October report to Mid Samford parishes

From District Councillors Sue Carpendale and Kathy Pollard

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

A14 Tolling

Babergh District councillors recently debated the issue of tolling on the A14 near Huntingdon. The Highways Agency have been consulting on the issue, but there was a tight deadline for responses by October 13th. More details of the proposed scheme are available on the Highways Agency website

Improvements to the route will cost £1.5bn, and the consultation suggests that motorists should contribute towards these costs by introducing tolls.  Recently announced road improvements elsewhere in England do NOT include tolls. Suffolk’s Chamber of Commerce point out that an A14 toll would be a major departure from current practice. Until now there have only been tolls on river crossings or the M6, where there is a clear alternative for all traffic. Details of their “No Toll Tax on Suffolk” campaign are on their website

There will be much needed improvements to the Girton interchange on the Cambridge Northern Bypass. The toll would be imposed on the new section of the A14 near Huntingdon and the proposal is to use automatic number plate recognition. We are unclear about how this will work with foreign vehicles.

The majority of Babergh councillors supported the view that vehicles should not be tolled. The campaign against tolling is being led by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and has the support of all councils in the County as well as many commercial organisations. A fuller account is available on Kathy’s blog (see address above), but here are some extracts:

  • Tolls on the A14 would be discriminatory, adding costs to businesses in the East of England.
  • Many heavy goods haulage firms have a policy of not paying tolls. Tolls on the A14 will lead to traffic diverting onto less suitable alternative routes leading to an increase in congestion and accidents on those routes.

Textile recycling

Don’t forget that you can recycle textiles including shoes and handbags in the special bags provided. These should be tied up and placed inside the blue bin on top of your other recycling. However the bags are not being replaced automatically and to order replacements you have to ring 0845 603 9412, or email:  textiles@suffolk.gov.uk or call in at the library.

Please continue to give good quality items to charity shops and other good causes. The textile recycling service is really for items that would otherwise go in your black bin and be sent to landfill.

More information at www.greensuffolk.org/recycling/textiles-recycling/

Better Broadband initiative

Suffolk currently has some of the poorest broadband coverage in England, with no coverage at all in some parts of the County.  Suffolk councils have agreed to allocate investment to a maximum of £11.68m, which is matched by a further £11.68m from national Government. BT were awarded the contract to carry out the improvements.

  • The average broadband speed currently experienced by Suffolk’s consumers and small businesses is under 5Mbps (Megabits per second).
  • This average masks wide variations in speeds across the County; around a quarter get between 2Mbps and 4Mbps, and nearly one fifth (60,000 premises) get less than 2Mbps, with some parts of Suffolk unable to receive any broadband service at all.

The vision for Suffolk’s Better Broadband Programme is to deliver Superfast Broadband, offering typical speeds of 100Mbps, to everyone (100% of homes and small business) in Suffolk by 2020.  The interim objective is to get faster, more reliable broadband services to everyone in Suffolk by 2015.

However there will still be “black holes” in the coverage in sparsely populated rural areas and an alternative technology “fix” will be needed there.

Once deployment is completed in October 2015, 90% of Suffolk will have fibre broadband (85% of which with access speeds of at least 24Mbps), with the remaining 10% accessing speeds between 2Mbps and 24Mbps via a range of technologies.

To check the rollout of the programme in your area please look at the website: www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com

Suffolk County Council’s Scrutiny committee looked at this issue at their meeting on Sep 26th and the above information is taken from the report which is available here

Babergh District Council meeting 19th Sep

The following items were discussed at the meeting:

  • A14 tolling (details included in this report)
  • Annual Treasury Management Report 2012/13
  • Scrap Metal Dealers Act
  • Statement of Accounts for the year 2012/13
  • Terms of reference for joint committees of Babergh and Mid Suffolk
  • Allocation of lead member roles to councillors: Kathy is the lead member for Public Access

Further details available on the Babergh website

Good luck to my Lib Dem colleagues

As I draw to the end of my 20 year term of office on Suffolk County Council I thank all those who have voted for, and supported me, over that time. I have enjoyed working with my parish councils in Belstead Brook. They have been a great bunch of people. I have also enjoyed working with campaign groups, including “Bury not Blight”, who want to stop new electricity pylons, and recently “SIT”, who are campaigning against two giant 430 foot wind turbines on land between Belstead, Wherstead and Pinewood. Both groups are trying to stop further unsightly clutter in our beautiful Suffolk countryside.We have been quite clear from the start that we don’t want any more pylons or giant wind turbines. Other parties have been rather shy about making their views known – apart from the Greens, who are backing the wind turbines.

