northbound carriageway.

There will be a clearly signed diversion route in place. The diversion is from the A14 J56 onto the A137 then B1070 to J31 Four Sisters Interchange and vice versa. HGVs will go via A133, A137 and A14 and vice versa.

On all side roads Gatemen will be present to assist with members of the public who wish to access residences and business’ which may be affected by the road closures.

At Junctions 11 to 12 near Brentwood we have laid approximately 13,572 tonnes of surfacing material. The areas of safety barrier and drainage identified for renewal are 67% and 85% complete respectively.

For Junctions 11 to 12 we will be operating contraflow for approximately three weeks when it’ll be necessary to close the northbound carriageway for 14 overnights to enable the surfacing of the area of the northbound carriageway closest to the M25 which cannot be done under contraflow. I’ll provide an update closer to the time to confirm the start of this phase.

We are not working during the May bank Holidays, however, the speed limit and the cylindrical cones on the centre line of the carriageway will remain in place.

I thank you for your patience while this work is completed.

Yours Sincerely

Anna”

Anna Graham, Project Sponsor
Highways England | Woodlands | Manton Lane | Bedford | MK41 7LW

Lib Dems 5 point plan for Education

The Liberal Democrats have announced a ‘Five Point Plan’ for teachers and parents

The front page of the Lib Dem manifesto states our commitment on education, to protect education funding from nursery to 19.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party to guarantee the protection of per pupil funding in real terms over the next five years.

The Liberal Democrat five point commitment for teachers and parents will:

– Provide an additional £2.5bn of funding for 2-19yr-olds by 2020; protecting per pupil education spending in real terms over the next parliament and increasing the education budget as a whole.

– Guarantee all teachers in state-funded schools will be fully qualified or working towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) by September 2016.

– Establish the Royal College of Teachers to oversee QTS and professional development. And support the Teach First programme to attract high calibre graduates into teaching, in particular in STEM subjects.

– Establish a new National Leadership Institute to promote high-quality leadership targeting the most challenging schools in the UK.

– Get politics out of the classroom. We will give teachers more freedom over what they can teach by introducing a minimum curriculum entitlement – a slimmed down core national curriculum, which will be taught in all state-funded schools. As well as establish an Independent Educational Standards Authority (ESA) to remove ministerial interference in curriculum content and exam standards.

In Coalition the Liberal Democrats stopped the Conservatives cutting the schools budget. The scale of Conservative cuts in their plans is equivalent to axing four starter salary teachers in every school in England.

Find out more here.

April 2015 report to Mid Samford parishes

Sue Carpendale and Kathy Pollard, Babergh District Councillors

In this edition

  • A12 update
  • National recognition for quality of life in Babergh
  • More from the Suffolk Housing Survey
  • Food enterprise zones
  • Brantham Regeneration Area and the Ganges site at Shotley
  • “All-out” elections at Babergh

A12 update

The road works are scheduled to continue for a while longer – the latest prediction is sometime around the end of May. After many complaints from residents and from the County and District Councillors, the Highways Agency offered us a guided tour of the overnight diversions. A key aggravation has been the unpredictable closure of carriageways – different timings from those advertised and a lack of signage, which has confounded local people as well as strangers. We have all made our views about this very clear, so we hope that Martin’s, the traffic management contractors, have now received and understood the message. We also pushed the concerns about the appallingly dangerous and sub-standard junctions on and off the A12 this side of the Essex border.

Our return journey from Copdock southbound on this tour was a very interesting escorted drive right through the works themselves, to show us the scale and complexity – a non-stop sequence over a long stretch of existing roadway firstly being dug up, then other sets of contractors following, putting down separate layers of new surfacing, and after them the white liners and the cats’ eyes contractors. There are many organisations involved in activities which have to be co-ordinated, and they can each be affected differently by weather conditions and unexpected issues with the old road construction. They all have a knock-on effect. Whilst most of us think it’s been a mild winter, there has been heavy rain at times and many overnight frosts which have impacted on the speed at which these activities can progress – hence the delay. Sue was also interviewed by Radio Suffolk about the frustrations drivers have had to put up with. Hopefully, once it is all finished, we shall be pleased with the quality of the outcome.

