Update on A12 roadworks

I have just received this message today from Anna Graham of Highways England (formerly Highways Agency)

“I am writing to provide an update on the resurfacing works between Junctions 33 (Copdock) and 31 (East Bergholt). We have so far laid 11,227 tonnes of surfacing material. The areas of safety barrier and drainage identified for renewal are 78% and 90% complete respectively.

We continue to be on course to complete the works by the end of May, subject to weather conditions.

We are due to switch the contraflow which will involve a full northbound overnight closure on 5 May and an overnight full closure on the southbound carriageway on 7 May. This will enable us to work on the southern section of the southbound carriageway while contraflow is on the northbound carriageway.

There will be a clearly signed diversion route in place. The diversion is from the A14 J56 onto the A137 then B1070 to J31 Four Sisters Interchange and vice versa. HGVs will go via A133, A137 and A14 and vice versa.

On all side roads Gatemen will be present to assist with members of the public who wish to access residences and business’ which may be affected by the road closures.

At Junctions 11 to 12 near Brentwood we have laid approximately 13,572 tonnes of surfacing material. The areas of safety barrier and drainage identified for renewal are 67% and 85% complete respectively.

For Junctions 11 to 12 we will be operating contraflow for approximately three weeks when it’ll be necessary to close the northbound carriageway for 14 overnights to enable the surfacing of the area of the northbound carriageway closest to the M25 which cannot be done under contraflow. I’ll provide an update closer to the time to confirm the start of this phase.

We are not working during the May bank Holidays, however, the speed limit and the cylindrical cones on the centre line of the carriageway will remain in place.

I thank you for your patience while this work is completed.

Yours Sincerely

Anna”

Anna Graham, Project Sponsor
Highways England | Woodlands | Manton Lane | Bedford | MK41 7LW

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

Update on A12 resurfacing J31-33

I have received this update today from Anna Graham of the Highways Agency about progress of the resurfacing works on the A12 and installation of permanent speed cameras between the Essex border and East Bergholt B1070 junction.

I am writing to provide an update on our progress and make you aware of what is happening in the near future.
As you may be aware, poor weather and low temperatures have slowed progress on both the A12 J11 to 12near Brentwood and J33 Copdock to 31 East Bergholt schemes. In addition to this, in spite of our survey work prior to commencing construction work, the milled surface layer was in a lesser state of repair than expected. This was particularly so on the section near Brentwood where we have now replaced this lower layer to ensure the new material is laid on a sound surface. At J33-31 we only needed to repair smaller sections of this lower layer as it was in a better condition than J11-12.
We are now progressing well at J33-31 we have been concentrating on the planned areas of deeper treatment which may currently look like short sections of resurfacing, however, these have been deep repairs, once these have been completed we will be continuing milling out this section and laying  long lengths of surfacing.
As well as the resurfacing work we have been renewing drainage channels, safety fence terminals and installing sign bases. You may also notice that the Permanent Average Speed Cameras are also beginning to be installed, this is a safety scheme which will share part of our traffic management to minimise disruption to road users. There will be separate overnight lane closures (traffic remaining on the A12) for those permanent average speed cameras located further south of the maintenance works. If you have any questions about the Permanent Average Speed Camera works, please contact Martin Oliver, Project Sponsor on Martin.Oliver@highways.gsi.gov.uk.
At J33-31 we are aiming to complete the current phase of work by Monday 9th March where we will switch the overnight contraflow onto the northbound carriageway near the Copdock roundabout and build the buffer zone (the cylindrical cones) on the southbound carriageway. In addition to the traffic management being moved, cabling for one set of cameras will be laid underneath the carriageway. It will be necessary to close the A12 overnight for four nights; two nights in each direction.
The overnight closures are expected to take place from 9th March. We would like to close the carriageway from 9pm until 5am. I appreciate that we proposed to close the carriageway between 10pm and 6am, however, traffic flows begin to increase and therefore, we would consider it better to remove the traffic management earlier. Traffic flows are quieter at 9pm and therefore, less likely to be disruptive for road users and residents.
There will be a clearly signed diversion route in place for the total Closure of A12 northbound carriageway from four Sisters interchange (J31) traffic will be diverted onto the B1070 to the A137 which brings traffic out onto J56 of the A14. HGVs will go via A133, A137 and A14. Vice versa for the southbound carriageway

