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The ‘Giant Cheese Wedges’ at Melton Hill: Have your say, FAST

The planning application for SCDC’s Melton Hill site  (aka the ©Giant Cheese Wedges) was
officially  deposited and validated a week ago, on Friday 30 June. Seemingly, it then took nearly a week to appear online- although the public has only 20 days from the date of validation to comment. This means you have 13 days from today to write to SCDC and comment on the application. Get your skates on, folks. Link here:

Demolish all of the existing offices and surrounding buildings on the site and replace with a high quality housing development providing 100 residential units (33 affordable) (C3) together with a community building (D1) and a retail unit that may be a coffee shop (A1/2/3) or retail unit. A landscape environment free from cars as they are located in an underground car park. Means of access and other associated works. Open for CommentFormer Council Offices Melton Hill Melton Woodbridge Suffolk IP12 1AURef. No: DC/17/2840/FUL | Received: Fri 30 Jun 2017 | Validated: Fri 30 Jun 2017 | Status: Awaiting decision

You may find it quite time-consuming to make your way through the documents as presented online- but the Town Clerk’s office at Woodbridge Town Council has kindly printed out hard copies –  you can go and examine them down there. I warn you, the site elevation showing what the development will look like from the Thoroughfare/Melton Road – although shown in the architect’s plans – is mysteriously absent. So here it is again:

Melton Hill current plan – Delusions of cityscape: Giant single slope roofed towers – suitable for an urban setting but rather out of place in tiny Woodbridge dwarf the town and overlook all neighbouring housing

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I have advised in my previous post on the subject – http://carolinepage.blog.suffolk.libdems.org/2017/06/25/melton-hill-development-attack-of-the-giant-cheese-wedges/ – your District Councillor, Cllr Mulcahy appears to be the only  one of the Woodbridge District  Councillors you elected who is in a position to help you.  Do ask for her assistance.

However, do ensure you also send in your comments, in person.

The original Melton Hill ‘Community Consensus masterplan’ 2016. Note the trees, frontage and Drummer Boy all in place. 70-odd units. No suggestion anywhere of 6 storey towers.

When commenting, there are many issues:   the impact on historic skylines and views (for example, from Sutton Hoo);  the appropriateness of the current ‘vision’; its huge and unexplained difference from the ‘Community Consensus Masterplan‘ agreed by the people of Woodbridge in autumn 2016, which left the original frontage , trees and Drummer Boy as is (they are all now swept away without explanation, replaced with a concierge block that beggars belief); the introduction of 5 and 6 storey tower blocks; the limited amount of parking planned, which clearly will not serve the number of homes planned and the realistic number of cars and visitors that need catering for; the increase of nearly 50% in the number of properties being proposed (the excess explained by being described as ‘affordable’; the kind of housing being envisioned (‘affordable’ is  defined as 80% of market price. This might mean properties costing up to £700,00-£800,000 at Woodbridge’s current pricing); the impact of this additional housing on the traffic and air quality of an area which already has significant and so far insoluble air quality problems; the propriety of SCDC wanting to monetise this site instead of looking at the legacy benefits of providing for younger, less affluent people, young families, disabled people, and those wanting to downsize within the town they grew up in.

However, amongst these important issues, the most significant issue must be that the sale of the site – by SCDC -can’t go through unless and until planning permission- granted by SCDC – goes through. And if that doesn’t constitute the biggest conflict of interests going- I don’t know what does!

So folks, please, please, sit down and write to SCDC fast. If you want guidance on how best to comment, SCDC provides it (click here)

There will be a meeting of Woodbridge Town Council’s planning Committee on Tuesday 18th July. You can attend (please do). You can speak your mind (if you book a space with the clerk first). But don’t mistake this for action. Woodbridge Town Council is merely a statutory  consultee. Telling them will do little but make you feel better. To have any impact you HAVE to contact Suffolk Coastal and give them reasoned arguments as to why this scheme should not go ahead . “I don’t like the look of it” will not cut the mustard. #justsaying

  • A final point. Having invented it, I really really regret I didn’t copyright   the term “Giant Cheese Wedges“.  If I had, I could have become rich. RICH, I say!  And then I could have bought the site  myself, and transformed it into fair rent and truly affordable housing for truly local young families, disabled people and older people wanting to downsize without penalty – which is what Woodbridge really needs and deserves!

The situation of carers in Suffolk

EADT’s coverage of the problems faced by Carers

Brilliant to see the EADT taking the issues faced by unpaid carers – particularly working-age women – so seriously.

