Category Archives: The Estuary

Happy New Year – best wishes for 2014!

Woodbridge, from across the river Deben.  The view will have been much the same for hunderds of years
Woodbridge, from across the river Deben. The view will have been much the same for hundreds of years

After counting in the New Year on Market Hill and walking happily home in the dark under blazing white  constellations, it’s  perhaps the way of the world that there’s now a blustery beginning to another year.   Lets hope 2014 will be a good one! You can count on me to do everything I can to help make it so.

If you have problems, do tell me about them – by phone, email, face-to-face. The first surgery of the year is on

Saturday 18 January 10-12 at Woodbridge Library, as ever.
All welcome, and no booking necessary (though you may have to wait a bit if it’s very busy).

Advance warning that this year there will be no surgery in March as I will be travelling to China to visit two of my children who are working and studying in Yanzhou and Qufu respectively. I am excited already!

What’s been happening in Suffolk November/December 2013

Dec 6 Flood and Aftermath    Multi-Agency flood responders worked  through the night to ensure the tidal surge of 5/6 December was mitigated where possible. The forecast high water was due in Woodbridge at 1:00 am on Friday 6 December  rising 2.17 m AODN, with an additional forecast surge height of 1.73. As it was, the surge arrived early.

Fortunately the flood barriers held off most of the high water (though they leaked at the station, and at the Eversheds ramp which I phoned in to the Environment Agency). The most damage seemed to be suffered suffered by the Waterfront café and the Tide Mill which had prepared for less high water.

In addition to the leaking there was a strong sewage smell  from the public lavatory by Eversheds, plus gushing water from the new emergency storm drain behind the Woodbridge community hall , I reported these to Anglian Water but fortunately their engineers found no issue some hours later. It was probably a case of the emergency drains backing up due to the surge .

Members of the public are being advised to heed notices warning that footpaths are closed due to flooding. The warning is there because they are impassable and/or unsafe.

 A14 tolling  Government plans to introduce the UK’s first toll road in 10 years  on the A14 have been dropped – to the relief of all. The planned upgrade will now be funded from general taxation – as is happening with all other of Britain’s road upgrades..The toll was condemned almost unanimously by Councillors at Suffolk County Council’s October meeting as a ‘toll on Suffolk.’

Ipswich Sexual Health Clinic  The sorry saga of the unplanned, unthought-through relocation of these vital services continues. We were told that the Sexual Health clinic was moving because the clinic needed to be in a more central location and I was assured that this would be a modular building at Gipping Court, Constantine Road  – but this turned out to be no more than aspiration. According to the latest communication from the Director of Public Health they  are now relocating the service in the grounds of the former Holywells High School – eg exactly as far from the centre as Ipswich Hospital, but with considerably fewer transport links. This is a truly extraordinary decision. I will be following it up.

Locality Budget –  do you know of a project that needs funding?  My most recent grant from the Locality budget is for a mobile skating rink to draw new custom into town in the dark days of February.

I still have money in this year’s budget, and would be interested in hearing from people for suitable projects. There is no urgency, as I am able to roll money over until next year, if nothing of sufficient local importance or need comes to hand.

New Street   As it seems that it has been impossible to reach a solution to the continuing New Street flooding issues and as some residents are unhappy that the only solution offered is the barrier/sandbag one,  I am escalating the situation. I think it is reasonable to say that the SCC Highways team have done all that is possible for them to do. There are elements within the situation that encompass the Environment Agency, Anglian Water, Suffolk Coastal District council – and maybe other bodies. I am now asking Cabinet Member for Roads and Transport, and the Director of Economy Skills and Environment whether they can do anything to improve the situation.

My Last Surgery of the Year will be on 21 December (10-12 at the Woodbridge Library) if anyone has any last minute problems and issues – and I’ll be serving a mince pie to everyone who turns up

And finally… 

May I wish everyone

xmas2013picsmall (500x800)A MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR

Proposed cabling works: Martlesham creek & Sandy Lane

While local people are concerned about the potential  impact of the Sizewell C building works on our local community, few have yet recognised the likely grave impact  on Woodbridgeof proposed  large-scale onshore cabling works   from the off-shore windfarm .

This is perhaps not surprising: I was only alerted a couple of days before the  consultation ended that the proposed cabling route would enter the Woodbridge division, when i was first shown a map of the route – and I had to tell SCC officers this impacted on us, rather than the other way round!

The proposal is for buried cabling – which many consider more aesthetic than  pylons, but which will be cutting a 55metre-wide swathe across a significant distance of unspoiled Suffolk coastal countryside:  from Bawdsey, across the Deben estuary, travelling north past  Newbourne, Waldringfield, tunnelling under Martlesham creek, and turning west  on our very own Sandy Lane, where there will be a ‘Primary construction consolidation site’ whatever that might be.

My response as your local County Councillor to the preliminary consultation is below:

“Although I recognise it is a need for aesthetic sensitivity that has driven the planning of onshore delivery of underground cabling for the EAONE windfarm, we also need to recognise fully that the proposed underground cabling will cut a swathe 55mtres wide through the countryside for most of the distance between Bawdsey and Bramford. This will have a terrible impact on ancient trees (particularly, as East Anglia ONE acknowledges, in Newbourne and Martlesham) and we have been told there can be no tree replanting over the top.

 the cable at Woodbridge
the cable at Woodbridge

It may be  therefore, that this will have a greater impact on portions of the route than pylons. We know of no pylon that is more than a few decades old – yet many of the trees that will have to go will have lived for centuries.

The planned works will take place over a couple of years, from, I believe, 2015. During this time there will be a considerable impact both on– and off-road. I’m not talking only of the valued footpath infrastructure, but the fact that these works will cross-over with the proposed Sizewell C building – and the proposed housing development at Martlesham. This will be rather a triple whammy for our section of Suffolk Coastal.

Responding on behalf of the people of Woodbridge as a whole I would like to say that we do understand that the need for this cabling is for the greater good of the population of the UK – but we need you to understand that we  need adequate and appropriate mitigation (to put it mildly) of the disruption – with all longterm negative impacts to the beauty of our timeless landscape prevented as much as humanly possible.

I am yet to be convinced of good reasons as to why the cables cannot be in the estuary – or on the waterline – for much of the distance to Bramford as was originally proposed.

My underlying feeling is that we along the Deben estuary should not be bearing the brunt of development for the good of the nation as a whole, without scheme recognising the full importance of this – and putting time and effort into ensuring minimum impact, and compensating us adequately for what impact there has to be on the environment!”