Woodbridge Youth Centre: future
You may remember that I reported in March 2013 http://carolinepage.blog.suffolk.libdems.org/2013/03/12/woodbridge-youth-centre-saved-from-the-dragons-den/ that I had come across moves by various unelected officers at SCC and SCDC to organise the disposal of Woodbridge Youth Centre and sell off the land to the north of the Avenue for development, without reference to either Woodbridge Town council, or the people of Woodbridge.
At the time, I took this to the highest level and was promised by the SCC CEO Deborah Cadman that any discussion about its long-term future will involve all stakeholders including the people of Woodbridge and our elected councillors. I was also given to understand that Woodbridge Youth Centre was ‘safe’ and a ten year lease was being proposed.
However last week, only 18 months later I was asked to attend a preliminary meeting with SCC officers from resource management and a single elected member who manages to be both SCC deputy cabinet member for Resource Management and SCDC Cabinet member for Resource Management. The subject they wished to address was the ‘mid-term’ future of the Woodbridge Youth Centre, and the fact that repairs of (max £200,000) being too much, they were looking to ‘develop solutions.’
Interestingly, I found little interest in any other solution than sale of the land and removal of the occupants of the centre elsewhere.
I insisted in including other options – such as raising the money for repair and putting in a bid for the premises (and having them minuted too).
At the first meeting there were no representatives for Woodbridge Town Council, for SCC’s CYP, for the Integrated Youth Service, or indeed, apart from myself, any of the local people with an interest in the Youth Centre, in the demographics of Woodbridge or the young people of Woodbridge.
I therefore asked that subsequent meetings should have representatives of these organisations attending. I have also said that this issue needs to be brought into the consideration of the Neighbourhood plan, in terms of development, of youth provision, of green spaces and of demographics.
Development proposal: Woodbridge Football Club site
The 25 year lease on Woodbridge Town football club runs out shortly and Hopkins Homes has announced proposals to develop the currently occupied by the club for approximately 95 houses, including affordable housing, a community building and open space. Proposals are that the club itself would move to a Yarmouth Road site at Ufford, meaning that Woodbridge will lose its football club from the town itself, very much as it has already lost its rugby club.
As usual, this will have an adverse impact on young people who do not have access to cars.
Woodbridge Town FC will be voting on this move at an Extraordinary General Meeting shortly.
As I understand it, if the football club votes to stay at the site it would be able to do so for another ten years. However it loses the chance to have another venue found for it, another clubhouse purpose-built for it - and would have to start paying a ‘market rent’ for the site.
There is currently a full public consultation about the planning proposals for the site in advance of an expected planning application by Hopkins Homes in the autumn. I am already having contact from residents with concerns about road access to the proposed development.
Suffolk 1: Students enrolled on the Foundation Learning course
Last year it seemed as if the future of 5 day teaching for Foundation level students at Suffolk 1 was threatened. After some negotiation, all students enrolled in Foundation Learning courses will return to a 5 day week from early October and this will continue for the entire academic year 2014-15. This will be a transitional arrangement. There will be a meeting on 18 November 2014 for parents and carers to discuss what the arrangements will be from 2015.
0345 numbers for Suffolk County Council
From the end of September, the county council is changing all of its 0845 telephone numbers to 0345. The remaining seven digits of the telephone numbers will remain exactly the same. This includes the telephone numbers for people wanting to apply for a school place for their child, reporting a pothole or road defect and the Families Information Service.
Calls to 0345 numbers from landlines and mobiles are included in free call packages. For customers with these packages, it will mean calling the council on these numbers, does not incur any additional costs. For people not on free call packages, a call to a 0345 number costs no more than a geographical number (eg. 01284, 01787 and 01473).
However, existing 0845 numbers will not be switched off overnight. There will be a period of time where the 0845 number, and its replacement 0345 number, will both be live. This is to ensure people can still access the services they need whilst getting used to the new numbers. It will also mean the county council only replaces printed materials and liveries when current stocks run out.
All Freephone numbers starting 0800 will also remain unchanged.
My surgery will be held this Saturday, 10 – 12 midday at Woodbridge library as usual.