National recognition for quality of life in Babergh

In the annual Halifax Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey, released at the end of March, Babergh has been recognised as the 11th best rural place to live in Britain – with Mid Suffolk ranking 20th. This is a national survey that monitors the quality of life in rural areas and recognises the best places to live in the UK. Babergh has moved from 41st to 11th in just 12 months. The survey tracks where living standards are highest in Great Britain by taking a wide range of factors into account, including residents’ health and life expectancy, crime rate, weather, employment, school results, broadband access, and personal wellbeing. The survey also examines all 119 rural local authority districts and is based on data at local authority district (LAD) level.

The success in this survey closely follows Babergh and Mid Suffolk’s achievements in another “Quality of Life” survey. The two districts were the only ones from Suffolk and north Essex to have reached the top 50 with Babergh achieving 24th and Mid Suffolk earning 45th position in the rankings. Babergh’s best scores were for life satisfaction, where it was ranked in the top 10. It did especially well in that section’s sub-categories for residents’ happiness and feelings of self-worth, according to figures from the national census. Mid Suffolk scored well for its employment rate of 79.1% and low traffic level figures. Its burglary rate was also one of the lowest in the country.

More from the Suffolk Housing Survey

Details are beginning to emerge from this survey. Residents of Babergh ‘love to live’ in Suffolk, are well settled and the vast majority wish to continue living here – (a reflection of the Halifax results.) Nearly two-thirds of us have been in our current home for over five years, with Sudbury and Hadleigh the top two housing destinations in the District. However, affordability is a major issue because of the local house price/income ratio. This especially impacts on new and forming households of all ages and tenure types, whether owner occupiers or private rental, but most of the newly forming households are single adults without children. These are most commonly children of an existing household; not all are young, the range is from 18 – 40 years of age. A small but important minority is concerned about current housing affecting health. Households looking to move generally want two- or three-bedroomed properties and would prefer existing homes, though a quarter of us would consider new build to benefit from energy efficiencies and lower maintenance costs. The Capel St Mary survey area had the highest return rate within Babergh!

Food enterprise zones

Babergh and Mid Suffolk recently submitted bids to the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to begin the process of becoming designated Food Enterprise Zone/s (FEZ/s). These zones are Government-backed schemes that aim to make it easier for food and farming businesses to grow, especially in rural areas.

Both Councils are delighted to have been named by DEFRA as two of the six new zones to be created across the country. They are the Orwell Food Cluster in Babergh – which includes Jimmy’s Farm, the Suffolk Food Hall and Wherstead Park (home to the East of England Co-op); and also the Gipping Valley Food Cluster in Mid Suffolk, a smaller area that includes Mill Lane, Stowmarket. Initially there is a grant of £50,000 for each council to set up Local Development Orders which will allow some specific developments to take place without needing planning permission. These will be limited to food, drink and agricultural activities only, but this includes food manufacturing, processing and transportation as well as retailing. This should make it easier for food businesses to start up, or expand, promoting growth and jobs in our local economy, and especially encourage niche or artisan scale development. It will also attract new inward investment into the area.

Brantham Regeneration Area and the Ganges site at Shotley

The major application for development at Brantham has been registered by Babergh – it is part of the regeneration area and a priority for the retention and development of employment uses as well as housing. Policy CS10 expects that a Master Plan will be prepared to provide for these as well as additional open space and improvements for pedestrians and cyclists. This is a substantial application, the many documents for which can be found on Babergh’s website.

The major application to develop the old Ganges site has also now received planning permission, along with a large development at Holbrook. These are important projects towards delivering homes in Babergh, but there are concerns about the traffic pressures that will result on the poor roads in and out of the whole area.

