Things are still fairly quiet as the new electoral cycle gathers momentum. Locally, more bus services are cut. Countywide, SCC announces a £3.5m underspend. Its a shame nobody puts these two together and realises you have to speculate in order to accumulate..
Update on local bus issues The loss of the Anglia 164 and 165 buses and reduction of the 63 service that I mentioned in last month’s report has taken place. The 63 is now restricted to 4 daily buses on working Mondays to Fridays with one additional bus on schooldays. This means there is no bus link whatsoever between Ipswich/Martlesham/Woodbridge and Framlingham on a Saturday!
However after representations made as to the damage done by the loss of the 164/165 which ran from Aldeburgh and Leiston to Ipswich the situation has been improved additional services from the First 64 and 65. However, I have had a number of elderly correspondents in places like Knodishall who have had their transport lifeline cut.
One of the issues appears to be that very few elected members at any governmental level use buses – and those that do use city ones and have therefore little understanding of the problems facing those without transport in rural areas.
I wrote to our local MP, and to the County council, asking if they could use their influence to try and change some of these decisions at a local level. (This appears to have had some effect.)
I also asked them to use their voice
- to press to alter – at national level – the ridiculous ethos of so-called competition which has caused deregulated buses to provide such a terrible service in the countryside. In the past County Councils ran bus services on the basis that popular routes could subsidise essential routes with smaller passenger numbers. I have sympathy with Councils that see no reason to subsidise only loss-making services. The loss of the 165 shows us on what a tightrope the services run. Yet rural services are not a frivolous luxury – they can make the difference between productive employment and training and expensive enforced idleness;
- to press the government to address the situation of local transport in the forthcoming spending review in a holistic sense. (That is, considering the expense in social care and welfare payments that will occur if public transport is not supported. )Ask them to support it at all costs because it is an essential part of supporting the future welfare of the country – particularly in rural areas;
- to press the government to look at the frankly unfair differentials in per capita spending on public transport across the country. Each Londoner gets about three times as much spent on them as each person in Suffolk despite the huge economies of scale London offers – and London buses aren’t deregulated. Why should our constituents be worth any less?
Although I have not heard anything from Dr Coffey, I was at a Transport meeting at the County Council where it seemed as if the council were indeed contemplating lobbying central government over the situation with rural buses!
Underspend: latest news is that Suffolk CC has managed a £3.5 m underspend on the proposed budget of the year to date. That kind of money would subsidise a lot of buses.
Suffolk’s ‘Most Active Community’ Suffolk County Council is launching a competition to find Suffolk’s most active town – as part of it’s latest declared ambition to become ‘the most active county in England’.
Organisers are looking for communities that can demonstrate that they are getting people active through such means as new walking or cycling routes, programmes of activities in village halls, improved community facilities or new community events.
Winners and runners up will receive grants to fund further programmes of physical activity, or to invest in initiatives to promote active lifestyles.
The grants would be:
Winner – Suffolk’s Most Active Town £2,500
Winner – Suffolk’s Most Active Large Village £1,500
Winner – Suffolk’s Most Active Small Village £1,000
Runner Up – Suffolk’s Most Active Large Village £500
Runner Up – Suffolk’s Most Active Small Village £500
The winners will also have the opportunity to install a sign to recognise their achievement as the most active village/town in Suffolk.
The deadline for applications is Friday 9 August 2013 To enter the competition or for more information please visit: www.mostactivecounty.com/community_activity.
Wheelchair access from Wilford Bridge to Kyson Point Full access has been interrupted by the steps on the pathway leasing north from the Art Club. I talked to the Rights of Way team and have been informed that full access at this point is imminent – by means of a ramp.
Locality budget grants I have been delighted to fund from my Locality budget a cup – the Kingston Allotment Cup – to be awarded to the winning Allotment every year. I have also had notification that the broken bench on SCC land at the junction of Grundisburgh and Hasketon Roads is now being replaced. This was also funded from my Locality budget.
Sandy Lane calming The longstanding Sandy Lane calming scheme (simply lines and signs) – which finally looked like becoming a reality at the end of the last electoral period – stalled during the election moratorium and unfortunately seems to have had a bit of time restarting. However I am now told that “The contractor is going to take a look on site to confirm the working arrangements and we may be in a position to complete these work in the next 2 weeks.”
Hopefully this will allow the Cemetery Lane lining finally to be done at the same time. These were funded out of last cycle’s quality of life budget (now Highways budget).
My July Surgery 2013 As you know, I hold a regular monthly surgery on the THIRD SATURDAY of every month. This is held at Woodbridge Library, 10am – 12 noon. The next surgery will be: 20 July 2013
- Please note: there will be no surgery in August 2013