Report to Mid Samford parishes January 2015

Sue Carpendale and Kathy Pollard, Babergh District Councillors

Happy New Year! Here is the report to Mid Samford parishes, comprising Capel St. Mary, Holton St. Mary, Stratford St. Mary and Little and Great Wenham.

In this issue:

  • Wind turbine proposal turned down at Wherstead
  • Tackling debt
  • Tackling waste
  • News on social housing
  • Network Rail public consultation

Wind turbine proposal turned down at Wherstead

Babergh’s planning committee unanimously refused permission for a 130m high wind turbine on land at Wherstead. This is a landmark decision for the council. Many people felt that the scale and environmental impact of this single wind turbine was not justified.

English Heritage objected saying “English Heritage considers that there would be harm to the significance of the churches at Wherstead, Belstead and Copdock and to Bentley Old Hall and Freston Tower.” In addition there were objections from the Dedham Vale Society, Suffolk Preservation Society, Suffolk Coast and Heaths, parish councils and many individuals. There were 644 letters or emails with representation, with 639 of those objecting to the proposals.

The Ministry of Defence said that the turbine would “cause unacceptable interference to the ATC (Air Traffic Control) radar at RAF Honington”.

The maximum power output from this turbine would be 2.5MW. Compare this with the Greater Gabbard offshore wind-farm near Lowestoft which has a maximum output of 504MW with a further extension planned, generating another 504MW. Offshore wind-farms do not seem to generate the same level of opposition as onshore turbines in high visibility locations, as in this case.

The applicant, Partnership for Renewables, is likely to appeal.

Tackling debt

At this time of year there are so many bills to pay. People on low incomes may be tempted to take out expensive loans for essential items like cookers and washing machines. It is shocking to see TV advertisements offering “payday loans” with interest rates of up to 1,000%.

Many people don’t realise that they can borrow money from the Credit Union in Suffolk at very reasonable rates. Recently renamed “Eastern Savings and Loans” they have opened premises in Ipswich at 58 Westgate Street. Their website gives details of their opening hours: Last July we reported that a survey of council tenants in Babergh revealed that hundreds felt they need advice and information about dealing with household expenses, as well as ensuring that they are receiving the right amount of benefit.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk are sharing the costs of employing two people on fixed term contracts to help tackle some of these issues with people on low incomes. There will be pilot schemes in the Shotley Peninsula and Sudbury and Cornard. The scheme will then be available across the two Districts.

Tackling waste

As the song says Christmas may be “the most wonderful time of the year” but it is also the most wasteful. The cost of the food we throw away over the Christmas period is estimated at £64m – including 74 million mince pies (source Unilever).

Baroness Ros Scott, who lives in Suffolk, chairs an influential House of Lords EU Scrutiny Committee. The Committee recently published a report showing that the average household in the UK is throwing away the equivalent of 6 meals worth of food every week, at an approximate cost of £20. That’s more than a thousand pounds a year. Supermarkets are also throwing out food that does not meet the size or colour standards they have set. The organisation WRAP has more information on how we can all reduce food waste.

News on social housing

Following a bid submitted to the Government’s Additional Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Borrowing Programme, Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils have been granted approval to borrow a further £5.5m, above our Housing Revenue Account borrowing limits. They are among just 21 councils nationwide to have been successful in gaining this extra borrowing power. For us this means that by the end of 2017 Mid Suffolk and Babergh councils will be able to build 60, much needed, homes for rent. The councils have been working closely with Suffolk County Council to use sites they own and need to develop. There will be more detailed plans in the New Year including the locations, proposed plans and timescales.

Network Rail public consultation

Rail users may want to add their views to the current consultation taking place about the Anglia rail routes. This can be found here.  We understand there are proposals that might particularly affect users of the Peterborough/Ely services.

Contact: Sue Carpendale

Kathy Pollard

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