“All-out” elections at Babergh

Most people will be aware that there are at least two separate elections taking place on May 7th – in many areas there will be three, including parish councils. New legislation introduced by the out-going Coalition Government has stipulated that, short of exceptional circumstances, General Elections will now take place five-yearly on the first Thursday in May.

As we are now in a period of “pre-election purdah” we shall not be citing our Babergh email addresses at the foot of this report, but having reported to you monthly during this Council, hopefully you will know how to contact us if you wish to. We hope that you have found our reports of use and interest, and that we have helped to keep you informed of events at Babergh.

SUE CARPENDALE sue.carpendale@outlook.com  KATHY POLLARD kathy.pollard@btinternet.com

Published and promoted by E Da Costa, on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, all at 16 Two Acres, Capel St. Mary, Ipswich IP9 2XP

March report to Mid Samford parishes

Sue Carpendale and Kathy Pollard, Babergh District Councillors

In this report

  • Developing information from the 2014 Suffolk Housing Survey
  • A new Planning Enforcement Plan
  • Change to parking space guidance on new developments
  • Work inspiration for schools

Developing information from the 2014 Suffolk Housing Survey
Good quality housing has an important role in improving the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. Housing is a big national agenda, and Suffolk shares in this. To understand current and future needs the Suffolk Housing Survey was carried out with other local authorities and Public Health. The responses from our residents have provided evidence about people’s expectations and aspirations. The data collected will now be used to develop Babergh’s priorities. These include:

  • The building of new council housing
  • A review of existing sheltered housing,
  • The delivery of strategic development sites in the district (Sudbury, Hadleigh and Ipswich fringe)
  • How we deal with empty homes,
  • The Health and Wellbeing Strategy, and
  • An overall strategy for investment and development.

The information gathered will help to identify the areas of highest need across the district, but this may also require additional Local Needs Surveys. This work is currently carried out by Community Action Suffolk (and usually commissioned by parish councils.) Some of our sheltered schemes are out of date and in low demand. Older people want a choice about the type of housing and where they want to live. Newly formed households – for example young couples and people who are divorced and separated – are increasing. Many are looking to the private rented sector to meet their needs.

A new Planning Enforcement Plan
A new planning enforcement plan is being developed which will cover both Babergh and Mid Suffolk. The aim of the planning enforcement function is to discourage unauthorised development, and where planning breaches occur, to take proportionate action to remedy any harm to amenity or to the built or natural environment. This plan sets out what people should expect from the council and how it will prioritise and undertake investigations. This can be a vexatious issue for people, frustrated on the one hand by what can seem like petty rules, but on the other by an apparent lack of urgency or clout in the face of evident breaches of permissions and conditions.

Compliance with planning law is regarded as a top priority. However – many breaches, though unlawful, do not constitute a criminal offence unless there is non-compliance with an enforcement notice. Officers must use their discretion about whether enforcement action is reasonable and expedient. The key issue is whether there is an adverse impact on public amenity, or on the existing use of land or buildings, or it is contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework or the Development Plan.

Some types of development are “permitted development” and don’t need planning permission. “Express permission” is granted following an application to the council. Planning legislation specifically allows for retrospective applications, which then get treated in the same manner as a prospective one; more often than not, unauthorised developments are regularised that way, especially where it is likely that permission would be granted. A breach of control becomes immune from enforcement if no action has been taken within certain time limits – four years or ten years, depending on the nature of the breach.

 

Change to parking space guidance on new developments
In the recent past planning policy has restricted the level of parking provision, particularly in new residential developments. The aim was to promote less reliance on cars and a move to more sustainable and healthy methods of travel, particularly for shorter journeys.

This approach has had some success in city centres across England where public transport provision is good, the distance to important community services is short and plenty of local shopping is available. However, in rural communities where mobility is more reliant on access to a car, many residential developments have suffered from limited parking space.

