Report to Mid Samford parishes October 2012: from Sue Carpendale and Kathy Pollard, Babergh district councillors
Opening of new community facility in Hadleigh
On 6th October the new Hadleigh leisure complex officially opens its doors to the public. The existing swimming pool facilities are joined by a state of the art gym, fitness studio, coffee shop and large and small community rooms. The facility will offer around 20 classes per week plus a beauty therapy treatment clinic.
The new centre, which cost £2.4m, has been provided by Babergh District council, with support from Hadleigh Town council. It provides a great opportunity to get fit in this Olympic year!
More information at www.hadleighpoolandleisure.co.uk or phone 01473 823470
Preparing for next year’s council budget
Councillors have been attending a series of workshops to work out priorities for the council over the next few years. The views of the public are being fed into this process, as well as information about health, transport and housing needs, business and skills, community facilities, environment and planning. All this is taking place against a backdrop of reduced funding from central government.
There will be more councillor workshops in November and then the scrutiny committees will come together to look at draft budget options in December. Strategy committee will look at budget options in January and early February and the final proposals will go to a meeting of the council for approval on February 26th.
Babergh’s accounts for 2011/12
You will be pleased to know that Babergh’s finances are being well managed. In the last financial year the council spent just over £9m, which was a little less than planned. There were a number of one off costs due to staff redundancies. Work continues to streamline the management of Mid Suffolk and Babergh councils. Here are a few key points from the accounts statement:
- Savings of £1.3m are anticipated in 2012/13 from integration of the management of the two councils, rising to £2m by 2015/16.
- The waste service achieved a saving of £82,000 due to close monitoring of the Serco contract.
- There was lower income from building control as a result of the continuing economic downturn, and less income than anticipated from long term parking charges.
- Babergh collected £70.84m in council tax in 2011/12, but the majority of this is passed on to other authorities. Babergh collected council tax for Suffolk County Council (£37.6m), Suffolk Police Authority (£5.4m) and Town and Parish councils (£2.1m). For Babergh’s own commitments it collected £4.6m and also received government grants for council tax and housing benefits and business rates. It also receives income from council rents.
Meeting with Highways Agency to discuss closure of central reserve gaps at Hughes Corner and two other sites
On October 15th we will meet with the Highways Agency and representatives from Suffolk County Council and relevant parish councils to discuss the closure of three central reserve gaps on the A12, including the gap at Hughes Corner (the B1068 Stoke by Nayland turning).
We are very pleased that this issue is back on the agenda. What we must ensure, however, is that diverted traffic does not turn off at the Dedham exit and then travel through the back roads to Higham on roads which are narrow and unsuitable. We will press for signing which directs traffic back onto the A12 Northbound so that vehicles can then turn left onto the B1068 from the A12.
At the meeting we will also receive an update on proposals to install average speed cameras along the section of the A12 which includes Hughes corner.
We are pleased that Highways Agency officials have clearly taken note of the report we submitted to the Department for Transport last year, which contained accident statistics compiled by Bill Davis, Chairman of Stratford St. Mary parish council. It outlined the high number of accidents on the section of A12 between the Essex border and Four Sisters (East Bergholt) junctions. We suggested both the closure of the central reserve gaps and the introduction of average speed cameras. Prior to this the Highways Agency had turned down both suggestions, as well as refusing to accept that a lower speed limit would reduce accidents.