February Report to parishes in Belstead Brook

Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Strategy

This strategy is a ten-year plan to improve the well being and lifestyle of everyone in the county. There are four central priorities for Suffolk:

Priority one: Every child in Suffolk has the best start in life

Priority two: Suffolk residents have access to a healthy environment and take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing

Priority three: Older people in Suffolk have a good quality of life

Priority four: People in Suffolk have the opportunity to improve their mental health and wellbeing

  • >65’s will increase by 56% in next 20 years
  • Up to 12 years’ difference in life expectancy between some areas (worst: Kirkley in Lowestoft and best: Rougham near Bury St Eds)
  • 1 in 6 children living in poverty
  • General affluence masks pockets of deprivation
  • Only 52% of children start school ready to learn
  • Improvement in rates of early death from cancer of 34% despite growth in incidence/diagnosis
  • 66,109 “family carers” – 3,414 are aged between five and 24 – their health and wellbeing is essential.
  • Overall educational attainment is below national average – but with huge variations in achievement

 “Prevention” is seen as key to success – so the plan is to:

  • take action in early years
  • improve access to suitable housing
  • address fuel poverty
  • lessen problems of older age with lifestyle changes and home adaptations

 Sizewell C

The County Council Cabinet has confirmed its response to the Sizewell C proposed Nuclear Power Station.  Whilst this is only stage one, the Cabinet indicated that they supported the nuclear power plant, but made a significant number of comments about the proposals.  This included the lack of information provided by EDF, the locations for workers campuses, and the need for the four village by-pass on the A12.

 For more information and a copy of the reports that are set to be discussed, pleased head to –

http://committeeminutes.suffolkcc.gov.uk/meeting.aspx?d=29/Jan/2013&c=The%20Cabinet

 

Highways Procurement          

 You will recall that in previous Parish Reports I stated that the County Council had agreed a contract with Balfour Beatty to provide the highways services across Suffolk.  However they have had to go back to the drawing board on this, as the agreement appears to have fallen through. They are re-entering negotiations with all the original bidders – including Balfour Beatty.

They state that their key objective is to achieve a saving of £2m per year on the highways service. These savings are now in doubt and we are unclear about what will happen when the current contracts expire on the 31st of March.  The Lib Dem group have asked a number of questions on this subject and we are still waiting to hear what exactly the consequences of this will be.

 

Wind turbines exhibition

 I attended the exhibition organised by Partnership for Renewables at the end of January, which showed their proposals for the two wind turbines. One is on land owned by Ipswich Borough council and one is on private land owned by the Aldous family. They will be 130m high – which is 3 times as high as the Orwell bridge.

National planning guidance has not kept up with current developments or wind turbine sizes. I have previously written about the proposals on my blog. 

Suffolk drops down national GCSE rankings table

 After the release of the GCSE grades across the Country, Suffolk has now dropped to 141 out of 152 authorities for GCSE results.  The County’s primary school test results have  already placed it 3rd from the bottom of English authorities. However I am very pleased to see that the three primary schools in my own Division are amongst the best performing in the County and can be very proud of their achievements.

 We have warned for some years that the school re-organisation in Suffolk would be a major distraction. This has involved the closure of middle schools and has resulted in a number of schools working on split sites, with many temporary classrooms. The budget which supports school improvement has been greatly reduced over the last few years. Prior to 2005 ie before the Conservatives took over the running of the council, the County was highly regarded in the academic world and was in the top 3rd of all English authorities.

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