Since 2010 government has placed a new emphasis on local decisions and a move in policy attitude towards adequate parking provision – which means that local councils can now take decisions better suited to local circumstances.

Work inspiration for schools
Currently there is a focus in the media on young people’s skills, together with commentary about how our schools don’t always provide them with an awareness of work. Like everywhere in the public sector, schools are under pressure, tight on resource but driven to deliver their statutory programme. It is understandable then that when it comes to work related learning, with little support behind it, schools can’t always do as much of this as they may want to. In the same way that professionals and managers are not teachers, teachers are not trained accountants, chefs, planners, engineers, community officers, and the rest. So, it’s not always easy for them to talk about other roles and working environments. With that in mind, the Work Inspiration Brokerage has been set up as a great mechanism for linking with young people at school.

Several colleagues from Babergh and Mid Suffolk have joined this initiative, going into both high schools and primary schools to take part in a range of events. This has included CV workshops, Dragon’s Den style panels and project planning and maths in the work place. These are all designed to underpin the employability skills that are so essential to adult life but not necessarily highlighted by the school curriculum.

Babergh has also co-operated with other councils across Suffolk to set up the MyGo centre in Ipswich. The aim is to give advice and support to 16 to 24 year olds. It is the first of its kind in the UK and has been extremely successful so far, even though it has only been open a few months. The service is also available online: http://www.its-mygo.co.uk/

sue.carpendale@babergh.gov.uk kathy.pollard@babergh.gov.uk

Update on A12 resurfacing J31-33

I have received this update today from Anna Graham of the Highways Agency about progress of the resurfacing works on the A12 and installation of permanent speed cameras between the Essex border and East Bergholt B1070 junction.

I am writing to provide an update on our progress and make you aware of what is happening in the near future.
As you may be aware, poor weather and low temperatures have slowed progress on both the A12 J11 to 12near Brentwood and J33 Copdock to 31 East Bergholt schemes. In addition to this, in spite of our survey work prior to commencing construction work, the milled surface layer was in a lesser state of repair than expected. This was particularly so on the section near Brentwood where we have now replaced this lower layer to ensure the new material is laid on a sound surface. At J33-31 we only needed to repair smaller sections of this lower layer as it was in a better condition than J11-12.
We are now progressing well at J33-31 we have been concentrating on the planned areas of deeper treatment which may currently look like short sections of resurfacing, however, these have been deep repairs, once these have been completed we will be continuing milling out this section and laying  long lengths of surfacing.
As well as the resurfacing work we have been renewing drainage channels, safety fence terminals and installing sign bases. You may also notice that the Permanent Average Speed Cameras are also beginning to be installed, this is a safety scheme which will share part of our traffic management to minimise disruption to road users. There will be separate overnight lane closures (traffic remaining on the A12) for those permanent average speed cameras located further south of the maintenance works. If you have any questions about the Permanent Average Speed Camera works, please contact Martin Oliver, Project Sponsor on Martin.Oliver@highways.gsi.gov.uk.
At J33-31 we are aiming to complete the current phase of work by Monday 9th March where we will switch the overnight contraflow onto the northbound carriageway near the Copdock roundabout and build the buffer zone (the cylindrical cones) on the southbound carriageway. In addition to the traffic management being moved, cabling for one set of cameras will be laid underneath the carriageway. It will be necessary to close the A12 overnight for four nights; two nights in each direction.
The overnight closures are expected to take place from 9th March. We would like to close the carriageway from 9pm until 5am. I appreciate that we proposed to close the carriageway between 10pm and 6am, however, traffic flows begin to increase and therefore, we would consider it better to remove the traffic management earlier. Traffic flows are quieter at 9pm and therefore, less likely to be disruptive for road users and residents.
There will be a clearly signed diversion route in place for the total Closure of A12 northbound carriageway from four Sisters interchange (J31) traffic will be diverted onto the B1070 to the A137 which brings traffic out onto J56 of the A14. HGVs will go via A133, A137 and A14. Vice versa for the southbound carriageway