Their coverage  today:

http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/carers-don-t-want-cake-they-want-realistic-support-says-campaigning-councillor-1-5074532

highlights many of  the problems and inequities faced by women carers  in Suffolk: longterm stress,  poverty, loss of career, pension, loneliness, the often infantile and wholly inadequate nature of the ‘support’ on offer.

And as the LibDem Green and Independent Group’s spokesperson for Women I suggest the problems experienced by carers would be less hidden if Suffolk County Council made themselves more aware of the challenges facing women in the county!

Suffolk Coastal & the General Election June 2017

After a very long day’s telling (left) the agents,  polling agents and candidates for the Suffolk Coastal constituency went straight to the count – held in Martlesham  police headquarters – as usual.

Suffolk Coastal is considered a ‘safe’ Tory seat, but events on  the national stage clearly took away some of the sparkle from the occasion for the Conservatives who were present.  Indeed it is hard to imagine a more gloom-ridden victory. After half the night was through, the television room was left to  Labour LibDems and Greens, as if the prevailing feeling was that no news might be good news. One Conservative – whose name I will not mention -was reduced to getting his kicks by sniping at the Greens about lost deposits. Seems to me there were worse things that were lost that night – and not by the Greens.

The count assistants did their usual deft imperturbable job, watched hawklike  by  agents of each political party  who wanted to check that not a single vote went to the wrong destination. Though the way the voting figures went, one vote more or less wasn’t going to make a difference.

The results were as follows: Therese Coffey (Con) 33,713; Cameron Matthews (Lab) 17,701, James Sandbach (LD) 4,048, Eamonn O’Nolan (Gn) 1,802, Philip Young (Ind) 810. There  were 210 spoiled papers.

The turnout, at 73% was 5%  higher than  the overall Suffolk turnout.

I think it is fair to say therefore, that this result fairly repesented the  current views of Suffolk Coastal.

However if you look at the national picture things are not so clearcut.

If we examine each party’s electoral share of the nationall vote: Theresa May is relying on the support of 10 uber-right DUP MPs who – laughably only needed 29,000 votes per seat won to get elected. In contrast the one Green MP in parliament is the sole representative of over 500,000 votes; and each of the 12 LibDem MPs elected represent nearly 200,000 votes. Call this democracy?  The two big beneficiaries – the Conservative and Labour parties – who both voted to retain fptp for ‘the people’ make damn sure that their own internal leaderships are decided by a different system. (Surprise surprise).

If they don’t trust FPTP  for themselves, why do they inflict it on us? End our inequitable First Past The Post system now!

Number of votes required to win a seat by party in GE 2017
1. SNP      28,000
2. DUP      29,000
3. Sinn Fein      34,200
4. Plaid Cymru      40,000
5. Conservative      42,920
6. Labour      58,945
7. LibDem      196,666
8. Green      520,000

 

 

 

Suffolk County Council Lib Dem Green and Independent group

 As one of the Liberal Democrat councillors elected to Suffolk County council this month, I’m  happy to announce that we will be joining forces with the Suffolk County Council Green and Ind ependent councillors for the 2017-2021 electoral term to form the  SCC  LibDem, Green and Independent Group.

This will allow all LibDem, Green and Independent councillors better representation on county council committees than could otherwise have been possible – which wilĺ make us much more able to hold the administration to account and to bring our constituents’ concerns to the fore.

The group  will also be eligible to have the support of a group researcher.

We will however continue to retain our individual party identities within the group.

Woodbridge: Remember to Vote Today!

 

I’m standing for re-election as Woodbridge County Councillor in the 2017 Suffolk County Council election

Today, May 4th, is the date of the local elections. You are voting to elect your county councillor. So, what qualities are you looking for?

A local candidate? One with years of experience? Someone with a track record of hard work, and practical activism? Someone who is prepared to fight your corner?

I am standing for election for a fourth term in the town I have made my home for the last 25 years. I’m the only county councillor in East Suffolk – maybe in Suffolk – to have been running a monthly open-access surgery for Suffolk residents since 2011. I’ve successfully fought for improvements to local services – and against cuts. I have upheld the voice of individual residents at all times and forcefully called the administration’s decision-making to account.

I can’t promise to solve every problem – but I can promise to listen, to support, and to do my very best to help you. I can also promise that if you re-elect me, I will continue to work indefatigably on your behalf.

It’s your town, it’s your vote, it’s your decision. I’m asking you to trust me to respect all of these things and to put your vote to best use by voting for me today.

Caroline

 

Local elections in Suffolk today!