Tag Archives: First

Voices of loss: local residents on losing more vital local bus services

As I blogged a week or two back, the 164 and 165 bus services from Leiston , Aldeburgh and Saxmundham down to Ipswich Railway Station are to cease on  28 June. The 63 bus to Framlingham has already reduced services to a very limited Monday to Friday presence. Selected comments received from Suffolk coastal bus users 14 May – 12  June 2013

I would like you to raise some issues with you, regarding the loss of this bus on 27.6.13. We will have no service to Ipswich from Knodishall from that date, cutting us off from the hospital and station as well as shops etc. Many people, of all ages are affected with devastating results, these are some examples;

  • Mr. C, an elderly man from Aldeburgh uses the bus daily, to visit me following a violent attack in his own home. He has no relatives in the UK. and does not drive. He cannot walk from the Aldringham Rd. following a hip replacement.
  • Mrs. A P is a widow in her late seventies with uncontrolled asthma who is too breathless to walk to he 65 stop, which has no shelter. The 165 is her lifeline to Leiston, Woodbridge and Aldeburgh, and she will be socially isolated and likely to become clinically depressed.
  • Mrs. C is a widow in Aldeburgh, who recently had a pacemaker fitted. She needs to use the bus to shop and socialise etc. 
  • An elderly lady in Aldeburgh uses the bus to visit friends in Ipswich and vice versa, they will be cut off and have no relatives to help. They will not only be isolated, but cannot then support each other in times of illness, which are becoming more frequent.  

There are many examples of others in this village and I feel rural areas should have accesible public transport. Thank you for your attention, Janet M, Knodishall

I would like to voice my dismay at the discontinuation of the Anglian 164/165 services, particularly as this comes at the same time as a reduction in the services provided by First.  I work at Ipswich Hospital and there will no longer be a bus to get me there for work at 9:00 and there is no room for flexibility in my working hours. I believe  those living in more rural areas will have even fewer opportunities to use public transportation than they do at present.   I am one of the few fare-paying customers and I do not see why we should have to fight for a service which is convenient and reliable with clean buses and courteous drivers; surely this is the standard we should expect?

I sincerely hope that your protestations on this matter will be heard and we can continue to enjoy the level of service provided by Anglian Buses.   Claire R

Withdrawal of Route 63   I suppose you have been inundated with letters and emails regarding the withdrawal of the 63 bus,being new to the area we moved into Hacheston in August 2012 we did not know who else to turn too. As I do not drive having a bus that stopped right outside my street door was one of the reasons that we deceided to buy the house as it ment that I could get about without asking my husband to take me everywhere also when he no longer drives which maybe not too many more years [he is 71] we could both still get about. We both use the the bus for Doctor’s and Dentist appointments in Wickham Market as finding parking spaces can be difficult the bus was really an asset for that. I have noticed that many teenagers use the bus on school hoildays and Saturdays for going into Woodbridge and Ipswich it is very important to have that transport as it is a lifeline to all age groups.I can understrand the bus company putting on a much smaller bus because the numbers on a regular basis were low but to take it off all together without warning was very cruel especially for some of the dissabled users who relied on the 63.

Within the last couple of days the bus company have put on extra buses but still no service at all on Saturday the busiest day of the week for finding a parking space. The 10.03 from Framlingham  gets into Woodbridge at 10.31 the return bus leaves Woodbridge at 13.43 that is over 3 hours which is a very long time with no other way to get back to Hacheston or beyond.I have been advised that you can book one week in advance to use the Suffolk Links Transport but many older people find that a bit daunting, also if this is used on a much larger scale would this not work out too expensive and then that  service would be withdrawn as well. I look forward to hearing your comments.  Patricia C

The 165 bus is a lifeline for me and several other people. Visits to Ipswich hospital Leiston Surgery and the Physio Department in Aldeburgh. I have got no other means of transport and the bus service is vital for me to get to these appointment as the Link is not always available. When the 165 bus service started this was my freedom. As well as my appointments I could attend, I could decide to have a day in Woodbridge or Ipswich and not worrying about getting the connection to get be to and from these places. Also the little Nightingale bus (which does not go to Ipswich) is not trolley or pushchair friendly as the 165 is.   If this service is taken away it will only be the Nightingale service which is only every 3 hours.  Please Help us keep this vital service. Avriel Z

I am really sorry to see the 165 and 164 removed from circulation.We don’t all drive and cannot afford Taxis and goverment thought on pensioners continuing independent living becomes farcical if I have no means to get where I want to. I will not be able to attend my painting therapy which has helped in my ongoing recovery from my stroke if the 165 is withdrawn.

