County Council report to parishes September

Lucy Robinson appointed as Interim Chief Executive 

Last month Lucy Robinson was appointed as the interim chief executive at Suffolk County Council. She has been employed by Suffolk County Council since 2002 as the Director for Economy, Skills and Environment.  She had previously held a number of other roles across local and central government, and had been covering the role of Chief Executive since the previous Chief Executive was put on “gardening leave”.

The role is initially for six months, during which time the recruitment of a permanent Chief Executive will take place.  Mrs Robinson has been appointed on a salary of £150,000 pro rata.

 Petitions – concessionary passes

 At the last Full Council meeting the Liberal Democrat Group submitted a motion recommending that concessionary bus pass holders should be allowed to travel from 9am instead of 9:30am. In addition we recommended that those who hold concessionary bus passes due to a disability should have no time limit on use of the bus network.

The decision will be referred to Cabinet at some point in the near future as it was the original decision making body.  In the meantime Lib Dem County Councillor Caroline Page has launched a petition to highlight the public support.  You can sign the petition online. A printable version of the petition is available by clicking on this link COncessionary-travel-passes-petition:

More information on Caroline Page’s website  

Libraries update

The latest on the Libraries is that the administration has put forward a number of different options for the future structure of the service.  As part of the report to Cabinet on the 19th of July, these options below will go through a best value evaluation;

  • A Council Business Unit
  • A Council owned company/enterprise
  • Independent Company/Enterprise

This will be reported back to Cabinet on the 8th of November.  In addition to this the administration agreed to a consultation regarding the future of mobile libraries.

The Council has also moved to set up pilots for community run libraries.

The pilot libraries are:

  • Aldeburgh
  • Bungay
  • Eye, Debenham and Stradbroke
  • Sudbury
  • Thurston
  • Wickham Market
  • Gainsborough, Chantry, Ipswich, Stoke, Rosehill and Westbourne – working together.

These projects will begin in April 2012, and will look to increase the amount of local decision making, fundraising and activities and look to include more public services under one roof.

You can find a copy of the press release sent out by the Council on this matter, at this address

Mobile libraries

A consultation on mobile libraries, runs from Monday 5 September to Friday 14 October. 

The council is consulting on the plans set out in the July Cabinet paper, which were:

  • to move from fortnightly to monthly or four-weekly stops, as neighbouring library authorities have done, and
  • to remove stops in communities that are served by a static library.

This would save an estimated £225,000 a year, while maintaining the mobile library service to communities that do not have a static library. You can access the consultation document here.

 A report on the outcome of the consultation and subsequent recommendations will go to Cabinet in November, and full Council in December.

Broadband bid success 

Suffolk’s bid to improve Broadband across the County has finally been approved.  The £41m scheme, which has up to £10m backing from the County, has been given the green light by the Government. This follows a revised bid by the County Council in which they upped their bid significantly after the last submission was rejected.

 The total funding from the Government for this scheme will be £11m.  The private sector will be matching the bid from the public sector to reach the £41m total. 

A12 Campaign Update

The campaign by local Lib Dems,  and local residents, to improve the safety of the A12 between the Copdock Mill interchange and the Essex border highlighted recently that the cost of accidents and fatalities along this stretch of road amounts to £17.5m over the last five years (calculated using Department for Transport data).

This figure, along with the previous research, justifies the calls for a speed limit of 60mph, with average speed cameras and the closure of the central reservation gap at the B1065.

Unfortunately the Highways Agency disagrees, and has branded the suggested changes as uneconomic, even though they have spent £70m on electronic road signs for the A14, which will not reduce the level of accidents.

Public Questions to County Council and Cabinet meetings

As usual members of the public can ask questions to the administration at both Full Council and at Cabinet.

Questions must be submitted by 12 noon, four days prior to the meeting.  Questions to the next Council, which takes place on the 22nd of September, would have to be submitted by noon on the 16th.

 For more information, about the type of question that can be submitted, and for whom to send your question to, please click on this link

Brett Demand Responsive Transport and Buzabout

As the Council has reduced its funding for subsidised bus services they have had to seek alternatives to provide transport for those in our area, and many others.

 The Brett DRT service covers Hadleigh, Capel St. Mary, Stratford St. Mary, Holton St. Mary, Hintlesham, Chattisham and Burstall.

The service operates from 7am -7pm Monday to Saturday, enabling travel to any towns within the aforementioned area.  This could be for shopping purposes or to travel further afield with connecting services to Ipswich, Sudbury or Colchester.

 Travel must be pre-booked, and can be done a week in advance of your travel date.  If you do wish to book, please call 01473 828202; the line is open from 9am-12 noon Monday to Friday.

The Buzabout service, which covers the Peninsula, as well as Capel St. Mary, Copdock & Washbrook, Belstead, Stratford St. Mary, and Holton St. Mary, operates on a slightly different schedule.

 Operating Times are;

  • Monday: 0700 to 1900
  • Tuesday: 0700 to 0000
  • Wednesday: 0700 to 1900
  • Thursday: 0700 to 1900
  • Friday:  0700 to 0000
  • Saturday: 0700 to 0000

 The booking line for the Buzabout service is 0845 458 1920, and is open from 9am-4pm Monday to Friday.  Once again bookings can be made up to a week in advance.

 There are other DRT services which surround this area; for more information about connecting services and coverage maps please go to the Suffolk on board website

 Pylon update 

National Grid has announced its intention to build pylons along Corridor 2, travelling past Hintlesham, between Hadleigh and Upper Layham, and through the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty before getting to Twinstead. Curiously National Grid has failed to say whether it favours Corridor 2a or 2b.

 As part of Stage 2 of the consultation, National Grid has been holding a number of community information events, and will in the future be looking to create community forums along the route to involve the local population. This second stage still allows responses to the decision, and the form for doing this can be found on the website

According to their website, the next stage of National Grid’s plan to build a new line between Bramford and Twinstead, will give greater consideration to mitigation measures such as woodland planting, shorter pylons or using underground cables.

The Lib Dems continue to oppose the use of pylons across Suffolk’s valuable countryside.  The effect of building an overhead transmission line could damage both the local tourism economy, as well as lower house prices in the area affecting residents.  We believe that undergrounding is a viable option to prevent the irreparable damage that could be caused, and studies have shown the cost of this is not the 12 to 17 times that has been quoted by National Grid, but is actually less than 4 times the cost of overhead lines.  As previously reported we are also interested in future technologies that would see electricity transmission taken undersea to places of great demand, preventing need for pylons to be constructed.

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