In 1993 we ended 104 years of Conservative rule in Suffolk. For 12 years we prioritised education and social care, and made our streets safer with 30mph village speed limits – the initiative of my Lib Dem colleague, Peter Monk. Education in Suffolk was widely admired. We were in the top 30 councils in England – unlike now, after eight years of Conservative rule, when we are close to the bottom of the league table.

It is with great sadness that I’ve watched the decline and closure of services under the Conservatives. Household waste sites have closed, as have youth clubs. Bus services have been cut, with no services on Sundays and Bank Holidays and very few evening services. Conservative Guy McGregor closed the Bury Road Park and Ride service two years ago and passenger numbers on the two remaining Park and Ride services have plummeted from just over one million to half that. The introduction of a charge for over 60s and disabled pass holders and the increased fares for families has clearly discouraged many people from using the service – coupled with the Countywide ban on using bus passes before 9.30am – even for hospital appointments. So much for the Greenest County!

Although we still have all our libraries, they are no longer run by the County Council. Suffolk Libraries have been outsourced and their future funding is uncertain. They’ve been told that they must raise £100,000 from local communities this year. So, whilst council tax is frozen, the public will still have to stump up if we want to retain our much cherished library service.

I attach a copy of the Conservatives’ end of term report (School Report web) which gives a much fuller picture of their record in office. I and my Lib Dem colleagues have worked extremely hard over the last eight years to hold them to account. We joined the public in the campaign to keep all our libraries open, fought against the closure of Middle Schools, household waste sites, youth clubs, the Bury Road Park and Ride service and the eXplore student discount card (which we introduced in 2005 and they axed in the middle of the 2011 academic year). They have failed to keep contract costs under control, having abolished the committee where councillors monitored such contracts.

We have exposed some of the excesses of their spending – £500,000 in one year alone on gagging orders for departing staff; £20m – a £6m overspend – on new offices at Landmark House next to the A14 in the North West of Ipswich. On the other side of the road lies the derelict Bury Road Park and Ride terminus. Ironically the spend on Landmark House would have kept that Park and Ride service running for nearly 40 years! Heaven only knows that Ipswich Town centre needs all the support it can get right now. The continuing road works are a further discouragement to shoppers.

We also exposed a rise of £10m in salaries paid to top earners at Suffolk County Council in just 5 years – including the £218,000 a year paid to the former Chief Executive, Andrea Hill. The list goes on. And whilst they have been cutting services, they have amassed reserves of £152m. Whose money is this? Shouldn’t it be spent on services?

It is easy when in power to forget that the principle role of councillors  is to provide the best possible services within the resources available. There is no room for arrogance and egotism, which can easily blind those in power to the needs of the people they are there to serve. I won’t miss the Conservative front bench, who regularly treat opposition councillors – and the public – with contempt. “How do you put up with that behaviour?” people ask. Well there’s only so long that you can tolerate being treated in that way. In my case my health – and my family – have dictated that I stand down.

The public will decide tomorrow who runs Suffolk County Council for the next four years. The last eight years of Conservative rule in the County have been disastrous. Democracy is officially dead. Eight Conservative councillors make all the decisions and the backbenchers are just voting fodder.

Suffolk deserves better.

For a list of Lib Dem candidates go to our website

Published and promoted by D. Busby, on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, all at 16 Two Acres, Capel St. Mary, Ipswich IP9 2XP

 

REPORT TO PARISHES, Mid-Samford Ward: March 2013

From Babergh District Councillors Sue Carpendale and Kathy Pollard

Council Tax

Council met on 26 February 2013 to set this year’s budget and council tax. As predicted, there is no increase for Babergh. Overall, the total Council Tax amounts for parishes in the Mid Samford Ward will be: Capel St Mary £1508.54; Great Wenham and Little Wenham £1437.16; Holton St Mary £1485.24; Stratford St Mary £1484.24.

