From Cllr Bryn Hurren.
So pleasing to see and hear our brilliant success in the Eurovision song contest quite recently, while some countries' juries still did not vote for our entry, despite it being the best by far, many did cast their votes our way, which could mean the beginning of a new dawn or just a temporary reprieve. The jury is certainly out on that one as well at this moment. What was even more amazing was the huge public support for Ukraine and its people who are earning support and respect for their bravery and resilience in such tragic circumstances as they find themselves in. The arts, history, ancient and modern, are often closely linked and the words of the song, it aint what you do it's the way that you do it have never been truer than now.
Of huge concern to myself, the council as a whole and indeed us all, is the shocking rise in costs and goods, especially the cost of essential utilities like electric, gas and food supplies. While import of food and consumables was expected to rise around 15% due to no longer being tariff free after the Brexit debacle, the cost of our basic fuel, heating and lighting tariffs have now doubled and added even more to the costs. Some of this is due to circumstances beyond our control and the world situation, but what is so offensive is that the energy producers, along with the government, are raking in billions of extra profit and taxes due to the high prices, while the rest of us on a fixed income have to make crucial decisions about what we can make do without. Eat or heat, eat or rent, is there enough food for the children if mum eats as well? Fuel in the car must go further, so no clubs, trips or sport for the young ones. If only Jacob Rees Mogg could walk a mile in our shoes, even he might appreciate the dilemma here, but then again probably not. Many of our elite ministers and PM were apparently educated at Eton and have created a true mess, they are obviously too far removed from reality to see what is happening to those at the bottom of the food, health and education chain. Never have so many been let down so badly by so few. The response to all this by our shocking out of touch government is just to try to save themselves, while all around is falling into an embarrassing heap. The booing of our prime minister as he entered St Paul's Cathedral for the jubilee service was a really low point and a true reflection of how the vast majority of the rank and file ordinary citizens now feel about this individual and his cohorts. A little compassion here and some genuine policy and tax changes along with some common sense would be good, but probably that is not going to happen any time soon. A few crumbs promised before the autumn onslaught will be the best we can hope for.
The most controversial debate at this moment in the Suffolk constituencies is whether UK power networks should be allowed to string miles of massive pylons across the Suffolk rural and urban landscape to convey the power from the North Sea windfarms down to south Essex and London, the answer is obviously No and No again. A modern forward-looking country would route them in the sea around the coast, just as we route cables carrying power and telecommunications across the English Channel and even across the Atlantic Ocean and all other waterways to carry our services, it would not be too difficult to eventually establish a ring main around mainland Britain to carry all our green energy to where it is needed without ruining our vista and sacrificing our tourist industry for the profits of big utility businesses who no doubt have the ear and pockets of our present government. It would cost a considerable sum of money but much cheaper that the now well-pruned HS2 vanity scheme and also the wasted billions on PPE and misappropriated contracts to dodgy firms set up to supply it.
What is being debated and offered is in fact a few miles of undergrounding in 70 mt wide trenches in and near the AONBs while the other 95% of the cables will be hung in the air and on our horizons for us all to view. This is a false debate and an affrontery to our intelligence. Do we not ever learn by our mistakes? If only we could have a government that looked after the best interests of all of us and not just the greedy few and big business interests. The green revolution can bring huge benefits to us all, not drive us further into debt and impoverishment.
On the local front, I am more determined than ever that Babergh continue to give good value for the £3.50 per week that it costs each band D household, (more if you are in a higher band). I think at that rate, along with our BBC radio and TV service provided at a similar cost, we are both really good value for money, it is truly surprising that so much can be done to help and enrich our lives for such a small amount, long may we both continue. The new BDC cabinet will meet for the first time later this month and it is to be hoped that it will carry us forward well throughout this coming year's business and that we continue to make the best decisions that we can during what are difficult times for local government. Our joint local plan is progressing well, albeit slower than we hoped due to its complex nature. This will mean that the local planning authority can once again determine where development can take place and not be bullied by speculators and developers as in the recent past. We are also valiantly keeping up our housing numbers to at least try to fill the voids left by the ever-increasing cost of purchasing and renting on the open market. We can just but pray that the latest hairbrain Thatcherite scheme to flog of our housing association properties does not go any further than a flailing attempt to bolster this dreadful junta's popularity.