“On all side roads Gatemen will be present to assist with members of the public who wish to access residences and business’ which may be affected by the road closures.
Following the four nights of closures overnight contraflow will be in operation to enable the resurfacing work of the northbound carriageway to begin. Overnight northbound traffic between J32b and J33 will be guided onto the southbound carriageway which will operate like a single carriageway road. Northbound traffic will be unable to exit local roads; they will be diverted to J33 to bring them southbound on the A12 where they can exit at the appropriate slip. The current speed restrictions will remain in place.
We are conscious that we need to make up time on the programme and therefore, we are looking to start the contraflow from 9pm to 6am Mondays to Thursdays, subject to traffic flows to provide a longer working window. Additionally, we will be working Fridays and Saturdays between 9pm and 8am, subject to traffic flows. I apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause, however, by increasing the working window we hope to reduce the overall time we are working on the road. We are currently programmed to finish all work between J33-31 in May.
At J11-12 near Brentwood, there will be a northbound carriageway closure starting Monday 2nd March for up to two weeks a clearly signed diversion route will be in place. The diversion route will be from J11, Brook St, via the A1023 and back on to the A12 at J12, Mountnessing.  This will enable core samples and central reserve barrier work to be undertaken while allowing for the resurfacing to continue on the northern section of the scheme.
We expect to finish the current phase of work by 14th March when the overnight contraflow will be switched to the northern section of the southbound carriageway. This will require 2 nights of carriageway closure on 14th and 15th March, one night in each direction and will utilise the same diversion route as described above. The closure will be from 9pm and 6am subject to traffic flows.
From the 16th March we will be working to resurface the northern section of the southbound carriageway with contraflow in operation Monday to Saturday between 9pm and 6am, subject to traffic flows.
We are currently programmed to finish all the works between J11-12 at the end of April.
I hope the above is helpful and if I can be of further assistance please contact me

Yours Sincerely

Anna

Anna Graham, Project Sponsor
Highways Agency | Woodlands | Manton Lane | Bedford | MK41 7LW”

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

A12 roadworks update

  • Works are due to start today (Feb 2nd) on the installation of speed cameras on the A12 between the Suffolk/Essex border and East Bergholt junctions. These are not to be confused with the TEMPORARY – although permanent looking – speed cameras already in place to enforce the 40mph limit during the resurfacing works between East Bergholt and Copdock Mill roundabout. There are no current plans to permanently reduce the speed limit between Stratford St. Mary and East Bergholt.
  • Work on building the crossovers between the carriageways continues on the A12 between East Bergholt and Copdock Mill roundabout. Nightime closures are in operation between 9.30pm and 5.30am on the A12 Southbound carriageway from the Copdock Mill roundabout entrance. The sign says this started on 26th Jan and is for 19 nights.
  • Any queries should be directed to 0300 123 5000 or email: ha_info@highways.gsi.gov.uk

 

A12 Roadworks update

Here is an update from Anna Graham of the Highways Agency (more details also in the December parish report:

A12 J31 – J33 improvement works

I am writing to inform you that we will be carrying out works to improve the road network on the A12 between junction 31 (Four Sisters Interchange) and junction 33 (Copdock Interchange). The works are part of essential maintenance to ensure that the A12 remains in a safe and serviceable condition.

There are a number of phases to the works:

•    Phase 1 – Work to build cross over locations to enable the use of contraflow is expected to begin, subject to weather conditions, overnight on 8 December for two weeks, finishing on 19 December. The work will be carried out by closing one lane in each direction with a reduced speed limit from 10pm to 6 am. The works may create delays in getting to and from your business for your staff and customers, for which we apologise.

•    Phase 2 – The main work to resurface the carriageway is anticipated to start in the New Year for approximately 8 weeks, subject to weather conditions. This work is to be carried out using overnight contraflow between the hours of 10pm and 6 am. A reduced speed limit will be in operation 24 hours a day for the safety of both road users and the workforce. During the day the A12 will operate at its current capacity.

•    Phase 3 – The installation of cross over gates and finishing works are due to take place following the completion of the contraflow phase. It may be necessary to close the carriageway overnight between 10pm and 6 am for up to two weeks in order to undertake the work. A clearly signed diversion route will be in place, including a dedicated HGV diversion route. More details will follow.

