Report to Gipping Valley– June 2014

Highways

I hope we will agree the revised waiting restrictions on Church Lane, in Edinburgh Gardens opposite the school and in the bus laybys in September.  However, last minute changes to restriction times to match the High School hours may cause a short delay.

Design work is underway for a “Village Gateway treatment” at Henley Square to reduce speed and risk.  I hope the total cost can be met from my highways budget with limited help from the village.

In Claydon, plans for the new bus shelter to serve the Needham Market direction have been affected by changes to bus routes.  We are trying to get the position agreed and the shelter in place in time for the winter.

We have yet to come up with any realistic solutions to the difficulties in Rede Lane.  Reasonable drivers take notice of road markings and hazard signing but those in a hurry don’t.  I agree with Highways that we must not just increase clutter but must take effective action.  Just what is difficult?

Progress with the shared use cycle path from Bramford to Sproughton is reported on another page.  The money required looks achievable so I have agreed to fund the design.  I hope to provide the seed funding with County Councillor Dave Busby but we must find the remainder from SITA or similar funding bodies.

Energy from Waste Plant

The incinerator start up programme is also reported elsewhere.  The liaison group has asked that people be told in advance when potentially noisy operations or those that produce smoke or dirty looking vapour are scheduled.  By the time you read this testing should be well under way.

Greenhouses

The planning application for two large greenhouses to use the waste heat from the incinerator to produce some 7500 tonnes of tomatoes per year and provide some 200 jobs was approved last month.

Improvements to the B1113 and a reduction of the speed limit in the immediate area to 40mph are conditions imposed to make the new use safe.

Solar Farms.

Planning applications for three solar farms on high-grade agricultural land in Suffolk have ended this month.  Hacheston was rejected by the Secretary of State, Tattingstone by a planning inspector and Baylham was withdrawn by the developer in response to a likely rejection by Mid Suffolk District Council officers.

People in Baylham and Gt Blakenham who would have seen crops in productive fields replaced by 40,000 PV panels welcome this sensible decision.  They support renewable energy from Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) equipment on factory, council, school and house roofs, but not at the expense of food production.

Solar Panels on MSDC houses

Mid Suffolk are planning to put solar panels on roofs of some council houses.  Houses that face approximately south and are not shaded are candidates.  Some tenants have received letters saying their house will be surveyed and proposing changes to their tenancy agreement to ensure they know where they stand.  I hope the information is clear.

The council will receive enough money from the Government’s FIT scheme to pay for the installations and get a substantial sum to help pay for council services.  The tenants will get free electricity from the panels when the sun is shining.

Installation should be quick, a few hours for scaffolding and a few hours for installation.

Home to School Travel

The County provides travel to their catchment area school free for children aged 5 to 16 based on age, distance from the school and family income.  If pupils don’t qualify they can obtain a discretionary pass, providing there are places available on the school transport.  On the 10th June, Cabinet decided to raise the price of these passes to £540 per year and to allow it to increase by£30 per year from now on.

This travel costs the County £825 per child for 13,065 children.

Raising the Bar

A “Gateway Review” of the Raising the Bar programme has been undertaken.  It found that the programme principles were widely accepted and some of the initiatives were praised.  However, there is not sufficient buy is into the programme across the system, with at times strong criticism and cynicism.  The review panel suggested that the programme organisation could be improved.  They recommended that the programme should clarify vision for and scope of Raising the Bar and prioritise core activities.

This appears to be another “must try harder” judgement for the administration.

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