My inbox has been buzzing with anxious emails this week from people worried about a possible planning application for land adjoining Dukes Park. Although planning is a District Council issue it is in Woodbridge County division,and is also the site through which the EA One underground high tension cabling is due to be routed. As this appeared to have slipped under the radar of both residents and district council until I raised it last Monday, I contacted the EA ONE link officer at Suffolk County Council. I wanted to know if he had definitive information on the separation necessary between housing development and underground high tension cables.
Here is his brief resume of the status quo and implications as he sees it:
East Anglia ONE have acquired both permanent and temporary rights for land within the Order Limits (red line boundary). The exact location of these rights however would not be determined until the project is being built, because the final positioning of the cables is not known. What we know now is that the corridor depicted on the plans is generally 75m wide though only 55m is needed for construction and this could lie anywhere within the 75m swathe. The final footprint for the operational development will be 42m The rights that have been acquired are set out within Schedule 6 of the Development Consent Order . The permanent rights within the cable corridor generally provide for the retention of cables/ducts together with a surface right of access for occasional maintenance. Lands subject to temporary rights (i.e the ‘surplus’ 33m) would be returned to the current owner post construction (that is, around 2020). However as the SCC link officer understands it:
“…restrictive covenants are also in place. Activities within the Order Limits are prohibited as below. The footprint of the land these rights cover would diminish from the construction (75m) to operational phase (42m), but as I understand it apply to the full 75m currently: (a) prevent anything to be done in or upon the Order land or any part thereof for the purpose of the erection of any buildings or construction erection or works of any kind (including the foundations or footings thereto); (b) prevent anything to be done by way of hard surfacing of the Order land with concrete of any kind or with any other material or surface whatsoever without the consent in writing of the undertaker (such consent not to be unreasonably withheld or delayed if the proposed surfacing would not cause damage to relevant part of the authorised project nor make it materially more difficult or expensive to maintain the authorised project); (c) prevent anything to be done by way of excavation of any kind in the Order land nor any activities which increase or decrease ground cover or soil levels in any manner whatsoever without the consent in writing of the undertaker save as are reasonably required for agricultural activities or are required to be carried out by National Grid in order to exercise their rights in relation to their apparatus within the Order land; (d) prevent the planting or growing within the Order land of any trees, shrubs or underwood without the consent in writing of the undertaker (such consent not to be unreasonably withheld or delayed provided that the proposed trees, shrubs or underwood would not cause damage to the relevant part of the authorised project nor make it materially more difficult or expensive to access the relevant part of the authorised project). Consequently very little can happen within the area covered by the Order Limits at the moment. The extent of that redline boundary will shrink in due course, but even in that remaining area, no buildings could erected.”
The officer points out that land outside the Order Limits, and any land used during construction once returned to its original owner is not subject to any East Anglia ONE restrictive covenants. However it would be on each side of the cabling area. Requests for any further specific elucidation are probably best directed to:
Joanna Young, Stakeholder Manager ScottishPower Renewables East Anglia Offshore Wind, Room 101, OrbisEnergy, Wilde Street, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32 1XH. firstname.lastname@example.org
The usual reminder: my surgery is this morning at Woodbridge Library, 10-12noon, as ever.
Any problems, complaints, criticisms? COme and tell me, and I’ll see how I can help.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE IS NO SURGERY IN AUGUST
From the 20th July Woodbridge will resume a Sunday/Bank Holiday bus service, allowing car-free travel between Woodbridge and Ipswich. Suffolk County Council is sponsoring 3 return services a day between Woodbridge and Ipswich.
To kickstart the service, everyone can travel FREE on 20 and 27th July.
I’ve lobbied to get a Sunday bus back ever since the last service was cut (at a perfectly disgraceful 2 weeks notice) in February 2011. The Sunday 65b will allow car free journeys to visit hospital and help young people get out on their own. It will be a boon for all people who can’t- or can’t afford to – drive. And its obviously a big boost for tourism. Good news all round!
The 65b Sunday service is only guaranteed until the end of 2014 – after that, it depends on numbers – so it’s a case of use it or lose it!
