Major review of Suffolk Highways

The major review of the way highways in Suffolk are maintained, that I reported last month, is underway.

The problems in Claydon and Great Blakenham this month have shown just how important this is, particularly:

  • How utility companies coordinate roadworks and are held to account for their actions;
  • How residents, councillors and businesses are informed about road repairs;
  • Contract management;

People living in Masons Drive in Blakenham Fields, on Chapel Lane and in the centre of Claydon have all suffered from the vast numbers of vehicles that normally use Bramford Road routing through their streets.  The works by Anglian Water on Ipswich Road in Claydon have caused tail backs of 25+ vehicles off peak.

I did ask at full council, just what was being done to improve coordination of works, to ensure teams are on site for 5 or 6 days a week and how about extended hours of work for critical tasks.

I and other councillors, including the new cabinet member for Highways, have asked for solutions many times at the Scrutiny Committee. We must get answers now.  I will tell you what changes are made.

Road Works

Surely Hackneys Corner and Claydon will be complete by the time you read this!

Costed five-year cycling plan

At the Council meeting on 19 July, the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group asked for a commitment to investing in Suffolk’s cycling infrastructure. We wanted a cross-party group to draw up a costed five-year cycling plan, and then a commitment to ring-fence at least 5% of the Integrated Transport budget for cycling infrastructure.

The administration supported the drawing up of a cycling plan but would not commit funding.  Without the minor funding commitment, future bids to the Department for Transport are likely to be unsuccessful.  This has been the case for the past seven years.

Additional £6m for recycling centres

The Cabinet has agreed to borrow an additional £6m to fund improvement works for four of Suffolk’s recycling centres.  It intends to deliver £3 million of urgent improvements at Foxhall and £1 million at Haverhill.

It will, for £ 1 million each, secure two sites for replacement of recycling centres for Ipswich and Stowmarket.

I wonder how much of this expenditure would have been necessary if other centres, which had shared the load, had not been closed.

Police and Crime Panel

The report on the trial of an APNR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) camera in speed enforcement is still underway.  The laptop involved was I understand stolen!

We will now get a report in January, rather a long delay but at least it is progressing.  I believe that if this technology is used carefully, it could give good control of the few drivers who push their skills to the limit or beyond on village streets.

The current trial works the same way as Community Speedwatch but on a 24/7 basis.  However, it could do much more.

District Council Issues

The fact that Mid Suffolk now has a five-year land supply did make a difference at the one planning meeting I have attended since it was calculated.  We must now look at the emerging Babergh/Mid Suffolk development plan as it goes through its final stages and influence the allocation of land for housing.

There are still at least five applications for substantial numbers of dwellings to be determined: Whitton, Barham Church Lane, Ely Road, and one either end of Bramford.

In all cases you are, I am aware, very concerned about the infrastructure needed to support the plans if your quality of life is not to be destroyed.

Gipping Valley News from John Field