Drivers will be diverted to exit at junction 31 (Four Sisters Interchange) and then onto the B1070, A137 and A14 to re-join A12 at junction 33 (Copdock) and vice versa. Lorries will be advised to follow A133, A137 and A14.

I will write to you again in the New Year with a further update regarding the next stage of the works.

We will do our utmost to complete the works as quickly as possible, avoiding disturbance and keeping noise to a minimum. Once complete, the work will reduce the need for future maintenance at this location. If you have any enquiries please contact the Highways Agency Information Line (HAIL) on 0300 123 5000, or by email to: ha_info@highways.gsi.gov.uk.

Yours faithfully,

Anna Graham
Highways Agency

December report to Mid Samford parishes

Monthly report for December 2014 from District Councillors Sue Carpendale and Kathy Pollard

In this report:

  • Local housing development
  • Food Standards Agency Audit
  • Food businesses and allergen information
  • Resurfacing works on the A12

Local housing development

We have been aware for some time that larger villages like Capel St. Mary may be approached by developers to build housing on Greenfield sites around the perimeter of the village. We have previously reported that under Babergh’s new local development plan we may expect an additional 100 houses over the next 20 years. However that number is not a maximum. We provide an attractive location, being reasonably close to railway stations and larger shopping centres, with “good” road links. We also have a wide range of facilities already available in the village – shops, school, library, GP and dental surgeries, etc.

We cannot stop planning applications being lodged, but we can try to ensure that you are fully involved and informed about the detail of any development. We will always work with the parish council to ensure this happens. Babergh District council is currently encouraging developers to come forward with suggestions for development. We and the parish council have already been approached by an “intermediary” seeking out our views on suitable sites in Capel. We ensured that a planning officer was present from Babergh council to advise us and made the “intermediary” aware that we were unable to recommend any site to them.

Food Standards Agency Audit

The Food Standards Agency has recently carried out an audit of the work of the food standards team at Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils. The team carry out important work ensuring that all catering and retail food premises meet the required food hygiene standards.

There are more than 2,000 catering and retail food businesses in Babergh and Mid Suffolk. This includes a high number of home businesses. In addition there are a number of national and international food manufacturers including a sushi manufacturer as well as regular farmers markets.

The audit report states:

“It was clear from inspection records that officers were knowledgeable and experienced in identifying food safety hazards in businesses. Inspections were consistently focused on potential risks and the Authority was able to demonstrate a well-established emphasis on achieving business compliance, supporting and assisting local food businesses to meet legal standards.”

The issues highlighted for improvement by the audit team were fairly minor. They included improvements to the recording of decisions on the follow up actions the councils require from businesses after an inspection and the documentation of procedures.

The full report is available here

Food businesses and allergen information

Currently when supermarket bakeries, delis, cafes and restaurants sell loose foods they don’t have to provide information to customers about food allergens, but from 13 December 2014 all food businesses will need to verbally explain or signpost allergenic information for the food they sell or provide. Food allergies can cause life-threatening reactions and the numbers of people with this condition are growing. A reaction can occur within minutes following the consumption of food and symptoms can include itching, pain, diarrhoea and even, in severe cases, anaphylaxis.

The primary cause of food allergy deaths in the UK is due to allergic reactions when food is consumed outside the home where allergenic ingredients have not been declared. The new rules will mean that all food businesses will need to inform customers if any of 14 allergenic ingredients are present in the food they make or service. This can be communicated to customers in writing on menus, verbally through explanations by staff or signposted to where or how more information can be found. Although the new EU rules are coming into force in December 2014, they were published in October 2011, to give food businesses three years to get ready for the new provisions.

Resurfacing works on the A12

We attended a briefing meeting by the Highways Agency on December 1st, which aimed to inform parishes and local councillors about the resurfacing works due to be carried out in the New Year.