Also not being able to attend musical concerts at snape in the evenings due to lack of transport:.I  cannot afford to drive a car, and already this means that I cannot get out in the evening and on Sundays and holidays because no bus services run then. The government wants us pensioners out and independent – but how can we manage it without transport? If we get so isolated and depressed we need care, we will be very expensive for the government to support. To make it worse, we can’t even go to parish council meetings to lobby for better – as we have no transport to get there!
Moyra B

 (To First Group, copied to Caroline Page)  I regularly travel from Woodbridge to Ipswich on the bus always using the Anglian service 164/165 if I can. As this service is no longer available I picked up a time table for the new 64/65 service. Inside it says thank you for choosing to travel with First, and then further down as a valued customer we seek feedback etc. so, here goes.

There is no way I would CHOOSE to use your service !Yesterday I made the return journey to Ipswich and my experience was typical of many I have made.The 9.30 Anglian service into Ipswich was a true transport of delight! the bus was new, squeaky clean inside and out the driver friendly and cheerful, the ride quiet, smooth and serene.

I returned on the 13.00 First Service 64.The bus, at the start of the journey smelt musty and horrid and the floor was covered in litter. The windows were smeary and dirty. The seats made a horrendous rattle and the engine was very noisy. The unfortunate driver was surly and rude, and drove aggressively accelerating and braking sharply using his horn , and when stopping at lights, poured himself coffee from a flask. I do not in any way want to blame him, as in my experience as a people manager, staff who are this unhappy in their work, are badly managed and feel undervalued.

So there you have it, my feedback. If other companies can give an excellent service, why are you offering us such a rubbish one? (not my words but those of other customers on the bus)

As I am now obliged to use your service I look forward to seeing some evidence that you do actually value your customers. In anticipation     Angela S

 

I am really sorry to hear about the bus service closing. I really struggle to travel in a green way from Woodbridge with my family as there are no buses on a Sunday. My son and I have been trying to do the sandlings walk, 10 miles at a time, but it is hopeless as the public transport system is appalling. We are left with the option of getting a lift to the start and end each time, which seems to defeat the object of doing it.   Bev R

I cannot drive because of significant disability, but I  enjoy a full working life. However, the loss of evening and Sunday/holiday bus services has already had an isolating effect on my life – there are not many evening events locally, and  have you any idea how much it costs to try and get to, say, Ipswich by taxi? I often have to visit a disabled relative in hospital and the round trip costs me thirty pounds. Its disgraceful. The loss of the 164 and 165 will isolate us even more so. Who on earth thinks that the Link service can supply a useful substitute for a scheduled service? Its not just people like me. Can pensioners reliably get to hospital or doctor appointments – and back again afterwards? Can students use it for daily travel if they need to be at college the same time every day? Can tourists get around rural Suffolk? Only those service-planners who can always rely on a car in their personal lives  would consider it useful. Please can we have a ‘no car week’ enforced in the middle of next winter. I’d absolutely love to see how my local Councillors, MPs, officers and planners  would manage their work if they were reliant on the current dreadful level of  rural public transport Kari G

I’m concerned to hear the 164 and 165 bus services are under threat of withdrawal. I do not use a car  and I find them so convenient when I’m travelling to and from Ipswich, particularly the 164 bus that leaves Woodbridge Turban Centre at 0930. Please use your best efforts to preserve this service.