Housing Revenue account, rents and charges

Housing rents are increased by 5.17% – the average will be £90.12 per week; sheltered communal service charges are increased by 5%; sheltered utilities charges are decreased by 2.88%.

Council will be creating a new “build/acquisitions pot” from existing capital programme levels and anticipated right to buy receipts..The housing register currently has 1725 applicants; each year there are some 250 vacancies. There is a requirement for additional affordable homes in the District to meet this need. The financial climate is creating a new group of people who are finding it increasingly difficult to secure housing, leading to an increase in the number of privately rented homes.

Gypsy and Traveller Strategy for Norfolk and Suffolk

Babergh approved this strategy for the years up to 2014 at the February Council. Predominantly it sets out a framework for support combining improved relationships, and understanding, along with more tangible proposals about encampments, welfare, discrimination, education and health inequalities. The action plan includes specific undertakings to address the needs for residential accommodation and locations for transit provision across both counties

Village of the Year 2013

The 2013 village of the year event was launched last month – there are seven villages that qualify to enter this year from Babergh (electoral roll of between 1251 and 2250): Acton, Brantham, East Bergholt, Great Waldingfield, Holbrook, Lavenham and Shotley.  All the relevant parish clerks have received email copies of the brochure and application form and entries close on 20th May.  

Vision and priorities for Babergh

In March Strategy will be hoping to propose the following.

  • To create an environment where individuals, families, communities and businesses can thrive and flourish. 
  • Shape, influence and provide the leadership to enable growth whilst protecting and enhancing our environment. 
  • Shape, influence and provide the leadership to achieve the right mix and supply of housing. 
  • Shape, influence and provide the leadership to support and facilitate active, healthy and safe communities.

 Hughes Corner central reservation closure is delayed

Work on the closure of the central reservation gap on the A12 at the Hughes Corner junction (B1068 Stoke by Nayland turning) is now scheduled for early April. Traffic counts have been taken on both the A12 and local roads prior to the changes in order to monitor traffic patterns before and after.

As we mentioned last time there are particular concerns around the inappropriate use of School Lane in Stratford St. Mary. All advance signing to Higham will be removed and the road will be labelled as “Single track with passing places”.

 What happens to your recycling?

The Suffolk Waste Partnership has produced a very interesting document, which highlights what happens to the waste that we recycle here in Suffolk. This includes information about how many tonnes of waste are recycled in each category, where the waste ends up, and the fact that as a County we recycle 53.2% of our waste. Here is the link to the document.

 Inquiry into development plans begins

The Inquiry into Babergh’s “Local Development Framework” began on Tuesday 5th March. This will become the basis for housing and business/industrial development over the next 20 years. It is taking place in the council chamber at the Hadleigh offices and is expected to run for two weeks.

Demand responsive transport

We thought it would be helpful to publicise the two demand responsive transport services which cover this area. Both services will provide connections with other bus services. More details on the website

Suffolk Links Buzabout:

This service operates from 0700 to 1900 Monday to Saturday (except Public Holidays). The bus will take you to the railway stations at Ipswich or Manningtree, the London Road Park & Ride site at Copdock or any of the villages within the area shown on the map in leaflets and on the website. Connections can be made for onwards travel to places further afield such as Ipswich town centre, Lowestoft or Norwich.

  • You can call 0845 458 1920 up to a week before you wish to travel and book your journey. 
  • The booking service is open from 0900 to 1600, Monday to Friday (except Public Holidays).

 Suffolk Links Brett:

This service operates from 0700 to 1900, Mondays to Saturdays. The bus will take you to Hadleigh or any of the villages within the area shown on the map on the website and in leaflets. Connections can be made for onwards travel to places further afield such as Ipswich, Sudbury or Colchester.

  • Call 01473 828202 up to a week before you wish to travel and book your journey.
  • The booking service is open from 0900 to 1200, Monday to Friday.

 The area served covers Bildeston, Hadleigh, Capel St Mary, Stratford St Mary, Stoke-by-Nayland and Brent Eleigh, Holton St. Mary and villages in between.