“On all side roads Gatemen will be present to assist with members of the public who wish to access residences and business’ which may be affected by the road closures.
Following the four nights of closures overnight contraflow will be in operation to enable the resurfacing work of the northbound carriageway to begin. Overnight northbound traffic between J32b and J33 will be guided onto the southbound carriageway which will operate like a single carriageway road. Northbound traffic will be unable to exit local roads; they will be diverted to J33 to bring them southbound on the A12 where they can exit at the appropriate slip. The current speed restrictions will remain in place.
We are conscious that we need to make up time on the programme and therefore, we are looking to start the contraflow from 9pm to 6am Mondays to Thursdays, subject to traffic flows to provide a longer working window. Additionally, we will be working Fridays and Saturdays between 9pm and 8am, subject to traffic flows. I apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause, however, by increasing the working window we hope to reduce the overall time we are working on the road. We are currently programmed to finish all work between J33-31 in May.
At J11-12 near Brentwood, there will be a northbound carriageway closure starting Monday 2nd March for up to two weeks a clearly signed diversion route will be in place. The diversion route will be from J11, Brook St, via the A1023 and back on to the A12 at J12, Mountnessing.  This will enable core samples and central reserve barrier work to be undertaken while allowing for the resurfacing to continue on the northern section of the scheme.
We expect to finish the current phase of work by 14th March when the overnight contraflow will be switched to the northern section of the southbound carriageway. This will require 2 nights of carriageway closure on 14th and 15th March, one night in each direction and will utilise the same diversion route as described above. The closure will be from 9pm and 6am subject to traffic flows.
From the 16th March we will be working to resurface the northern section of the southbound carriageway with contraflow in operation Monday to Saturday between 9pm and 6am, subject to traffic flows.
We are currently programmed to finish all the works between J11-12 at the end of April.
I hope the above is helpful and if I can be of further assistance please contact me

Yours Sincerely

Anna

Anna Graham, Project Sponsor
Highways Agency | Woodlands | Manton Lane | Bedford | MK41 7LW”

February report to Mid Samford parishes: Capel, Stratford, Holton and the Wenhams

From Councillors Sue Carpendale and Kathy Pollard

In this edition

  • Village Hall roof fund gets a boost
  • Capel Post Office move to Co-op store
  • Babergh plans for no council tax increase
  • New consultation on future plans for housing and business sites in Babergh
  • Scrutinising health issues including winter stresses on local hospitals
  • Message from the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) re speeding in towns and villages

Village Hall roof fund gets a boost
We are very pleased that Babergh District Council has been able to give a grant of £19,000 towards the replacement roof for Capel Village Hall.

Capel Post Office move to Co-op store
The Post Office has now confirmed the transfer of Capel Post Office branch to the Co-op supermarket in the village. They seem to have addressed people’s concerns about security and queuing. The move is likely to take place in the June.

Babergh plans for no council tax increase
Decreasing Government grants are challenging local councils who either have to innovate and reduce costs or cut services. Over the past year the council has started installing solar panels on council houses. This will give a guaranteed income as well as providing free electricity to tenants. There may also be an opportunity to extend this scheme to private homes in the future. We’d be interested to hear your views on this.
Council house rents are going up slightly. The budget for council house repairs and new council properties is “ring fenced”. This means that, for example, rental income can’t be used to subsidise other council services. The planned rent increases will be used to build new council homes as well as to maintain existing properties.

