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

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

October 2014 Report to Mid Samford parishes

Sue Carpendale and Kathy Pollard, Babergh District Councillors
sue.carpendale@babergh.gov.uk kathy.pollard@babergh.gov.uk

In this month’s report:

  • Planning and development in the villages
  • Renewable energy – can you help?
  • Government consults on minimum standards for floor space in homes
  • The annual “lullaby” concerts and music workshops
  • Should there be an extra tax on large stores and supermarkets?
  • Sky lanterns and helium filled balloons
  • Empty homes policy
  • Thanks and best wishes to Pauline, as Capel greengrocers closes its doors

Planning and development in the villages
Approval has been given to an outline application for up to 24 homes on land next to Pine Dell and Ashcroft on London Road, Capel St. Mary.  This is potentially a positive addition to the smaller housing stock in the village with some “affordables” for social rent. The matter was referred from the September committee at Babergh for further responses regarding road safety improvements on the A12 slip road and at the London Road junction.  Comments from highways varied from no comment, to: the developer could be asked to consider a safety audit to assess whether the existing road layout was safe for additional traffic, including the safety points raised by us (more and better signage, road markings, an extension to the speed limit and better maintenance and verge trimming to keep signs clear and ensure road visibility.) This was rejected by the applicant.  As highways cannot insist on this, they later said it was all safe.

It was agreed at the meeting that we would set up a forum to work with Babergh planners, highways, the parish council, local district ward councillors and a resident of London Road to determine how road safety could be improved in this area.

At the September meeting of the political group leaders, officers made it clear that the Local Plan’s intention to distribute some 1050 homes to “rural areas” – these being the core and hinterland villages – was in fact a minimum target, with no upper limit.  The estimate of 100 or so homes for each of the ten villages should not be regarded as a guide figure.  There is no attempt to identify potential sites for development.  Provided applications meet certain criteria, the National Planning Policy Framework will presume in favour of development.  This causes us some concern, but it is important that we raise awareness of this possibility.

Renewable energy – can you help?
Have you had solar photovoltaic panels installed or do you have any specialist knowledge of renewable technologies or energy efficiency measures? We are aiming to run an information day for local people in the New Year and would love it if you could share your experiences or can help in any other way. Please get in touch with us with your ideas and views at either of the email addresses above. Alternatively you can phone us: Sue 01473 311513 Kathy 01473 311384 or drop us a note: Sue – 53 Thorney Road, Capel St. Mary, Ipswich, IP9 2XH; Kathy – 19 The Street, Capel St. Mary, Ipswich IP9 2EE.

Government consults on minimum standards for floor space in homes
Some newspaper headlines have recently referred to “Rabbit Hutch Britain” when talking about the size of properties in the UK. In mainland Europe room sizes are frequently more generous. In response to this national Government has launched a consultation on a set of minimum space standards for new dwellings. Many London authorities have already adopted these. In Babergh we already have minimum standards for social housing, but not for private housing.  Research has shown that small properties lead to lack of privacy and even illness. Also there is frequently no room to store possessions. We would be interested in hearing your views on this.  Also: “DCLG Housing Standards Review” consultation, August 2013; and “Affordable Housing” Supplementary Planning Document, Babergh Local Plan, February 2014.

A report by Shelter states:

“Shamefully, we build the smallest homes in Western
Europe. In 2011, average new homes in Denmark
were 80% bigger than those in the UK. Even new
homes in Japan were 21% bigger.”

The annual “lullaby” concerts and music workshops
For five years, musicians from the world-class City of London Sinfonia have been delivering a series of workshops at nurseries and pre-schools across Babergh and Mid Suffolk. In total 18 workshops have taken place across both districts including Boxford Primary School, St Mary’s Primary School, Hadleigh and Hadleigh Primary School.  The workshops enable children aged two to five years old to see and hear orchestral instruments in their local community. The workshops lead up to a series of ten Lullaby Concerts in five locations across Suffolk, taking place during October half-term. For further details of the concerts, locations and how to buy tickets are available on the Babergh website.

Should there be an extra tax on large stores and supermarkets?
At the September Council, there was a motion requesting a move to add a levy of up to 8.5% of their rateable value on supermarkets and large retail outlets in the area with a rateable annual value not less than £500,000 and for the revenue to be retained by local authorities in order to be used to help improve their local communities.  This could affect five stores in Babergh.  The matter has been referred to the Strategy committee for consideration at a later date as there was no information about how or where in the District such money could be used. We would be interested to hear your views.