65 b Sunday Bus Service Key Stops
Woodbridge Turban Centre 10.35 14.20 17.20
Woodbridge Pembroke Avenue 10.40 14.25 17.25
Martlesham Black Tiles 10.47 14.32 17.32
Ipswich Hospital (adj) 10.57 14.42 17.42
Ipswich Tower Ramparts 11.09 14.54 17.54
Ipswich Old Cattle Market (Stand B) 10.00 13.45 16.45
Ipswich Hospital (nr) 10.11 13.56 16.56
Martlesham Black Tiles 10.21 14.06 17.06
Woodbridge Pembroke Avenue 10.27 14.12 17.12
Woodbridge Turban Centre 10.32 14.17 17.17
Very luckily the Sandy Lane sinkhole didn’t open up when the Tour of Britain travelled down Sandy Lane in 2012. That could have put paid to leader Wiggo’s chances
A large deep hole of unknown provenance opened up at the junction of Sandy Lane and Ipswich Road a few weeks back . Although safety barriers were put up by someone, it is not clear who put them up, and so no remedial work was undertaken – this is because the presence of the barriers caused everyone to believe that someone else was responsible and was already in the process of taking action to fix it.
It wasn’t until last week, when I asked the county Highways department to chase up the people responsible, that we discovered the mystery. At which point SCC agreed to‘take the hit’ and do the repair themselves although I have asked them to continue tracking down the company responsible and reclaim the money back if appropriate. (It is, of course, perfectly possible that the barriers were put up by some public-spirited person who is as yet nameless, and that the hole is actually a sink hole.)
However, after the last few days of heavy rains the hole is clearly very much worse (1m across and 1m deep) constituting an significant danger to pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles alike. It will need a lot of packing as well as resurfacing. I am very worried indeed and asked yesterday morning for a repair on a 24h turnaround. Unfortunately under the new ‘contracted out’ system such a thing is no longer possible.
The East Area Highway Manager told me today (Friday) “My highway inspector for Woodbridge has checked this site this morning. The hole is currently barriered and advance signing is in place. We had tried to arrange a repair today. However as it is on the junction, 3 way lights will be required in order to manage the traffic safely past the working area. Our contractors advise that they will not be able to obtain these until Tuesday next week, and so the work will be carried out then.
In the meantime I am arranging for the site to be inspected during the weekend to ensure that barriers and signing are in place and that there has been no further undermining of the road”.
I have also been told that someone will come on Tuesday to check that the repair is being undertaken.
I am also trying to arrange some sort of sign equivalent to a ‘Police Aware’ sign so that passers-by realise that something is actually about to be done.
Very much a transport and roads report, this month: Cabinet passed some amazingly positive recommendations about public transport services; I joined with Cllr Bond to help fund the resurfacing of Farlingaye HS’s permissive footpath, and a mysterious sinkhole has appeared at the Ipswich Road end of Sandy Lane.
Public transport in Suffolk Last week Cabinet approved almost all the recommendations of the Suffolk cross-party Policy development panel on public transport on which I was a core member. As you know I have been lobbying to defend, protect and improve rural bus services for years and I’m very pleased that many of the recommendations now passed by Cabinet are ones I have been agitating for for some time – including:
- Suffolk County Council should develop a clear vision for the future of public transport and support this with a more transparent and stand-alone strategy for meeting the travel needs of the county
- Ensure that no further savings are sought from SCC’s discretionary budget for public transport without first fully understanding the impact on users and the possible cost implications for other public services.
- Suffolk County Council should lead a countywide campaign to lobby the government and the county’s MPs for a more equitable distribution of national funding to support public transport in rural areas, urging the government to recognise the importance of public transport in supporting people’s health and wellbeing and in raising educational achievement, to acknowledge the particular problems faced by councils such as Suffolk County Council in providing public transport in rural areas, and to allocate funding accordingly.
- Suffolk County Council should work with community transport operators to assess redesigning services to ensure young people trying to get to education, training or employment can book regular trips.
- Suffolk County Council should ensure that the importance of public transport is reflected in its priorities and that its wider role in supporting people’s health and wellbeing is acknowledged across all policy areas.
- Designing a protocol by which planning authorities ensure proposed new developments take full account of public transport needs at an early stage and encourage public transport as people’s first choice.
Grant towards Farlingaye’s permissive path I have collaborated with my colleague Michael Bond to part-fund the resurfacing of the footpath which runs alongside Farlingaye High School between Catherine Road and Houchell’s Meadow and Haugh Lane and which provides such a significant community benefit to constituents in both our divisions. We are contributing a total of £3000 from our locality budgets, which together with a contribution from Cllr Ball will be enough to fund the entire operation..
Chasm at the junction of Sandy lane/Ipswich Road A large deep hole of unknown provenance has opened up at this junction some weeks back . Although barriers have been put up, it is not clear who has done so, and no remedial work has been undertaken – this is because the presence of the barriers caused everyone to believe that someone else was responsible and was already in the process of taking action to fix it. SCC highways team were assuming these barriers were put up by the utilities company responsible, though they have been unable to discover which one it is.