Out of Hours Provider is changing – Stafford and rural homes (SARH)

As from the 1st April 2013, the provider of Out Of Hours (OOH) services for both Babergh and Mid Suffolk is changing. A full and robust joint procurement exercise was undertaken by the commissioning team and a range of officers. The successful providers are SARH who already provide similar services for a range of organisations, including local authorities and housing associations. The five-year contract, will be delivered by SARH’s ‘You First’ service which provides independent living accommodation, extra care housing, Telecare and Lifeline services and a 24 hour customer call centre. The new contact number for Babergh will be 01473 826622. For more information click here

Suffolk eXplore card is back on the agenda

Conservatives at Suffolk County Council seem to have admitted they were wrong to axe the eXplore student discount card two years ago. Young people have been badly affected by the loss of this discount card, as transport costs to training and education have hit them hard.

My Lib Dem colleague Councillor Caroline Page has campaigned tirelessly to get it reinstated and has really listened to young people. She says

We all told the Conservatives that scrapping the eXplore card would – and did – cause huge problems to those who wanted to get an education and a job.  But the Cabinet member for Roads and Transport memorably replied, “you can’t spend a pound more than once.” In such circumstances, the wise idea is to choose carefully what you do spend your pounds on in the first place. This was the same Cabinet that agreed the expenditure of really quite a lot of pounds on Suffolk Circle.” (Note: around £700,000 was spent on the Suffolk Circle project, which largely duplicates work already being done by charities in Suffolk.)

Caroline added: “Why has it taken so long for the Conservatives to implement this decision? Why didn’t they just review the eXplore card rather than cutting it completely and leaving many young people struggling to get to college and employment? Why has this happened now, when this is an issue that should have been extremely important throughout the years, and not just pre-election?”

See her blog here

Ipswich Park and Ride consultation – ends Jan 5th

As usual the Tories are running a short consultation period for an important service. The Park and Ride contract ends in October 2013 and the tender documents are being drawn up now. The survey period has run for just a few weeks and ends on January 5th, so please act now.

The survey is online at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/IpswichPR2012

It will ask you whether the service should continue to run straight through from the Copdock site to Martlesham and vice versa. These were originally two separate services and they both ran in a loop around the town centre. It was much easier for people to find the return bus stops and it was also easier for people with mobility difficulties, as they could get on and off at the same stop, thus limiting the amount of walking they had to do.

When the service was combined many people stopped using the service to get to work as it became less punctual – any hold up at either end of the route resulted in major delays. Many older people also stopped using the service, because they had to walk too far to the return stop.

People using the service for the first time get very confused about where to get the bus back. When there were two routes you could still transfer to get to the hospital by getting off one bus and onto the next at any of the town centre bus stops. In the reverse direction you could do the same if you wanted to get to the station.

If you want to have your say on this important service do fill in the survey. It will only take a couple of minutes.

Concessionary fares in Suffolk – no change from Tories

The Conservative Cabinet at Suffolk County Council have once more decided to ride roughshod over the needs of vulnerable people in the County. The Lib Dem group at Suffolk County Council has been fighting for the rights of disabled and older people to regain the ability to travel free of charge before 9.30am. Before Suffolk County Council took over the administration of concessionary passes in April 2011, the Borough and District councils in Suffolk had placed no time restriction on travel.

The ruling Conservatives failed to carry out a full equality impact assessment when they restricted travel and groups representing disabled people were not consulted. Understandably they are very upset. So upset that they have contacted the Equality and Human Rights Commission who have written to the council saying that their equality impact procedure is in need of considerable improvement. It even hints that the County Council’s decision making procedure may be unlawful. They have asked that the decision made today should be sent to them without delay.

The consultation launched in late October allowed only 12 days to submit responses. The Royal National Institute for the Blind pointed out that this was totally inadequate. The RNIB had previously challenged Norfolk County Council, who have now changed their policy for people with visual impairments. And what about people with learning disabilities who have to get to work before 9.30am? Numbers are small and it would surely cost very little to allow them to travel free at any time. It would make a huge difference to those who need to travel to work or training each day. The council has already allocated suffocient funds in its budget and it could trial the scheme for 6 months or a year and then review the cost. Other councils in the East of England already operate schemes for their concessionary pass holders without any time restrictions. Hertfordshire is one of those councils. Why don’t they ask them how much it costs instead of making wild and overinflated predictions?