Sky lanterns and helium filled balloons
Babergh Council has voted that where possible, and as a matter of urgency, the launching of lighted sky lanterns and helium filled balloons from all council owned land and property, should be banned. This will also affect event licensing terms.  There is increasing concern about release of these lanterns and helium filled latex balloons because of the impacts these can have on the environment, on animal welfare, the fire risk to buildings, property and crops, risk to aviation and impacts on emergency services on land and sea.  Helium is a crucial ingredient in MRI machines, wafer manufacture, welding and other processes but is a diminishing and finite resource facing shortages, which also drive up the price.

Empty homes policy
Babergh’s Strategic Plan includes a desired outcome to improve the quality and use of existing private sector housing which we will do by bringing as many of our long term empty homes (greater than 6 months) back into use. Properties become empty for a number of reasons and most are reoccupied within a short period of time. However across Babergh and Mid Suffolk in April 2014 there were 1,100 properties which had been empty for a period of at least 6 months. Many will be empty for longer than they need to be or will not be brought back into use without the provision of advice, support or enforcement action. The Councils have set a target to reduce the number of empty homes by 400 between June 2014 and March 2017. There is a large need and demand for housing in Babergh and Mid Suffolk and empty properties which could otherwise be made available for sale or rent are a wasted resource. In April 2014 there were 2,114 active applications on the housing registers for Babergh and Mid Suffolk. In many cases, the longer a property is left empty the more money it will cost to bring it back into use as the condition of the property deteriorates, making it increasingly difficult for some owners to be able to afford to bring a property back into use and so the property remains empty and continues to deteriorate. The Councils will, through this Policy, offer advice and support to owners of empty homes to enable the properties to be brought back into use. Where owners do not work with the Councils to bring their properties back into use in a reasonable period, enforcement action will be considered.

Thanks and best wishes to Pauline, as Capel greengrocers closes its doors
We would like to express our thanks for the many years of hard work Pauline has put into to serving the community of Capel St Mary and surrounding villages.  We wish her a long and happy retirement.

June report to Mid Samford parishes

Posting this a little later than usual – after my return from holiday. In this edition:

  • Suffolk Growth Hub
  • The Tip-off
  • Careers help for young people
  • Council’s strategic plan
  • New build programme

Suffolk Growth Hub
Babergh has been working with the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (NALEP) to develop the support available to businesses.  One key area of this work is the new Growth Hub, launched recently at the Suffolk Show, which will provide Norfolk and Suffolk businesses with a “no wrong door” route for accessing business support.  The Growth Hub team will provide a first point of contact for any business and give easier access to local and national programmes and initiatives, including a small grants fund, an innovation readiness programme, innovation vouchers and business start-up help.  There will be face-to-face support, advice and workshops, access to funding, business mentoring and help for social enterprise development.  Web resources are already available: http://www.businessgrowthhub.com/ and there’s a telephone support line: 0300 456 3565.

The Tip-off
The Suffolk Waste Partnership recently and successfully bid for national DEFRA pilot project funding to prevent fly-tipping.  The Suffolk Fly Tipping Action Group (STAG) were awarded £28K.  The project was aimed at anyone acting as a waste carrier, including the “man in a van”, with messages also aimed at householders who must take responsibility for disposal of waste from their premises.  It is an offence to “give waste away”.  All carriers must be licensed, though licenses are free to smaller businesses and tradespeople such as plumbers.  Many unlicensed workers operate on social media and word-of-mouth. The Council can and does take enforcement action.  Working with the police, 46 vehicles were stopped and searched.  Advice can be given at the roadside, but there were some notable prosecutions brought against offenders resulting in fines, costs and many hours of unpaid community work. More information at: http://www.greensuffolk.org/recycling/fly-tipping/

“Showcasing the local economy” – careers help for young people
The effectiveness of careers information, advice and guidance (IAG) for young people is a key component in raising aspirations and attainment across the whole age range of children.  There is a worrying disconnect between the needs of business, the aspirations of young people and educational provision.  Babergh will be committing to support the development and maintenance of an online careers platform, alongside the other local authorities in Suffolk. Considerable research and consultations have been carried out, including work by University Campus Suffolk, with young people, educators and over 130 employers, regarding the concept and technical specification of the platform.  This is an example of the partnership approach being adopted throughout the county, and is at the core of Raising the Bar and the Greater Ipswich City Deal.  The platform is being designed for ease of access in a variety of formats, free of charge from home or school, via internet and mobile devices.

Council’s Strategic Plan
The Council’s blueprint for the next few years sets out how we – and the communities Babergh serves – can shape the future, albeit in very uncertain times.  The aim is to set a shared sense of direction, reflecting both reducing resources in local government and our aspirations to be a flexible, quick-moving and responsive organisation to both residents and businesses.  The three main priorities identified some time ago remain as housing, the economy balanced with the environment, and communities that are strong, healthy and more self-reliant.  The document is available on Babergh’s website under the Strategy agenda for 12th June, P20.