New consultation on future plans for housing and business sites in Babergh
Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils are consulting on a joint Local Plan for the two Districts. This is a chance for residents and businesses in both council areas to have their say on future planning. The recently adopted planning blueprint for Babergh has identified that 300 new homes should be built each year to fulfil demand across the District council’s area. Most of that development is scheduled to take place in the more urban areas – on the fringes of Ipswich and in Hadleigh and Sudbury, with larger villages also taking some development.
In Babergh there is an opportunity for people to comment on a range of issues including:
•    The redundant Brett Works site in Hadleigh, which has been the subject of a number of unsuccessful planning applications for a supermarket. Ideas for the future of the site are now being sought.
•    Unallocated land to the East of Sudbury, which is not currently part of the Chilton development plans
•    New policies on renewable energy sources like solar farms and on-shore wind turbines
•    Whether hamlets and small villages which are currently not permitted to have new dwellings should be allowed some small scale development where there is identified housing need.
The consultation is open until March 31st and is available at www.babergh.gov.uk/jointlocalplan

Scrutinising health issues
One of the tasks of local councils is to scrutinise health provision across Suffolk via the “Health Scrutiny Committee”.  Here are a few of the issues discussed at a recent meeting.

•    Hospitals under stress
Last summer plans were developed by health and social care providers in the County in order to cope with the pressure that arises in the winter due to increased levels of illness.
This year large numbers of older people are being admitted to hospital with chest infections, including pneumonia. Because of the age of the patients they frequently have other conditions as well. There can then be delays in discharging patients from hospital for a number of reasons. Over the years the number of beds in community hospitals has decreased with rooms instead being allocated in care homes for convalescence before patients return home. However these beds are not always available. In addition it is not always easy to reinstate home visits from carers after people come out of hospital. All this leads to extra time spent in acute hospitals like Ipswich and West Suffolk.
One of the problems this year is that the level of demand has led to a shortage of available convalescent beds in West Suffolk, in particular. With increasing numbers of older people should we be building more dedicated convalescent homes?

•    Community Health contract out to tender
Services such as District nursing and Occupational Therapy are currently being run by Serco. They are not intending to bid for the new contract. There are bids from East and West Suffolk hospital Trusts and a rival bid from Norfolk and Suffolk Mental Health Trust.

•    Care Quality Commission inspection of homes run by Care UK in Suffolk
In December 2012 Care UK took over the running of Suffolk County Council’s 16 care homes and 8 community wellbeing centres. They were required to replace these with 10 new care homes and 10 new community wellbeing centres.
Mildenhall Lodge opened in June last year. Just a few weeks later the council suspended new admission. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspected the home and declared that it was not complying with the required standards. This has meant that no new residents can be admitted. In July 2014 Asterbury Place opened on the Chantry estate in Ipswich. This replaced Angel Court in Hadleigh and the Hawthorn Drive care home. The council suspended new admissions to this home in October last year. The Scrutiny committee was told by Care UK that they were addressing the issues raised by the CQC and we await the outcome of subsequent inspections.
The committee was also told that only a third of the recommended number of staff had been employed by Suffolk County council to oversee the performance of the Care UK contract.

•    Role of Healthwatch Suffolk
Healthwatch Suffolk is a watchdog organisation which seeks to find out the views of Suffolk people about local health providers. This includes GP services. Their recent survey found that people wanted quicker access to GP appointments.  Their website is here:
If you would like to comment on local health services please contact them.

Message from the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) re speeding in towns and villages
Speeding remains a significant concern for local residents, evidence by a return of over 2000 responses to a recent survey. As a result there have been changes in speed enforcement procedures by the Police. Suffolk’s PCC Tim Passmore has asked us to publicise his wish that members of the public wanting to report speeding concerns should do so in the first instance to their local Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT), but they can also contact the PCC via his office and their concerns will be forwarded to the Constabulary. The SNT are already the point of contact for the Community Speed Watch which is an important initiative in relation to casualty reduction in areas that would not initially warrant police enforcement due to lack of Killed or Serious Incident (KSI) data.

Email: sue.carpendale@babergh.gov.uk    kathy.pollard@babergh.gov.uk

Published and promoted by E Da Costa on behalf of the Liberal Democrats all at 16 Two Acres, Capel St. Mary, Ipswich IP9 2XP