All we asked was that over 60s pass holders be allowed to travel from 9am. In some villages buses only run every two hours and the first bus they can use free of charge is after 11am, including Copdock and Washbrook in my Division. We also asked that disabled bus pass holders be allowed to travel without restriction, as they had done prior to April last year.

There was also no specific question in the County Council’s consultation about access to medical facilities, for example, hospital and GP appointments. This is a known problem where patients have early appointments and I have no confidence that anything will be done to improve this.

The crazy thing is that the Tories are underspent on the budget for concessionary fares. They clearly lack the will to do anything about the additonal cost their inflexible policy is imposing on people on low incomes, in spite of pretending to be on the side of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Suffolk County Council report to Parishes October 2012

Concessionary Fares issue to be looked at again

The County Council Cabinet has been forced to look again at their decision to provide only the statutory minimum  free travel (0930-2300 weekdays, all day weekends and bank holidays), after the Liberal Democrat Group called the decision into the Scrutiny Committee at the end of September.

 The original decision had failed to take account of a number of important principles. Not only was there a lack of consultation, but the Conservative administration had also failed to take into account the negative impact their decision had had on many peoples’ lives, including those with disabilities.

 A number of public speakers were also present at the meeting highlighting the lack of consultation before the decision was made. The Committee voted by seven votes to three to send this decision back to the Cabinet to be considered again. 

 The Lib Dem group originally raised this issue back in July 2011, asking for Cabinet to reconsider its decision and provide 24/7 travel for those eligible due to disability, and to allow over 60s pass holders to travel from 0900.

 If you would like more information about the Call-in, please click here   

Proposed wind turbines in Belstead/Wherstead         

 I attended a packed public meeting on this issue on September 30th at Pinewood Community Hall. The meeting had been organised by SIT (Stop Ipswich Turbines) and heard from two residents of Kessingland who had initially not opposed the erection of two wind turbines adjacent to their village. Now they are plagued by noise and flicker and said it is causing them aggravation and depression. They said they wished they had opposed it at the time.

 No-one from Partnership for Renewables was present at the meeting. The site for the two proposed wind turbines belongs to Ipswich Borough Council, who have the power to stop the process now. SIT have started a petition which is available for signing at Pinewood Community Hall. More details of the campaign at www.stopipswichturbines.com

 The Kessingland campaign to turn off the turbines also has a website: www.turnthemoff.co.uk

The Evening Star and East Anglian Daily Times ran a recent poll asking whether these turbines should be built. I haven’t seen the results yet. The site is visible from the densely populated areas of Pinewood and Belstead Hills as well as Belstead and Wherstead villages.

 September County Council Meeting

 The County Council meeting in September had quite a light agenda, but proved relatively eventful.  A motion had been put forward, encouraging local communities to adopt 20mph speed limits in towns and villages. However, an amendment proposed by the Conservatives was such a radical change to the original text that the opposition parties, apart from the proposer and seconder of the original motion, walked out of the Council chamber. The amendment effectively proposed that only the Cabinet member for Transport would have any say on whether 20mph limits would be adopted.

 Cabinet Meetings

 In September Cabinet voted to take the Better Broadband bid for Suffolk to the next stage, increasing the level of money invested by Suffolk County Council by £1.38m.

 At the previous meeting the Cabinet also confirmed the Council’s commitment to sign up to the Suffolk Armed Forces Community Covenant on the 11th of October.

 For the Broadband report from the Cabinet meeting on the 24th of September please click here  For the reports at the previous Cabinet meeting on the 11th of September please click here  

Grand Driver Scheme

Suffolk County Council, in partnership with Suffolk Roadsafe, has launched the Grand Driver scheme which aims to provide support to the increasing numbers of elderly drivers on the road.  While there is evidence to suggest that the likelihood of crashes increases with age, older adults are generally renowned as being safety conscious and law abiding drivers.

 The scheme has been set up to help assist the continuation of safe driving, as the proportion of older drivers increases. 