New build programme
Babergh has the opportunity to bid for funds from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to enable new affordable homes to be built.  To do this the council must meet some conditions which include introducing new and higher rents to some new tenancies when stock becomes empty.  Known as “rent conversion”, this would mean a small percentage of new rents rising to 80% of the private rental market level.  Existing tenancies would not be affected.  The additional rent contributions, together with the HCA grant bid would enable new homes to be built, initially five in this first bidding round.  New homes will not only raise the council tax base but will also generate new homes bonus and help with economic growth.

Contact: sue.carpendale@babergh.gov.uk, kathy.pollard@babergh.gov.uk

November report to Mid Samford parishes (Babergh District)

From District Councillors Sue Carpendale: sue.carpendale@babergh.gov.uk and Kathy Pollard: kathy.pollard@babergh.gov.uk

In this report:

  • Babergh/Mid Suffolk in Parliament
  • Transformation Challenge Grant success
  • The future of Council accommodation
  • October storm
  • Fly-tipping doesn’t pay – two recent successful prosecutions
  • Hadleigh – East House plans

Babergh/Mid Suffolk in Parliament
MPs in the House of Commons recently debated the issue of local government finance. David Ruffley MP, whose constituency includes the western part of Mid Suffolk district, made a number of positive references to the integration achievements of Babergh and Mid Suffolk, whilst the local government minister Brandon Lewis praised the Suffolk-wide family of councils for their achievements in making savings through sharing services and collaborative working.

Transformation Challenge Grant success
DCLG has allocated Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils £167k from its Transformation Challenge Award fund.  To put this into context the £6.9m fund was heavily oversubscribed – 145 bids totalling £66m.  DCLG advised that our work “caught their eye for a number of reasons“ and demonstrated “… commitment to delivering transformational changes to the way that we work “ and that “as an exemplar … offers a strong model for other authorities and public service organisations”.  The money will be used to support our development in several ways, some to support the on-going work of the transformational enquiry groups (TEGs) and also to produce material and learning for other organisations (part of the criteria for the bid was “transferable learning”), whilst the bulk of the cash will support the costs of changing the way the two councils operate, implementing the ideas generated by the TEGs; this could include support for business plans, legal issues with new operating models and the direct involvement of communities.

The future of Council accommodation
Last year, both councils agreed that they would retain their main offices for a period of three to five years.  It has now been agreed that in the face of predicted government support dropping to zero in five years that a full evaluation of options should be considered.  A year ago the councils were concerned about a loss of sovereignty; each having a main office gave a real sense of identity. However, there is wide recognition that sovereignty and accommodation need not be linked.  Many officers are working across both sites which has an adverse impact on efficient and effective working, and on public access.  Our two main buildings cost us £1.1m per annum.
The East Anglian Daily Times ran a story on the review and decided we are off to Ipswich! but at the moment there are no options on the table. The first stage is essentially research, consultation, timeframes and identification of options that the councils could practically achieve. Public access is a key priority, but we are prepared to ask some very radical questions about how we proceed.  Nothing is decided, but somehow we have to find a further £8.4m of savings between the two councils in the next few years.

October storm
Monday 28th saw the worst storm to hit our region since the gales of 1987.  The impact was felt by many for the rest of the week, with thousands of homes without power, many phones not working (the majority of modern phones need to plug into the mains) significant disruption to travel and damage to homes, vehicles and other property.
On the Wednesday and Thursday, drop-in centres were set up by a number of agencies, supported by Babergh’s Housing Services, Emergency Planning, UK Power Networks (UKPN) and voluntary organisations who were providing hot drinks and hot food for people who turned up and were still without power.  This enabled them to discuss their individual concerns with a UKPN rep and to charge their mobile phones.  BBC Radio Suffolk let people know about the facilities at Ofton Community Centre, Long Melford and Great Waldingfield village halls. This event showed how well communities fed in information to the councils and the effective ways in which the different agencies and teams on the ground all worked together.

Fly-tipping doesn’t pay – two recent successful prosecutions
In January this year, a member of the public reported that a a Transit van load of waste including televisions, computer monitors, wooden furniture, plastic tubs, a number plate, fuel receipts and general waste had been dumped on a verge by a field gateway. The waste was cleared by the Council’s Rapid Response service and the culprit traced. A Sudbury man has been ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and to pay costs of £852.80.  In another action last week, an Ipswich man was ordered to pay a total of £520, after he pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that waste in his possession, but given to others for disposal, would be properly dealt with.