John B

I didn’t know about the loss of 164/165 buses. I use them a lot when travelling to Woodbridge. Disappointing. Heidi

Therese Coffey does not mention the loss of more local buses in her most recent newsletter, although there is a transport section.Why not?
Local people need to know that their bus services are being withdrawn. Not everybody is a car driver. Young people need to get to college and work etc and need to get about the locality independently. There will be a cost in terms of their lack of opportunity for leisure, training and employment.
Elderly people will suffer too or feel forced to drive until they are extremely old in order to retain their quality of life.
The idea that a regular service can be replaced by a “Dial a Ride” service is fantasy and this type of facility only benefits the extremely well-organised and prohibits spontaneous days out.   Jacquie T

165 closure I have been on this bus recently and it was full all three times, mostly with people going to Ipswich.  So many people stranded as in Melton Road where the new 65 bus does not have stops. Students also use this bus frequently and we cann’t understand why such a ‘green’ company should leave us so soon. Valerie D, Rendlesham

RE: Bus Service 63–Framlingham-Wickham Market I have been receiving tel calls from residents who are totally outraged by the new reduced bus timetable [CPage: 4 times a day]. There are numerous elderly people in our village who do not drive and  who rely on the bus to go to Woodbridge or Framlingham. The new timetable is unacceptable. I hope you do not mind me being blunt about this, but Iam only expressing the views of numerous residents.  Thank you Graeme H

M goddaughter waited for the new scheduled First  62 bus due at Woodbridge at 17.42 on Friday last, it didn’t turn up. We tried calling the bus company but the staff had gone home, in fact the recorded message didn’t say who they were. There would have been no-one to contact except that by chance a bus from the same company turned up at the Turban Centre with a helpful driver. Seems there had been a muddle with schedules and the driver had gone home. Someone else was contacted presumably the manager or the owner of the company who arranged a taxi for my goddaughter. If someone had been waiting and the other bus had not turned up they would have been stranded, not good for the first week that the buses are in service.  Barbara C

Re Bus Route 63 and others 25 May 2013   I am emailing in the hope that you may have some answers regarding the above, or can pass this email on to someone who does. It would seem that a service has been drastically reduced without any consultation or consideration. Up until yesterday, the final day of the service, there were no notices on the buses regarding the changes, something that would have been very easy to do.

I should point out that the majority of the users are old people, some very old and teenagers/young people, I’m sure that these groups, nor any others, spend time looking at First Buses website for news that their bus service has been axed. Many people will not know until they try to use the service next week. The only information initially was from rumours at the bus stops, one of which was that the bus company ran a survey in February this year, if so it was carried out in what must have been the coldest month in one of the coldest winters of recent years. The information that I have is as follows:

ROUTE 63 – school run only  This bus will now travel in the mornings to Thomas Mills School, after dropping off the pupils it will travel (not in service, not picking anyone up) to Saxmundham where I assume it will become another number and run through the day until the p.m. school pick up when in will again travel (not in service) to Thomas Mills for the run back. Having used this bus on the return school journey I can confirm that most of the pupils get off at Wickham Market, I would hope that before the decision to use the bus in this way was reached, a survey would have been carried out to ascertain the distances travelled by the pupils and other possibilities of transport considered, for example a local coach company. I feel that this service, which is more or less a school service, being added to the changed timetable with only one run each way isn’t helpful and maybe should be costed from a different budget.

I would have expected that such drastic cuts to any long running service would have involved a thorough consultation. People use the buses for many reasons it is not just old people shopping. There are those baby sitting for relatives, visiting relatives/friends in care homes, signing on at Jobcentres, going to school, one pupil living in Framlingham has to get to Farlingaye (earliest bus out 10.00 a.m., last one back 1.45 p.m.). The Council would advise use of the Suffolk Link service, wrongly advertised as an On Demand service when it should be a Book Ahead service, are they not aware that some people would find it difficult to read a bus timetable, without having to coordinate various modes of transport/timings.  Finally there is the cost of printing and distributing the April timetable when it must have been known that at least some of the information was wrong. Barbara C

Withdrawl of No 63 First bus; I would just like to voice my concern at the sudden withdrawl of the First bus, Framlingham to Ipswich service(63) as from this Friday,(May 24th). This decision has been undertaken suddenly with no notification on the buses and no alternative timetable in place. It now appears that Fram will have just 1 bus a day to Woodbridge and back, Monday to Friday only and no other means of getting to Martlesham Tesco or, more importantly, directly to Ipswich hospital. Some us who attend the dentist in Wickham Market will now have over a 3 hour gap to wait for the bus back. To reduce the service from 8 buses a day to just 1 after the issue of a new April timetable is inconsiderate to say the least.We have a petiton of over 100 signatures from Framlingham and no doubt people who live in the on-route villages will also be very disappointed and upset. The newspaper is featuring this story on Thursday or Friday of this week and any help you may be able to offer to improve matters would be most appreciated. Thankyou, Pamela O

