Category Archives: Your councillor

Melton Hill – the wedges strike back

New plans for the Melton Hill development have been submitted- and surprise, surprise, they are pretty much the same as before. If you want to write, do so by Thursday 25th  July (Link here – though you will be given a little latitude to get in submissions after this date. However officers will start examining the application week beginning 29th July ).                   

Here is my response

I am writing as County Councillor for Woodbridge to comment on new plans submitted for the  Melton Hill development of the former Suffolk Coastal District council offices.

These seem to be very similar to the original plans, which is disappointing.

Current national planning policy “seeks to significantly boost the supply of homes through a sufficient amount and variety of land that will come forward where it is needed, to meet the needs of groups with specific housing requirements”.

Accordingto the Suffolk Coastal Local Plan, the District Council “shares the government’s ambition and is seeking to deliver sustainable communities across the District.”

It seems strange therefore that the significant need that clearly exists in Woodbridge: indeed the overwhelming need for affordable housing for the town’s young families, home-leavers, down-sizers, people with disabilities, low-earners is not at the heart of this development.

It is also strange that in the very recent past the district council had proposed extending the conservation boundary for Woodbridge town to include such buildings as “Council Offices No 112 Thoroughfare – A substantial mid nineteenth century classical villa constructed of white brick with projecting eaves and a slate roof. Much of its original external joinery survives,“ and even mentioning favourably the mid C20 redbrick council offices next to it. The rationale was clear: “extending the conservation boundary would contribute significantly to safeguarding the setting of the GII listed Maltings cottage, Melton Hill, and no  42 Deben Road, … It would also afford protection to a number of presently unlisted structures that make a strong positive contribution to the character of this part of town.”

Surely the only reason this aspiration can have been omitted from the recent consultation on Woodbridge’s Conservation boundary is because elements within the District Council have predetermined that 112 Thoroughfare should be destroyed –  to facilitate development of a frontage containing the brick, aluminium and concrete ‘Block E”? This cannot be right. Continue reading Melton Hill – the wedges strike back

Woodbridge: What’s been happening – July

More roads, less buses, millions wasted on consultants and residents deprived of vital services  for want of a  hundred thousand or so – despite declaring a climate emergency, County’s strangely dual attitude to money and transport continues this month..

Suffolk County Council announces funding cuts to subsidised bus routes   Suffolk County Council has announced that 23 subsidised bus routes will no longer receive funding from the council, in a bid to save £340,000. This means that over a third of subsidised bus routes in the county will lose their funding. This will include the early morning 71 we can take from Woodbridge  to Ipswich to get us there in time for work/college.

The decision to cut £340,000 from the subsidised buses budget was made in February, when the Council agreed on the budget for the current financial year. I spoke against this cut at the time, as well as other cuts that will affect bus users such as the decision to no longer print bus timetables. It seems that  not everybody listened. Continue reading Woodbridge: What’s been happening – July

Sizewell C consultation – my response

NO “mitigation” or “compensation” could mitigate or compensate for the permanent impact of this road-led strategy on Suffolk landscape and way of life

Suffolk County Council submitted a response to this Stage 3 consultation, as did Woodbridge’s Town Council. This is mine, written specifically as Woodbridge County Councillor – and as LibDem Green and Independent group county councillor representing a Suffolk Coastal division

My concerns are both general and specific.Putting to one side the question of whether the development of Sizewell is still desirable or economic, I wish to raise concerns about the following overarching issues about this Stage 3 pre-Application:

  1. The inexplicable decision to favour a road-led strategy for development over both sea and rail. This change to the narrative of previous schemes is in no way explained or explicable. Indeed, the complete fatuity of plans which eschew a marine-led strategy because of “damage to the marine environment” yet which trample over an AONB takes some beating. Such a strategy is not green. It damages a vital resource for Suffolk Coastal – the age-old countryside it relies on for income. It is not convenient – for us, the residents of Suffolk Coastal. Using Suffolk roads is clearly the cheapest and most convenient option for the developers.  What is in this for the people living in Suffolk Coastal?
  2. The adverse impact of a road-led strategy is not only on the area around Sizewell, but on all the feeder roads in Suffolk Coastal, and the communities they serve. The impact of traffic displaced by significant HGV traffic on the A12 onto rural routes will affect all rural communities in the path. What is in this for the people living in Suffolk Coastal?
  3. Despite the damage to the surrounding area  – an area which brings Suffolk Coastal its most significant longterm income  (from tourism) because of this choice of a road-led strategy – we gather it will still be necessary for you to build a jetty to bring heavy machinery in by sea. So what price “protecting the marine environment”?
  4.  All this being so, what we appear to see is the wanton destruction of countryside, habitat, environment and way of life for the people of Suffolk Coastal for the benefit of urban areas that want electricity without risk to themselves.  Suffolk has 1.4% of the UK population. It will sustain 100% of the damage of this scheme. Words like ‘mitigation and compensation’ fall very short of addressing the destruction of an historic way of life for everything for the foreseeable future
  5. Development plans for significant housing near Leiston suggests that many or most of the workers, even at the building stage, will not be sourced locally, but will be incomers to Suffolk. What is in this for the people living in Suffolk Coastal?
  6. If rail is used it will involve apparently the destruction of many existing crossings and rights of way, at great detriment to residents and tourists, who come specifically to walk and enjoy the countryside. Trains, both for delivery of construction materials and for operational uses afterwards will be in excess of the current East Suffolk line usage and will have an impact in both noise and impact on other traffic for residents along the line. Again, what is in this for the people living in Suffolk Coastal?
  7. Where is the acknowledgement of the impact of climate change on the coast of Suffolk? Suffolk County Council declared a climate emergency last week. Rising seas are predicted to put Sizewell under water within a relatively short space of time. What plans have been mafe to guard against this?
  8. Why is there no marine strategy for the delivery of energy? The current scheme will have a massive impact on the people of Suffolk Coastal in order to benefit a large tranche of the UK population. If we in Britain can get our energy from France via undersea cables, surely London can get its energy from Suffolk by the same route?

Continue reading Sizewell C consultation – my response