The Highways department now tell me they will ‘take the hit’ and do the repair themselves, though I have asked them to continue tracking down the responsible company to reclaim the money back if appropriuate. It is, of course, perfectly possible that the barriers were put up by some public-spirited person who is as yet nameless, and that the hole is actually a sink hole.
See separate update.
Surgery dates for the second half of 2014 As you know, I continue to hold my regular monthly surgery on the THIRD SATURDAY of every month. This is held at Woodbridge Library, 10am – 12 noon. Dates for the rest of 2014 are:
- 19 July 2014
- Please note: there will be no surgery in August
- 20 September 2014
- 18 October 2014
- 15 November 2014
- 20 December 2014
We’re lucky to have truly excellent GP services in Woodbridge, but did you know that- despite carrying out 90% of all NHS patient contacts general practice only receives 8.39% of the NHS budget?
This fall is recent. In the years between 2005 and 2012, the percentage share of the NHS budget spent on general practice across England, Scotland and Wales fell from 10.75 to 8.4% – a historic low. By 2017, this is projected to plunge to just 7.29%. The services we rely on are in crisis
This is bad news for patients, who face the possibility of longer waits for appointments, fewer services and more difficulty in getting to see the GP of their choice. It is also bad news for the NHS as a whole – if general practice is not adequately resourced, more patients will end up receiving more expensive hospital care, leading to rapidly escalating healthcare costs.
It is clear that good access to high quality general practice is key to the future of the NHS. General practice leads to better and more cost-effective patient care, keeping people healthy for longer, enabling more people to successfully manage their conditions in the community, and avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions. I woud suggest that it is particularly important for those of us who live in a semi-rural area like Woodbridge and its outlying regions, with limited transport options and a significant older population. We rely heavily on our GP practices to know us and respond to our needs.
‘Put patients first: Back general practice‘ has been launched by the RCGP (Royal College of General Practitioners) and NAPP (National Association for Patient Participation) to put an end to this crisis and safeguard patient care. You can find more information and sign the petition to support an adequate level of GP funding by following this link http://www.rcgp.org.uk/campaign-home.aspx
Proposed Woodbridge Fire and Police station merger Woodbridge residents were invited to a drop in session on Thursday to view proposals to extend and merge the existing fire station with the police station. Plans and information were unveiled at the event and representatives from both services – together with myself – were on hand to discuss the proposals.
Suffolk already has four shared stations at Ixworth, Elmswell, Debenham and Framlingham. The aim of the Woodbridge plans is for the services to become even more cost effective, allowing the services to work much more closely together .The funding for the Woodbridge project will be shared between the two services and it is hoped that the government will provide grant funding for the building works
Although there were concerns – mainly about parking and increased transport – response to the consultation was broadly favourable.
The design includes:
- An extension to the front of the fire station, which would provide new office accommodation for Suffolk Constabulary.
- Provision for five new car parking spaces for police use and cycle parking to the rear of the site.
- A new garage to the rear of the station to accommodate an emergency vehicle, and
- Much improved facilities for staff and the community and better access for the public
If approved, the work would commence in summer 2014 and will be completed for March 2015. There would be no disruption to fire and police services during the building works
People can continue to provide feedback via email: Fire.BusinessSupport@suffolk.gov.uk, quoting ‘Woodbridge Consultation’.
End of CSD – Customer Service Direct On 1 June SCC moved CSD - Customer Service Direct – back in-house. CSD, in which BT had a majority stake alongside the county and Mid Suffolk councils, handled SCC’s financial administration, IT, and personnel functions. The councils’ call centres were also operated by CSD
The cost of the contract was initially £301 million, but this increased to £427 million over 10 years as more functions were added to the service.
A hard lesson has been learned here. Proof, if proof was needed, that outsourcing services doesn’t always make savings and is not always best.
The PCC – and Thoroughfare Parking At the Suffolk County Council AGM in May, the Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore presented details of his year, saying “ My role is to ensure the policing needs of our communities are met as effectively as possible, bringing communities closer to the police and building confidence in the system. My job is to listen and respond to the needs of the people of Suffolk; bringing more of a public voice to policing. If you have an issue that you would like to raise, please contact me via the website, www.suffolk-pcc.gov.uk or call 01473 782777 .”
I took him at his word, and, meeting him shortly afterwards I raised the issue of police enforcement of parking in the Woodbridge Thoroughfare. He promised to look into this urgently.
Suffolk Reading Scheme This year’s reading scheme will be on the theme of the Mysterious Maze. As ever, the Woodbridge Library is on the lookout for volunteers to help local children read their books over the summer holidays.
