Roads: I have asked Highways to present to Gt. Blakenham the results of their study on a crossing place in the village. It will of course be difficult to fund and must not duplicate things being done to support the housing on the cement works site. However they will investigate if any assistance could be obtained from that development.
SnOasis: The application to extend the life of the SnOasis planning permission has been submitted. It is accompanied by a revised environmental statement covering particularly ecological, traffic, drainage and visibility issues. You can view the documents on line at Mid Suffolk or in hard copy at Mid Suffolk & Gt. Blakenham parish.
The previous Government was encouraging planning authorities to allow additional time for approvals to be commenced as a stimulus to the economy as it emerges from recession. Therefore it is likely that Mid Suffolk will agree with the proposal.
Merger: Mid Suffolk and Babergh district councils are, like the whole of local government, facing major economic problems. They are looking at a merger of just the officer team or of the total councils to reduce cost. I am somewhat sceptical of the “economies of scale” they hope will deliver the savings needed. Some large organisations are highly efficient but many are not. It is the ability to be lean not size that matters but services and expertise can be shared to good effect. Running costs must be reduced by around 8% per year, a major challenge that we must address rigorously and rapidly.
New Service to Reduce Drug Related Crime: The Suffolk Drug and Alcohol Action Team has commissioned charity WDP (Westminster Drug Project) to deliver a Drug Interventions Programme. It will deliver targeted, quality interventions to drug offenders across the entire criminal justice system. This plays a key role in tackling drugs use and in reducing crime. The project aims to get adult offenders who use heroin and crack cocaine out of crime and into treatment and other support.