Hadleigh – East House
A public exhibition on the revised proposals for the redevelopment of East House, George Street, Hadleigh was held on 8th November at Hadleigh Pool & Leisure Centre.  The revised proposals will also be on Babergh’s website from week commencing 11th November.  The council still intends to use funds from the sale of East House towards the costs of the leisure centre in Hadleigh which was opened in 2012.

Babergh Planning committee turns down Hadleigh Tesco application



For immediate release: 18 September 2013

This morning Babergh’s Planning Committee voted to refuse Tesco’s application to build a supermarket at the former Brett Works Site in Hadleigh.

After considering the Tesco application on the edge of town site in Hadleigh, Babergh’s Planning Committee decided to refuse the proposed development. This application represented the culmination of earlier proposals and involved a scheme which had been the subject of much negotiation including a design review by Shape East. Following consideration of a comprehensive Committee report which set out all the impacts, the Committee considered all the issues and decided, by 7 votes to 6, to refuse it on the basis that the proposed development would negatively affect the sustainability and vitality of Hadleigh Town Centre.

Planning documents are here

Ipswich wind turbines exhibition

The plans for the proposed two wind turbines in the Belstead/Wherstead area were on view today at Belstead Brook Manor Hotel in Ipswich. They will be at Belstead Village Hall tomorrow (Tuesday 29th Jan) from 1pm to 7pm.

I previously posted on this issue back in October. My views have not changed. The proposed turbines are far too close to residential areas. Not only will they be visible from Belstead and Wherstead villages, but they will also be seen from large parts of Ipswich and Pinewood – and even from villages like Copdock and Washbrook.

The turbine towers, at 80 metres high will themselves be higher than the Orwell Bridge. Add to that the rotor blade span of 50 metres to give a total height of 130 metres. The proposals, along with the map can be found on the Partnership for Renewables website

Latest estimates suggest the planning application will be submitted in late Spring/early Summer. Babergh District Council will decide on the application. Whilst national guidance is out of date and fairly weak, councils like Milton Keynes have produced their own planning guidance, which states that turbines over 100 metres in height must be at least 1km from the nearest properties. This is being challenged in court and we await the outcome with more than a little interest! An article here gives more detail.

The Stop Ipswich Turbines website is an excellent source of up to date information.

Pylons route will blight Suffolk countryside

National Grid’s decision to underground only a quarter of the pylon route from Bramford to Twinstead is extremely disappointing. Pylons were introduced in the 1960s – 60 years ago. It beggars belief that they are still taking the same approach to electricity transmission more than half a century later.

The twelve miles of new overhead lines which will be built as a result of their decision will blight both countryside and communities along its route. The story is covered in today’s East Anglian Daily Times and some route details are given on National Grid’s website. I and my Lib Dem colleagues have opposed the overground option from the start.

Visit Suffolk’s “Green” buildings 8th-11th Sep

The Suffolk Green Buildings Network are taking part in English Heritage’s Open Days 2011. A range of buildings are open to the public between 8th to 11th September and the brochure is attached: Heritage Open Day leaflet

You can visit a number of private homes including a 19th century cottage in Ipswich. Other venues include the HQ of Suffolk Wildlife Trust, the iconic waterfront building of University Campus Suffolk, West Suffolk House in Bury St. Edmunds  and the Mill Green Brewery in Edwardstone. Some need to be booked in advance and full details are in the attached brochure and on their website.

Sizewell Dry Fuel Store

The problem of what to do with nuclear waste raised its ugly head at Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet meeting today. The ponds which house spent fuel rods at Sizewell are reaching capacity and there is still no long term site for nuclear waste disposal, so the waste must be stored locally. Spent rods are to be encased in concrete and housed in a secure building at least 5 metres above sea level. This is to ensure the site is not flooded within the next 10,000 years!

And that is the nub of the nuclear legacy. Decommissioning and the management of spent fuel rods and other radioactive waste has already cost the UK £73bn according to some reports (see

http://www.i-sis.org.uk/The_Real_Cost_of_Nuclear_Power.php). The management of Sellafield alone costs the nation £3bn per year. That is a huge financial commitment and is part of the reason why my party is anti nuclear power. The public has paid out massive subsidies to the nuclear power industry over many years.

Those who are opposed to windpower may be surprised to learn that the Greater Gabbard windfarm off Lowestoft will have more generating capacity than the proposed new twin nuclear reactors at Sizewell. And windfarms will not leave a deadly legacy.

The Cabinet’s decision on the fuel store will now be determined by the new Secretary of State, Lib Dem Chris Huhne. We want to ensure that if this does go ahead, the community benefits for the foreseeable future. We will be writing to Chris Huhne and Suffolk County Council with our suggestions.