Bus service Numbers 164 and 165: I caught the Anglian Buses 165 service outside SCDC offices on Tuesday morning (14th) and was asked upon boarding, to sign a petition to prevent the service being withdrawn. I checked with the bus driver and he told me that the service 165 & 164 were to be withdrawn next month, as since SCC had removed the route subsidy last year Anglian Buses were unable to continue to keep the routes going. These two routes are always very popular, and are the only bus routes that actually go to Ipswich Railway Station from Woodbridge, and if withdrawn will cause a lot of problems and frustration for Suffolk travellers. I am in actual fact, travelling to Cambridge by train next Thursday (23rd) leaving on the 10:20 from Ipswich, as there is no train service from W/B between the hours of 08:39 and 10:18 (despite there being a heavily advertised Hourly service). I will have to catch a bus (the 164 at 09:30) to get that train, or leave W/B station at 08:39, pay an higher fare, and wait around Ipswich Station for 1Hr 20. The routes 63/64/& 65 do not go to the Railway station. What is the chance of getting this subsidy reallocated? Richard W

It’s very concerning. I’m a bit surprised about the 165 as it only became commercial a few months ago as it was considered financially viable. What’s changed? I’ve always know it to be a popular route and it’s certainly one of the most reliable. Matthew P

 this is really outrageous-disguisting-how are we supposed to get to work. Public services should not be put in private hands. yesterday two buses 165 and First bus headed off to Aldeburgh at the same time which is ridiculous . i complained about lack of information about bus changes and got a letter from Chelmsford. The Ipswich depot claimed that they had: widely publicised in the media, they wrote to parish councils and posted posters on buses! I went on 9 buses last week and did not see one single poster Andrew C

Without the Anglia Buses, there is no competition and First will provide whatever service they can get away with. I am a volunteer and I need the buses to get to work so I need a good service Shirley G

Subject: RE: 63 bus route It has proved really difficult to access info regarding a replacement  bus service –Woodbridge Library, Bus station office at Ipswich, council offices all had no information. Library at Fram provided me with a copy of the timetable. Apart from school buses there is a 10.27, 14.15 and a 15.59 (school bus) from Fram to Woodbridge – this is a restricted service but made worse because the latest bus back from Woodbridge is 13.45pm. This is a Monday to Friday service only and the 15.59 only runs on schooldays.

If you are able to help lobby the council to provide a service that would at least allow sometime to be spent in Woodbridge or vice versa it would be helpful (for reasons already outlines). There also needs to be at least an outward and return journey to Fram on Saturdays.

As yet the Suffolk link services do not know about the changes (other than via customers phoning in) they are unable to say whether the link service is available between Fram/Woodbridge and vice versa. Even if link service can provide this journey it has to be booked well in advance and already is often over subscribed and does not run on Saturday  BC

Subject: 63 bus route  I am emailing about the withdrawal of the above bus service that runs between Ipswich and Framlingham. The service has been withdrawn other than a school run from 26 May 2013 due to poor usage. As yet it is unclear as to the nature of a ‘replacement service’ (mention is made of a 62 bus). I live in Woodbridge and do not have a car – my daughter who is disabled has applied to Thomas Mills School 6th form. From what I can see of the new service if she misses the school bus (very likely as she walks very slowly) there is no alternative route home.

The change appears to have been made withiout a consultative process and with the assumption that because usage is low it is not significant. An older friend lives in Fram (godmother to my children) and travels to Woodbridge regularly – (by bus as she does not drive) partly to support with the care of my disabled child. It is true that at times bus users on the 63 are low but it is variable – apart from T Mills pupils many of the users are elderly and would not easily cope with using two buses between Woodbridge and Fram. But there are also young people using the service who I guess work in Ipswich. In addition there are those who attend service provided to disadvantaged and/or disabled young people at the Framlingham Technical Centre.

I think my concerns are two fold- the process seems flawed and two weeks before the change it is still unclear as to how one will travel using public transport between Woodbridge and Fram and vice versa. Secondly if the new service is very minimal or involves changing buses it will severely disadvantage those who for a variety of reasons cannot or do not wish to drive.   Maybe it is too  late now to ensure that a regular service between the towns exist which allows some flexibility of travel time and does not involve planning and booking a journey several days in advance? Sue B

 Urgent Bus : You may already know (but I’m sure you won’t mind being told twice !) that the 164 /165 bus routes through Woodbridge are being withdrawn.