The scheme is made up of 3 main elements and takes place on a demand led basis (with some element having a fee):

  • Insight and awareness of attitudes to driving and self-regulatory behaviour – via completion of the specially developed Older Driver Risk Index (psychometric questionnaire)
  • An opportunity to update and refresh knowledge and discuss driving matters at workshops arranged throughout Suffolk
  • A driving assessment and feedback in your own vehicle focusing on safe driving and coping strategies

 For more information, please contact Michelle Haward:
Tel: 01473 265256
E-mail: Michelle.haward@suffolk.gov.uk

 Scampaign – Lottery Scams   

 The latest update from the Trading Standards Scheme is a warning about lottery scams, which often claim you have won a significant amount of money on an overseas or online lottery and ask for you personal information including your bank account details.  Please find below the information released by Trading Standards in order to help protect yourself.

 Protecting yourself against lottery fraud:

  • Never respond to any communication – if you haven’t entered a lottery then you can’t have won it.
  • Any request for a fee payment is a good indication that someone is trying to defraud you – there are no official lottery operators who ask for fees to collect winnings
  • Never, ever disclose your bank details or pay fees in advance
  • If they’ve provided an email address to respond to, be very suspicious of addresses such as @hotmail.com or @yahoo.com or numbers beginning with 07
  • Genuine lotteries thrive on publicity. If they ask you to keep your win a secret it’s likely to be a fraud
  • Many fraudulent lotteries have bad spelling and grammar – see this as a warning that fraudsters are at work

 What to do if you are a victim of lottery fraud:

  • Report to Action Fraud specialists by calling 0300 123 2040
  • If you have responded to the email/letter/call, break off all contact with the fraudsters at once
  • If you have given over your bank account details, alert your bank immediately
  • Be aware that you’re now likely to be a target for other frauds. Fraudsters often share details about people they have successfully targeted or approached, using different identities to commit further frauds

Weight restriction at Sproughton bridge

Suffolk County Council intends to place a temporary 7.5 tonne structural weight restriction on Sproughton Bridge, Lower Street, Sproughton

A recent structural review has led to a prohibition of vehicles exceeding 7.5 tonnes maximum gross weight over the bridge for reasons of safety. This will remain in place until the bridge can be fully strengthened or reconstructed.

Map, including alternative route is here: Spr bridge restriction

Snow clearing on roads and pavements and info on school closures

Spare a thought for the gritter crews who are out in all conditions and times of the day, making sure we can get to our destination. Information about road conditions can be found on local radio sites like Radio Suffolk. The County Council also has information about snow clearance and road gritting. Use this link

The national site DirectGov also explodes the myth that you will be sued if you clear the snow outside your property! It also gives practical advice on snow clearance here

School closures

For reliable information about school closures use the County Council’s website. Link here

Temporary road closures in Burstall and Pinewood

Burstall/Aldham Road Closures

Map of closure and alternative at link below

2012-01-30-NA-Plan-C726 Church Hill

C726 Church Hill, Burstall

C726 Ipswich Road, Burstall

C726 Burstall Hill, Burstall

C726 Road from A1071 Burstall to A1071 Hadleigh, Aldham

C726 The Street Aldham

Reason for closure

 Highway Maintenance

 Date of closure                         30/01/2012 to 17/02/2012

 Alternative routes

The roads will be closed on a rolling basis. The diversion routes will be:

 C726 Burstall Road, A1071 Hadleigh Road, A1071 Thorpes Hill, A1071 Silver Hill, A1071 George Street, A1071 Wilderness Hill, A1071 Back Road, U4420 Priory Road.

 U8406 Hadleigh Road, U8406 The Street, U8412 Flowton Road, U8408 Flowton Road

 Enquiries regarding this closure should be made to the following:-

 

Applicant Suffolk County Council
Contact Name Tom Nunn
Telephone Number 0845 606 6171
Email Tom.nunn@suffolk.gov.uk

 Pinewood Road closure

 Link to map of road closure and diversionary routes below:

2012-03-26-NA-Plan-A1071 U4211

A1071 – From U4336 Poplar Lane to the A1214 London Road

U4211 Scrivener Drive – From A1214 London Road to U5806 London Road Service Road

 Reason for closure

 Carriageway Resurfacing

 Date of closure                         26/03/2012 to 31/03/2012 (19:00 to 06:00 hours)

Alternative route

 A1071 Hadleigh Road, C494 Hadleigh Road, A1214 London Road

 Enquiries regarding this closure should be made to the following:-

 

Applicant Suffolk County Council
Contact Name David Keeble
Telephone Number 0845 606 6171
Email Surface.treatments@suffolk.gov.uk