I’m standing for re-election in Woodbridge

The stakeboards up around Woodbridge may possibly have given this away, but just to announce formally, I’m standing for re-election as County Councillor for Woodbridge, Suffolk – the best place to live in the East of England (and that’s official, though we knew it already).

This is the 5th time I’m standing: I’ve been elected County Councillor for Woodbridge in 2008, 2009, 2013 & 2017.

Published & promoted by Patrick Gillard on behalf of Caroline Page, LibDems, both at 117 Ipswich Rd Woodbridge IP12 4BY


Response as Woodbridge representative to SCC’s £60m A12 ‘improvements’

Response, as County Councillor for Woodbridge to SCC’s Consultation on A12 Improvements: ‘Seven Hills’ to A1152 ‘Woods Lane’                          

Overview   You describe the objectives of the scheme as to “improve” these 11 km of the A12 because this is the area where improvements are most needed. I am afraid I disagree fundamentally with this viewpoint.

However, I am very supportive of the cycling and pedestrian schemes proposed within my division.

Below I give my response to each of the points in your rationale. You say these works will

  • improve the capacity of the major road network. What you mean is you will increase the number of vehicles but without thought as to the likely outcome of this increase (which is, ‘induced demand’. As they say “Trying to cure traffic congestion by adding more capacity is like trying to cure obesity by loosening your belt.”).
  • reduce congestion and improve journey time reliability on the A12 by putting traffic lights on roundaboutsThis was so unsuccessful on the Kesgrave Road, that as I recall, they were removed shortly afterwards. Is this a wise idea on the main artery along the Suffolk Coast?
  • improve connectivity to the region’s ports. There are no ports between Seven Hills and Woods Lane: surely improvement to connectivity could be better focussed?
  • support local economic growth and the creation of jobs. How? By the physical act of building these roads? Surely it will just be just moving people from one place to another?
  • support the delivery of planned housing growth. Would it not be better to plan for wholly sustainable transport for these planned houses? I note with sorrow that in this consultation public transport measures are – as ever – without substance,  and called “potential measures” rather than “proposals”.
  • support the visitor economy. How? (See below)
  • support the Energy Coast. Here is a strange anomaly. The Energy Coast is what SCC has recently rechristened the erstwhile Heritage Coast. These two Coasts cannot exist side by side. This dichotomy of intention (more Energy = less Heritage) will hardly support the visitor economy, – particularly considering the building of Sizewell C and the Friston sub-station – plus the energy delivery pathways over the next 10 years.
  • mitigate the traffic impacts of the proposed Sizewell C developmentThis is an interesting intention as it apparently exists despite both Suffolk residents and administration having reiterated their concerns about having Sizewell C construction delivered by road. Eg on Sept 11 2020, SCC Cabinet member Richard Rout , in rejecting EDF’s plans, said: “We remain very disappointed that the transport strategy presented by EDF Energy relies heavily on road-based haulage for materials. In its current form, we don’t believe it is a sustainable solution with its massive impact on the environment and our communities”. It seems almost as if you are running with the hare and chasing with the hounds?
  • support and encourage walking and cycling. This is a great intention and in many ways it will – at least it will in my division. However, it seems the proposal is also likely to encourage rat-runners  from the A12, angered by the new lights, through local towns and country roads.
  • improve services for bus users . I cannot see how these proposals do anything concrete to improve services for bus users? You need to have a substantive and usable bus policy to improve services for bus users , and this is currently far from the case. How many scheduled buses now travel regularly between the rural areas beyond Woodbridge and Ipswich, as opposed to the number that came five, ten years ago? You cannot improve something by consistently undermining and overlooking it. Longterm proposals based upon a thorough review of everybody’s transport requirements along the A1214 corridor between Ipswich and rural areas beyond Woodbridge need to be included in this consultation.

Continue reading Response as Woodbridge representative to SCC’s £60m A12 ‘improvements’

Woodbridge: what’s been happening in March

Coronavirus update  The covid infection rate continues to go downwards. According to national  statistics, there were somewhere between 0 and 2 people infected in Woodbridge in the week ending 9th March. This is as opposed to 11 people on month ago. However East Suffolk as a whole has had a nearly 20% increase in new infections over the last 7 days. Do bear in mind however these are currently small figures: 6 new infections a day.

The most up-to-date picture across Suffolk is :

For up-to-date local coronavirus data go to https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ where you can search by postcode.

The vaccination programme is going very well in Suffolk. This is a testament to the hard work and efficiency of our wonderful local healthcare teams and volunteers. However, supply remains patchy. This is the one area outside local hands.

With the return of school pupils to the classroom on Monday, households, childcare and support bubbles of primary/secondary-age pupils and primary/secondary staff are being asked to take a rapid test for COVID-19, twice a week. Secondary school pupils and primary/secondary school staff will be given their tests by their schools. Farlingaye HS made the EADT for the sheer number of tests administered! (Primary school pupils will not be asked to test at this time.)

There are four ways to get a test. For more details go to the Suffolk County Council . The Woodbridge Lateral Flow testing site will be stood down from 31 March because it has been decided that home testing is more beneficial.

Caroline Page standing looking very pleased in a clearly new bus shelter with the ancient, yellow Cherry Tree inn behind her
The new bus shelter finally in place

Finally: New Bus Shelter by the Cherry Tree
Happiness is.. a new bus shelter! People have waited in the cold and wet at the bus stop by Cherry Tree Inn, Woodbridge  ever since there was a bus stop there. A total wind tunnel. It has taken me four years to negotiate and and actually get this shelter in place.  A small victory? Not for the residents of Morley Avenue! I’m thrilled!