This concerns me and others (especially those who live in Melton) that it the loss of yet another bus service to the area. This is on top of the withdrawal of the Framlingham service.  Is the next step that Woodbridge will have a reduced timetable ? I’m sure you will do all you can to represent the interests of Woodbridge bus users to  keep the Woodbridge services viable.Thanks for all you do on our behalf Judy M

I get up at 6, and wait. I’m a pensioner, and I now can’t get on a bus before 10. By the time I do my shopping the morning has gone. If I go to Aldeburgh, there’s no way I can get back. Peter E

 Woodbridge Bus Services Anglian buses are withdrawing the 164 and 165 services at the end of June.  I am very dismayed by this news as I use both services in all directions.  As I have been diagnosed with glaucoma I was hoping to have a public transport system to rely upon in my old age.  I feel very concerned for those in a less fortunate position than myself- at least I can rely upon my wife and her car. Once again the environmental impact of relying upon  cars over public transport  is ignored. Is it also true that the Framlingham bus service is about to be suspended?

I have had a reply from Philip Eden of Anglian Buses and no help or encouragement there.  He did not  even suggest a reprieve for the services but a few of his comments caused me some concern. Firstly he cited the fact that the SCC subsidy for the 165 service was withdrawn from last August.  Were you made aware of this fact at the time?  I certainly feel that if the travelling public were made aware of this fact at the time we could have begun a campaign to save the services and encourage greater use of the buses at a much earlier date.  I now feel that we have been presented with a fait accompli and there is nothing that we can now do.

Secondly Mr Eden states that as required by law, notice of his intention to withdraw the two services was sent to The Traffic Commissioner and Suffolk County Council two months before the date of 28th June when the service ends.  If this was the case  then why were the travelling public still kept in the dark after the Notice went out?  Anglian buses  presumably sent out this notice sometime  on or before  28th April.  As  a regular user of both bus services I only found out about the service closing second-hand on 12th May.  Surely if local representation is to be listened to, and taken seriously,the system seems to be challenged. I would feel that the travelling public would be the first people who should be informed or else the whole process is just a rubber stamping exercise. I would have thought that Notices prominently displayed at bus stops and on the buses themselves could have ensured that the travelling public had been kept up to date with the developments.I look forward to hearing whether you have had any more success in representing the feelings of the bus users on Routes  164 and 165 Roger B

Anglian Buses  Today we have heard the rather disturbing news that the Anglian Bus Company are suspending the 164 and 165 service form Saxmundham and Leiston respectively, ie the yellow bus as is it afectionately named by the locals. Rumours too that the Framlingham service is also under scrutiny and may suffer a similar fate. I do hope that you are able to make representations to the company to reconsider their decision as it affects many local people. As regular users of this excellent service along with the elderly and also many youngsters travelling to Ipswich to further their education at the Suffolk University and Sufffolk New College this will have a dramatic effect on important members of the community. As Mr Cameron is right to point out that we must help the youngsters find employment and/or involve themselves in gaining new skills this is not helping the cause. Terry S

Caroline, help!disaster! Anglian buses are being taken over by a company called Go Ahead. This company is withdrawing the 164/165 bus service from this area on 28th June 2013. We can't let them do it. First bus service is dreadful.  I would have to leave home half an hour earlier to get to work at the hospital to be there at a comparative time of being changed and ready to work on the wards for 8.30. First buses are dirty, dingy, grumpy drivers and depending on traffic can take between 10 - 20 mins just to get out of woodbridge. We can\'t let them do it. What can we do to help.   Maggie U

 

Suffolk Buses reach their Beeching moment?

The First Bus decision to pull the plug on their Bury St Edmunds services and close the depot at the end of March  is a further step in the apparently unstoppable destruction of Suffolk’s public transport services. It is particularly tragic because – after Beeching’s shortsighted and illjudged railway decisions of the 60s – many parts of Suffolk are now not served by rail and have only a bus service to rely on. 
 