Here are the main points:

  • The resurfacing works will be between the B1070 (junction 31) and Copdock Mill (junction 33). It is a £5m scheme and will be carried out in January and February – weather permitting. All work will be carried out between 10pm and 6am. The slip roads will also be resurfaced. During the roadworks a contact number will be displayed should there be any accidents or other problems along the route.
  • There will be 2 weeks preparatory work to install cross over points. This work will start on December 8th. No work will be carried out between 23rd December and January 2nd.
  • There will be contraflow overnight with a 40mph limit, enforced by average speed cameras. The speed limit will be in force 24 hours a day while the resurfacing is carried out. CCTV will also be used to spot any problems and there will be free breakdown recovery.
  • During the day traffic will flow as normal on both carriageways but with speed restrictions and an overtaking ban.
  • Whilst the resurfacing is being carried out the contractors will also take the opportunity to renew road signs, drainage and safety barriers and to carry out maintenance on lighting, tree management and gully clearing.
  • The existing top layer of tarmac will be partially removed with a fine milling machine and traffic will run on this temporary surface. We were assured that the grip is good and that it will be safe for motorbikes. The new surface will then be laid on top. This method has been used successfully on the A421 in Bedfordshire and we were told it will save hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money.
  • Following completion of the road resurfacing there will be a further two weeks night-time work to install permanent “crossing gates”. This is so the contraflow can be set up more easily in the future e.g. for resurfacing or if there is an accident or any other maintenance requiring carriage closure.
  • Diversion routes may be required overnight when the crossing gates are being installed. HGVs will be diverted either from Colchester or East Bergholt along the A137 to the A14 Wherstead interchange. Light traffic will be diverted along the old A12 at Copdock. Sat navs should be able to pick up the diversions.
  • They are hoping that the promised average speed cameras between East Bergholt and the Essex border will be installed at the same time.

sue.carpendale@babergh.gov.uk 

kathy.pollard@babergh.gov.uk

Campaigning for A12 improvements in South Suffolk

From Sue Carpendale and Kathy Pollard, District Councillors

There are constant reports in the press of delays due to accidents on the A12. Apart from the human misery this causes, there is a knock on effect to the economy. The A12 is, of course, part of the strategic route to the East Coast ports. We have been involved with campaigns to improve safety on the A12 for more than 30 years. Three years ago we compiled a report with the help of Bill Davies, Chair of Stratford St. Mary parish council, and Lorraine Clark, a local resident. This highlighted the high numbers of accidents between the Essex border and Copdock Mill interchange and made suggestions for improvements, including average speed cameras.

With the upturn in the national economy, traffic has begun to increase again. Tailbacks at Copdock Mill roundabout are becoming more frequent and the likelihood of accidents along the A12 is rising. We felt it was time to set up another meeting with the Highways Agency to seek further action. This meeting took place at the Stratford Institutute on July 30th. We had invited every parish council along the route to send a representative and most attended. District and County Councillors were also invited.

Funding of road improvements has been reduced in the last few years, due to austerity measures, but there is better news for the next 5 year period with big increases in the roads budget. The regional A12 route management strategy has ackowledged the same safety issues we raised in our earlier report in 2011, for example the dangerously short slip roads at Stratford St. Mary and East Bergholt and the winding nature of the A12 between those two villages. In addition there are clusters of accidents all along the A12 and “shunts” on the approach to the Copdock Mill roundabout. Virtually the whole road is substandard from the Essex border up to the Copdock Mill junction.

Issues discussed at the meeting with the Highways Agency on July 30th included:

  1. Capel underpass flooding
    The Highways Agency representatives admitted that there had been a reporting problem when the Capel underpass flooded. It is their responsibility and repair works have now been carried out to the pumps. There was also no information about the underpass closure on the overhead gantry signs and no diversion signs had been set up. We also asked about maintenance as the paintwork is looking very shabby and rust is showing through.
  2. Average speed cameras between the Essex border and East Bergholt
    The installation of these has been delayed until January 2015. The Highways Agency are anticipating the saving of three personal injury accidents each year following installation. The speed limit will remain at 70mph. Speed measurements along this stretch showed that 15% of motorists were travelling above 74mph.
  3. Resurfacing work
    A major programme of resurfacing will be carried out next year between Copdock Mill interchange and the B1070 (East Bergholt) junction. There will be an opportunity to improve drainage, barriers and signage at the same time. Work will be carried out at night.
  4. Noise from the A12
    The Highways Agency was asked what was being done to reduce noise from the A12 as it has become an increasing problem over the years. The response was that nothing specific is being planned at present, but that the new surface should be a little quieter.
  5. Copdock Interchange improvements
    As well as the increase in queuing traffic, there were also complaints about poor and confusing lane marking on the roundabout. Lane swapping is also an issue. Suffolk County Council are currently putting together some options for improvements.
  6. Other safety issues
    The short slip road at the entrance and exit from the garage on the Southbound carriageway at Capel St. Mary was mentioned as an accident risk.
  7. Closure of Hughes Corner right turn to Higham/Stoke by Nayland
    Although accidents have reduced on the A12 near this junction, closure of the Hughes Corner right turn has had a major impact on traffic through Higham and Stratford St. Mary.
  8. Setting up of an A12 Forum
    The Highways Agency representatives suggest that we set up a forum to lobby for improvements and that a further meeting should take place in September/October. With this in mind we will explore further dates with them and invite parish, district and county representatives.

