Woodbridge Town Council Report March 2010

March Cabinet

Due to the timing of Easter, there are two Suffolk County Council  cabinet meetings in March, one on the 2nd of March, and the other, later in the month on the 30th.

The most interesting item in the first meeting  was the County Council’s endorsement of the Suffolk Shoreline Management Plan, drafted between Suffolk Coastal District Council, and Waveney and  stating the short, medium and long term plans in place for the coast.  Particular concerns are the areas of Covehithe and Dunwich which would be left undefended, as well as the roads which could be damaged by rising sea levels. At an interview for the BBC I raised the issue of suitable longterm defences for the various Sizewell reactors – both current and decomissioned

The most important item for us locally at the second meeting on the 30th of March will be the next Greater Anglia Rail franchise consultation. I’m a member of the Rail Policy Group and will be attending the  meeting. If there are any items on this agenda which you are particularly interested in, please let me know.  I will also inform you of any decision that the cabinet makes with those items you wish to know more about.

Quality of Life funding for Transport Improvements

The County Council is going to continue its quality of life transport funding for 2010/11, although with a 20% cut. I have £10,000, I believe to spend on projects in Woodbridge that will develop the transport infrastructure. These need to fit into the following categories:

  • Speed limits and speed reduction schemes/anxiety relief schemes
  • Cycling schemes
  • Pedestrian schemes
  • Public transport schemes
  • Rights of way schemes
  • Traffic management schemes

This is a great chance for us as a non-priority town to access funding for these projects – so please contact me with any ideas you may have for ones that are suitable.

Woodbridge Library opening

I had a look round the new Woodbridge library in the former New Street school yesterday in advance of its formal opening . I was in company with Y1 and Y6 pupils from the new Woodbridge Primary.  Both the children and I were very impressed – the building is  very beautiful and has been designed for purpose in a way that the old building was not  -for a start, it is wholly accessible for the disabled and there are now twice the amount of books available.

East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership stakeholder meeting

There will be the first East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership stakeholder meeting to discuss discuss proposals in the draft Stations Investment Plan on how local stations can be improved.  They are looking for  views, involvement and commitment to making the East Suffolk line and Felixstowe branch a success with well kept stations, increased patronage and community involvement.

The meeting will be held on 16th March 2010 in the Elisabeth Room, Endeavour House, Russell Road, Ipswich starting at 18:45 until 20:30.  . The station improvement plan can be viewed on website; http://www.suffolkonboard.com/rail/east_suffolk_line_stations_investment_plan

I will be attending, and hope to have the company of at least one member of Woodbridge Town Council to ensure that Woodbridge’s interests are properly represented!.

Full Council 25th of March

The County Council will have its next meeting on the 25th of March.  As yet there is no indication of what will be on the agenda for this meeting.

However, it does present you with an opportunity to ask questions of the administration, as there is now a twenty minute period at the beginning of each Full Council meeting for the public to quiz the administration.  You do not have to attend for your question to be answered, but if you don’t attend there is not an opportunity to ask a supplementary question.

The deadline to submit questions for full council is 12 noon on Friday the 19th of March.

For more information about public questions please head to http://www.suffolk.gov.uk/CouncilAndDemocracy/CommitteesAgendasReportsandMinutes/PublicQuestionTimeatCountyCouncilMeetings.htm

Woodbridge bus services

Very many thanks to the  Woodbridge Town Councillors who joined with me and members of the Seckford Almshouses to complain about poor bus services. You may not be surprised to hear that these complaints have been met with the usual resounding silence from the authorities approached –  that is, the bus company and the  county council officers – and indeed out sitting MP John Gummer. I will keep you informed of future progress

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Parking review in Woodbridge: Update

It seems to have been going on forever, but the complicated and long-drawn-out process that is the new parking review for Woodbridge is finally coming to an end. A rough time frame is as follows:

End of Feb: Suffolk County council sends out all proposed changes to all consultees (Fire, Ambulance, HGV etc)

Mar / Apr:  legal orders for changes to restrictions are written out

Apr / May: Changes are formally  advertised on site / newspaper

May / June: Lining / signing changes to roads are made

June:  Resolve any objections at Rights of Way committee meeting. (However, even if objections are raised, my understanding is that  changes can be made to roads with no objections whilst leaving the road with objections outstanding.)

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Woodbridge street lights: Warren Hill area

 I’ve been following up reports from from Woodbridge residents of continuing street light failure in the Warren Hill area. 

According to the Suffolk County Council officer in charge of  street lighting, it’s not good news – there won’t necessarily be a quick fix because the faults are due to mains problems which are the responsibility of EDF energy – and EF energy are currently overwhelmed by problems caused by this winter’s heavy snow. 

” The faults require the attendance of EDF who are struggling to find overhead linesmen for these works,” he tells me. “We have a batch of G39 repairs still awaiting a firm date from them (we are chasing them for an answer). 

” One fault is a recurring one – it was repaired in the batch of G39 works just before Christmas but has gone out again. Sounds like a new unit is required which sets off a round of discussions with the District Council on costs. 

” Another problem is that not all the faults in the area had been reported and it has only been as a result of one of my engineers carrying out a night time inspection that they have now been entered onto the system. We are reliant upon the public promptly calling faults in, together with the column ref. number, in order to keep on top of them.” 

I’ll keep you informed.

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Caroline Page, LibDem County Councillor for Woodbridge