Now it’s Suffolk bus services that are at a Beeching moment.  Sadly, many council tax payers are are left reliant on the decisions of a county council administration that doesn’t value or support bus transport and that has made bus services the focus of recent budget cuts (remember, for example the Bury Road Park and Ride closure (details here)? last year’s loss of all evening/Sunday bus services to Woodbridge and beyond (details here)?). Such cuts have little personal impact on any councillor or officer who runs a car, and yet these are the people making the decisions.
 
SCC needs to remember that the impact of poor/non-existent bus services is felt amongst other very real people. People who pay their council taxes and contribute to the community but who also happen to be elderly, or poor, or disabled, as well as others who rely on the bus to reach their college or first time job in order to contribute to the future of Suffolk.  SCC decisionmaking should be addressing these people’s needs as well as pandering to those residents who pay no more tax but are lucky enough to be able to use a car!
 
Of course, we shouldn’t put all the blame on the county council. At national level, the Coalition needs to reverse the iniquitous deregulation of bus services, instituted under Thatcher, and shamefully supported by the last Labour government. Deregulation has left rural communities at the mercy of bus companies with little local interest or management presence, who can run the moneymaking routes as poorly as they choose. The County Council, on the other hand,  is only allowed to run ones that run at a loss.
 
Tell me, is this how the ‘free market’ gives us a better service?
 
Despite this,  SCC could choose to be far more proactive than it has been. It could lobby both Suffolk’s MPs and central government for increased support for rural public transport. It could also show that SCC cares though direct action to preserve scheduled bus services. In July’s council meeting, I proposed a motion to increase support to disabled and elderly bus user (details here) via improved bus pass conditions. This motion was passed almost unanimously by full council and referred back to the Cabinet.
 
Since July, Cabinet has overseen the revision, recasting, re-consultation, decisionmaking and embarkation of their new Library services despite few Suffolk residents wanting any change whatsoever. Many many Suffolk residents want changes to the new terms and conditions for bus pass holders. Has Cabinet looked at bus passes?  Six months on we’re still waiting for a date!
 
By the way, I note with interest that passengers who wish to register a complaint about the withdrawal of the Bury St Edmunds services are ‘advised to contact First buses directly on 08456 020 121’. I suggest that this is precisely what people should do
 
This is a slightly extended version of my letter to the EADT  published today, 18-01-2012. 

Woodbridge Town Council Report June 2010

This one is mostly about spending – and mis-spending – public money, and transport!

Full Council :

The latest Full Council in Suffolk County council Annual General Meeting was held at the end of May. Eddie Alcock and Patricia O’Brien were respectively elected Chairman and Vice-Chairman for the upcoming year.

TheLib Dems had called in the administration’s desire to put aside standing orders and allow the Chief Executive to spend up to £122,000 on private consultants without putting the bid out to public tender or disclosing what these consultants were to do. The company Scintillate will be paid around £50,000 – £55,000 and Bedfordshire-based Fields of Learning will get up to £42,000 for two months’ work; and DNA will be paid around £30,000 for one month’s work. Fields of Learning has already received over £400,000 from Suffolk for training senior managers in blue-skies thinking.

At the meeting we were told by Deputy Leader that £122,000 was a tiny proportion of the annual council budget. I pointed out that £122000 may not seem a lot to the administration , but from the viewpoint of Woodbridge – where the Deben Family Centre closed for want of £50,000 – it’s a fortune.

Sadly, the Call-in was defeated: by 18 votes to 50.

This meeting also endorsed allowing the public to attend and ask questions at the monthly Cabinet meetings. This will be up and running by the next Cabinet meeting, which takes place on the 22nd of June. Questions would need to be submitted at least 4 days in advance.

Local Buses

Well, we finally got our plightcovered by the East Anglian with a very full article at the end of May, complete with a photo. The EADT asked First buses for comments. First told the paper that they had not changed their bus services for three years and that they had never received our letter – both of which were very questionalble statements. This allowed me to write a very forthright letter to the EAD|T which was published under the leadline “Bus Company’s reply to complaint is laughable” and I was fortunate afterwards to have an interview with Mitchell Bradshaw, SCC head of Transport Planning.

It has become clear that we CAN make a difference. For example, the 165 bus has had such a takeup it is wishing to operate outside County Council grants. He suggested that we should approach the smaller companies with ideas for services we need. I am now planning on contacting some of the smaller companies and – in the first instance – suggesting a Woodbridge bus that serves the very clearly defined visiting times at Ipswich hospital.