sue.carpendale@babergh.gov.uk  kathy.pollard@babergh.gov.uk

July report to parishes for Mid Samford ward

 

Sue Carpendale and Kathy Pollard, Babergh District Councillors

In this edition:

  • Helping people who are less well off
  •  Application to build 24-houses on land behind London Road, Capel St. Mary (B/14/00100/OUT)
  •  A12 Safety
  •  Capel Community Trust meeting
  •  Changes to the way you register to vote
  • Campaign to reduce food waste

Helping people who are less well off

A recent survey of council tenants in Babergh revealed that hundreds felt they need advice and information about:

  • dealing with household expenses,
  • help with ensuring they receive the right amount of benefit, and
  • help in moving, swapping or downsizing their homes.

Many people on low incomes – including pensioners – are enticed into taking out expensive loans for essential items like cookers and washing machines. Less than one if five of those surveyed had heard of the Suffolk Credit Union, which offers low interest loans. They may also be paying well over the odds for their energy via prepayment meters. Welfare reforms have also had an impact and for some managing their everyday living expenses is not an easy task.

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.

Application to build 24-houses on land behind London Road, Capel St. Mary (B/14/00100/OUT)

We have received a number of enquiries about the progress of this planning application, but as we write it has still not been scheduled into the planning committee cycle. We have asked for a site inspection so that planning committee members can see the site for themselves before a decision is made.

Capel St. Mary Parish Council discussed this back in March and recommended refusal.

We are aware of a number of concerns about the plans including density, access, ecology and other environmental issues.

The plans are outline (ie in principle) only at this stage. The site is on land to the West of Pine Dell and Ashcroft, London Road. It is an area of open ground behind the houses on London Road and is bounded by hedges and a few mature trees on two sides. A public footpath runs along the perimeter on the third side between London Road and Butchers Lane. The application can be viewed on the Babergh website here

A12 Safety

High numbers of accidents on the A12 between Copdock Mill roundabout and the Essex border continue to cause disruption, delay and human misery for any who use this road on a regular basis. We have organised a meeting with the Highways Agency on July 30th at which we can discuss some of the causes of these accidents and possible remedies. Parish council and District and County representatives have been invited.

 Capel Community Trust meeting

We attended the open meeting held by the Community Trust on June 30th in the Vine Lounge. There was a good attendance from village clubs and organizations as well as individuals. Trust members clearly have a mammoth task in managing the Village Hall complex and Playing Field.

The most pressing challenge is the replacement of the village hall roof at an estimated cost of £100k. We were impressed by the openness of Trust members to new ideas. They want to tap into the many and varied talents – and goodwill – of village residents. I’m sure we all want to see fit for purpose facilities in our village and if you can offer help in any way they would be pleased to hear from you. They are setting up a number of sub-groups: fundraising, property, finance and special purposes, events, community and village liaison and business strategy development. Details of meetings appear in Capel Capers and there is an open forum for members of the public.

HGVs in Holton St. Mary

We have been dealing with complaints from Holton residents about HGVs travelling through the village to Notley Enterprise Park at some speed early in the morning. This is being investigated by Babergh’s enforcement officers and some improvements have been noticed but we will continue to keep up the pressure.

Changes to the way you register to vote

At present there is one registration form which has to be filled in for each eligible adult in a household. New applications will include the need to provide a National Insurance number. You may not need to take any action if you are already registered to vote at your current address, although Babergh may write to you to ask you for additional information. More details are available here

Campaign to reduce food waste

The Suffolk Waste partnership has recently launched this campaign. On average every household throws away 20% of the food we buy at a cost of £700 per year. More details: http://www.suffolkrecycling.org.uk