Suffolk Records Office consultation Suffolk County Council received over 500 responses to a recent consultation to improve Suffolk Records Office opening hours.
The consultation was on proposals to reducing weekday opening hours, improving the service on a Saturday and developing a key online presence.66% of respondents felt the proposals would bring a positive improvement to the service.
There was a majority of support for closing the office one day a week to allow improvements to the online accessibility of information and digitised materials. Respondents also showed great support for an improved Saturday service and later opening times, although some felt not opening until 10am was too late. In consequence SCC will bev blooking to open each record office branch for 35 hours a week: 9.30am – 4.30pm, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Let’s Look Out for Each Other Cycle-Drive campaign SCC has launched Let’s Look Out for Each Other - an educational campaign that encourages both cyclists and drivers to share Suffolk’s roads. Each week approximately four cyclists are injured in Suffolk with almost three cyclists killed or seriously injured every month.
4% of adults in Suffolk cycle at least five times a week – as opposed to the national average of 3%; and 20% of adults in Suffolk cycle at least once a month -5% above the national average of 15%
Driver error has been attributed to 68% of all collisions in Suffolk. In 77% of cyclist casualties at or at or near a junction, the cyclist have not been culpable; however, in 2 of the 3 recently recorded fatalities the cyclist was at fault.
Roadsafe top tips for drivers and cyclists when using the road are:
- Ride positively, decisively and well clear of the kerb – look and signal to show drivers what you plan to do and make eye contact where possible so you know drivers have seen you
- Avoid riding up the inside of large vehicles, like lorries or buses, where you might not be seen
- Always use lights after dark or when visibility is poor
- Wearing light coloured or reflective clothing during the day and reflective clothing and/or accessories in the dark increases your visibility
- Look out for cyclists, especially when turning – make eye contact if possible so they know you’ve seen them
- Use your indicators – signal your intentions so that cyclists can react
- Give cyclists space – If there isn’t sufficient space to pass, hold back. Remember that cyclists may need to manoeuvre suddenly if the road is poor, it’s windy or if a car door is opened
- Always check for cyclists when you open your car door
- Avoid driving over advanced stop lines – these allow cyclists to get to the front and increase their visibility
Further information can be found at http://www.suffolkroadsafe.net/cyclists/ or http://www.suffolkroadsafe.net/drivers/
County Councillor’s Surgery My surgery dates for the next few months are: Saturday 21 June, and Saturday 19 July. There will be no surgery in August. Surgeries are at Woodbridge Library 10-12 as ever. All welcome
Published and promoted by I Horner on behalf of the Liberal Democrats at Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP
Remember to vote today – and for someone who will uphold British interests (not take the money and run). LibDem MEPs are the hardest working , and best value-for-money in the UK, according to the Independent newspaper.
Part of the marathon route
Today is the first day of National Epilepsy Awareness week. A good time to mention that yesterday an ex Farlingaye High School student – 19 year old Ben Greenhouse from Woodbridge - ran the Great Wall Marathon in China to raise awareness of epilepsy and funds for the charity Epilepsy Action.
He was the youngest runner to take part.
The Great Wall is one of the world’s most challenging marathons - not only 26 miles, but taking in 5,164 steep stone steps as well. The times are therefore much slower than those of road marathons that are run in towns.
“I had never run a marathon before, but I came 163rd out of 850 runners doing the full marathon, with a time of 5h37 mins” says Ben. “Thanks to the generosity of many friends in Suffolk I’ve already raised more than my initial target on £1000 for Epilepsy Action.
But today is the start of National Epilepsy Week and every £ is vital. Can you help me raise even more?
Woodbridge’s Ben Greenhouse (right) the youngest person to run the 2014 Great Wall marathon
Epilepsy Action raises awareness of epilepsy and supports people who have it – people like my sister who needs to have someone with her all the time because she can’t be safe on her own.”
For the last six months Farlingaye High School student Ben has been enrolled at the Qufu Shaolin Kung fu school, learning traditional Chinese martial arts. “The training was quite intense. They worked us hard for hours every day, and we often had to run 1000 stone steps up the nearby mountain. And then another 1,000 down again afterwards. It was very different from Woodbridge – but good training for the marathon,” says Ben.
“1% of the population – 1 person in every hundred - has epilepsy. There must be 70 or so people with epilepsy in Woodbridge alone. It’s a life-changing condition – but with your help it doesn’t have to be life-diminishing!”
You can sponsor Ben via his Justgiving page http://www.justgiving.com/Ben-Greenhouse
(Caroline Page: I have to declare two personal interests here: firstly, I am myself one of the 1% who have epilepsy. Secondly, Ben is my son. I am justly proud of him)