Bollards in Hasketon Road – at last!

For years the residents of Hasketon Road have been plagued by inconsiderate parking by a few thoughtless parents at school drop-off and pick-up times. Their cars churn up the verges and have posed a safety risk to the hundreds of students who cycle and walk to the school every day.

I have been talking to the highway authorities for eighteen months trying to get this solved. Although I have been able to agree double yellow lines around the corners of Ransom Road, we then needed some other solution for the adjacent verges. And there was some reluctance (to put it mildly) to see bollards as the answer.

Other options were recommended and explored – notably the officers’ preferred option of building up and reseeding the verge. This was attempted last May after a a wait of seven months and lasted precisely as long as until the contractors left the site. The residents were – rightly – incandescent.

A year later we have seen no further progress, and there was some suggestion that reseeding and building up should be attempted again. My view is that to even consider rebuilding the verges once more is a waste of everyone’s energy and a trial of their patience. For a start, it will involve another wait of a year as we were told 18 month ago that spring is the only time for building and reseeding. And for the likelihood of no better outcome than last time. I feel that the residents of Hasketon Road deserve better than this continuing putting-off. The other non-bollard option recomme nded was preventative planting – but local town councillors have told me of other places in Woodbridge where planting to discourage parking has been ineffective.

At this point – luckily – our wonderful community police came to the rescure and put down traffic cones along the Hasketon Road with immediate success. parking stopped just like that. The cones were placed exactly where we intend to place bollards. The success is not surprising – it mirrors the success of the bollards that are installed a couple of hundred yards further down where the Hasketon Road becomes the Burkitt Road, and which has discouraged dangerous parking by parents at St Marys.

As well as the police, I ‘ve sought the views of residents and both town and district councillors and the issue was raised at the last SNT tasking meeting by Woodbridge Town Councillor Miles. Bollards were agreed by all as the best solution.A nice set of concrete bollards costs around £3000 – a sum that I am more than happy to contribute from my locality budget to improve the safety of Woodbridge residents, students of Farlingaye, and the much tried inhabitants of Hasketon Road. I’ve filled in the paperwork and hoipe things will progress speedily.

Other Locality budget spends

Recent applications for my locality budget funding have included:

• Assistance to publish walking maps of Woodbridge

• An external canopy for Farlingaye High School

• Two bicycles for Woodbridge Town Pastors

• Grit bins to help Woodbridge residents de-ice their roads in the next cold spell

• Support for a Town Crier.

Quality of Life money: Ipswich Road and Sandy Lane

Congratulations are due to the Year 8 members of Farlingaye High School (and their teacher Millie Simonds) who chose to address transport and walking to school in relation to Ipswich Road traffic when working on a Make a Difference programme. You may have heard the youngsters on BBC Radio Suffolk a couple of weeks back, as they investigated the speeds of traffic on Ipswich Road. The students interviewed me, very well and professionally, as a part of their project, and I also commented live on the issues on Mark Murphy’s breakfast programme on 20 May, before attending their assembly at Farlingaye that morning.

As you know there have long been concerns about speeding along Ipswich Road, particularly in relation to those walking and cycling to Kyson and Farlingaye schools. I had reserved £12,000 from Quality of Life money to build an island in the road which is being planned at the moment. Now the Highways department at Suffolk County Council have invited the FHS students to take part in the design of this island, so as to see the project through! This ought to mean it is designed to be fit for purpose.

Measures for calming Sandy Lane continue. I walked the lane with Martlesham Cllrs Forbes Green and Brome some weeks back, and have since had input from residents at the Woodbridge end. I have put all ideas to the Suffolk County Highways dept. and asked for any further ones from them. I am also consulting Sustrans, because the bulk of Sandy Lane is also Cycle Route 1. Any good ideas for making £4000 stretch as far as possible would be gratefully received.

SCC Olympics consultation

The Suffolk County Council website is currently holding a survey on the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics. This is in order to help with the planning of events relating to the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012.

This survey is there to rank your expectations of what you think should happen in Suffolk for the Olympic Games. Questions include ‘A Big Screen in town centres showing Olympic Games coverage’ and ‘Olympics activities in Schools’.

Please find the survey here http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HJ3965G