Woodbridge Safe Streets Vigil On March 13th, Woodbridge was one of few places in the county (country) to hold a small  peaceful, safe,  sociallly-distanced police-sanctioned vigil to  remember Sarah Everard and call for greater safety for women in public places. Full details here  https://suffolklibdems.org/carolinepage/2021/03/15/safer-streets-for-women-woodbridge-holds-vigil/

Home to school transport contracts to move from Suffolk Norse to Vertas Following the end of the joint venture partnership with Suffolk Norse (triggered on the part of Norse), SCC will be moving the home-to-school transport service to the wholly owned company Vertas.

Suffolk Norse delivered a termination of agreement notice in August 2020, giving 12 months notice to the Council. The 40 home-to-school transport routes and a school swimming service will be delivered by Vertas from September onwards. The contract was not put out to tender due to the limited timescales, the legal requirement to deliver these services continuously, and the risk of redundancies if a provider able to deliver both swimming and home-to-school transport cannot be found.

Suffolk & Norfolk County Council submit joint bid for £6m flood funding Suffolk and Norfolk County Councils have submitted a joint bid to the £200 fund for Flood and Coastal Resilience, requesting £6m to invest in flood protection schemes across both counties. The proposed projects would also capture water for reuse. If the bid is successful town and parish councils will be encouraged to get involved through measures like permeable paving, water butts and ‘rain gardens’ that can cope with occasional flooding. These projects would be in place by 2027 if the bid is approved.

Consultation on proposed A12 improvements from A14 Seven Hills to A1152 Woods Lane Suffolk County Council was consulting  on proposed improvements to the A12 between A14 junction at ‘Seven Hills’ and A1152 at Woods Lane, with the stated aim of increasing highway capacity in the area and preventing future congestion.

The “improvements” will include traffic lights on every roundabout but Seckford, and have an estimated cost of £60m. The lights would monitor congestion and use ‘intelligent flow’ to adapt to changing levels of traffic. The consultation finished  on 19th March. I will post my response separately.

Cllr Caroline Page speaking via zoom: head and shoulders shot in front of bookshelves
Cllr Caroline Page proposes the motion at Full Council via zoom

Carers Database I proposed a motion to the last full council of the electoral cycle  to create a cross-county Carers database in order to help direct the Council’s limited social care resources most effectively so as to ensure that there will be maximum support for carers, particularly in times of crisis.  Wonderfully this was seconded by Suffolk’s Conservatives(although they had had no appetite for the schemewhen I proposed it to them directly last summer and the motion passed ‘by general acclamation.’ Full details here: https://suffolklibdems.org/carolinepage/2021/03/21/identifying-suffolks-unpaid-carers/

LDGI Group opposes Government’s last-minute approach to local authority grants Suffolk County Council will receive £27m for highways repairs, maintenance and drainage in 2021-22, a reduction in from £31m the previous year. This has necessitated the use of £2m of reserves to top up the grant. We feel that these cuts in Government funding make it impossible to plan long-term for road maintenance and repair. Due to the uncertainty as to whether this grant would materialise at all, some vital work has already been postponed.

Post-16 Travel Policy consultation My group has submitted a joint response to Suffolk County Council’s consultation on the Post-16 Transport Policy, which manages transport to schools and education for young people after the age of 16. This included:

  • Support for the expansion of the post-16 travel eligibility criteria for sixth form students and adult learners aged 25 and under with EHC plans, reflecting the change in age range for compulsory school attendance.
  • Support for keeping prices lower for SEND students.
  • Use of buses and trains for school transport must be supported. The needs of students and the numbers currently forced to use taxis or private cars to reach their schools must be taken into account when considering public transport. Students should be steered towards buses first, and the school transport service should support our local bus network in maintaining services to rural areas.
  • The Travel Training Scheme must be better funded, so that it can expand and promote its services

Four Years of Locality Budgets    In the last four years, my locality budget has funded an amazingly diverse array of things to support local groups and the community in general. These included:

  • Entertainment for the individual Library Reading Schemes and prizes for the associated competitions (Animal Agents, Mischief Makers and Space Chase)
  • Funding towards a defibrillator for Warwick Avenue
  • A townwide Social Prescribing leaflet
  • A tenor soloist for the end of WWI Snape annniversary  War Requiem
  • Dark figure of a woman holdong a red snow scraper with which she has scraped the pathe through the snow in the forground. Behind her is all white: a fairyland tunnel of snow covered branches with a little blue wheelbarrow in the distance
    Gritting: Caroline Page clearing the footway above the Ipswich Road with equipment supplied by the gritting scheme

    Additional bins and barrows for the Woodbridge Gritting Scheme (set up by me in 2010)

  • Advertising material: Woodbridge Farmers’ Market
  • Little City play shopping street experience for pre-schoolers
  • Plans for the interior of Jetty Lane Community Youth and Arts Centre
  • WTFC kit for the Junior team
  • Uniform jackets for Just 42 in-school mentors at FarlingayeHS
  • Benches and notice boards for areas outside the town centre
  • Funding for Woodbridge Festival
  • Promotional videos highlighting community need
  • The ‘Finish’ Arch for the Woodbridge 10k
  • Funding for Woodbridge Opera in the Park
  • Christmas presents for local children in need
  • Road trailer for the Woodbridge Coastal Rowing Club skiffs
  • Funding for Pirate Ship climbing frame, St Mary’s Primary School
  • 9 laptops to support learning for individual FarlingayeHS students in lockdown
  • Benches to improve the shopping experience in Woodbridge Thoroughfare

Caroline Page, LibDem County Councillor for Woodbridge