While this scheme could work, it would need proper thought, with houses built to replace those sold on a one for one basis, a restriction on massive extensions to keep these houses affordable and a general slowing down of the massive general speculative developer led get rich quick housebuilding that is now beginning to blight our greenbelt.
Hopefully our village and market town shops and services can also survive and prosper into the next economic year and manage to make a reasonable income for their owners and proprietors. Running a business as a self-employed person is a very hard gig as I well know, it could be that with the increased cost of fuel and travel we can all support a higher proportion of local trade which will keep local shops and pubs viable. Also, our post offices that now offer many of the banking services that have been moved out of the rural towns and are within walking distance of most of us. I am sure that Mandy at Monks Eleigh P.O. and Richard at Boxford P.O. will be only too pleased to assist and save you fighting with the wretched computer and chat to you all at the same time.
Please all stay well and try to keep smiling, although things are difficult, we will all get through somehow and I do feel the green shoots of a calm revolution are coming.
Bryn.firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 01787 210854 Mob 07771 508348.
Firstly Budget news is that the District Council is increasing Council tax by 2% this year.
This seems quite small as it only amounts to a rise of £3.40 per year, but bearing in mind that Babergh only keep just under 9% of what we have to collect and others are asking for slightly bigger increases, it is likely that we will all have to bear an overall increase in council tax rates of just over £60.00 per band D households this coming year. Our Budget setting process was made a little more difficult this year by the indecision on whether to cut the free parking offer from three hours down to one hour. It costs the council around £640,000 per annum to run all our car parks, of which £310.000 is business rates levied by government.
There is no such thing as free parking, the costs have to be paid by the user or by all Babergh residents through the Council Tax.
Also please bear in mind that local government receives no central funding from national government whatsoever any more and in the case of Babergh we fund all of our activities and duties with a mixture of your council tax (under 50%) new homes bonus, new business rates. the solar panel investment scheme, CIFCO and other investments and whatever charges that we can make from our services.
At a cost of about £3.50 per week per band D household, I do maintain that your District Council remains good value for money for all that we do and we do not reward failure or award knighthoods to staff or councillors who perform badly, or to those that let us down.
I would also state from personal experience that all our accounts and services are thoroughly audited and to the best of my knowledge all of your hard earned tax is wisely spent and not wasted. Everything that we spend goes through a visible procurement process and in almost all cases we award contracts to local firms and increasingly provide services from in house.
I make no comment whatsoever here about what happens currently at national level.
It has been once again a year largely dominated by the Coronavirus pandemic and we have done well to deal with all the monies sent down from national government to distribute to local businesses and infrastructure and also to keep all our own services functioning and on the road.
We owe a lot here to our very dedicated staff who have had to adapt to periods of home working which has been difficult for some, especially for younger members who were used to working as part of a team.
Councillors have also had to get used to contact and remote meetings and as much as I hate Zoom, it has proved very useful for quick contact and I have adapted well and no longer have to shout you're on mute quite so much. We have made a decision to adopt a version of hybrid working, with many staff able to work from home two or three days a week and many staff and councillors alike conducting meetings and briefings without the need to travel. We are finding that we are in fact increasing productivity this way as well as cutting down on needless travel.
Jacob Rees Mogg has not placed any cards on the desks of our staff and if he had we would no doubt tell him where he could put them.
There has also been a financial benefit as well and we will be giving up about a third of our floorspace at Endeavour house which will bring considerable savings.
Having managed to survive and succeed during the pandemic, we are now facing other challenges. Following on from the need to house a proportion of the Afghan refugees we are now with others across Suffolk working to house many fleeing from the Russian ravages of Ukraine. Around 100 currently have, or are to be housed with host families here in Babergh in the very near future, and we are expecting many more as visas are issued during the oncoming months. We can but hope and pray that they have something and someone to go home to when the carnage and madness is over.
We remain at Babergh/Mid Suffolk, landlord to nearly 4,000 tenants and have increased our housing stock recently, despite the government RTB still being in operation and hemorrhaging many homes each year, we have done this through building more stock on land that we own as well as buying up stock from windfall sites and becoming landlord to them, instead of housing associations.
Despite this we are facing the greatest shortage of housing ever as a local housing authority, this present governments Build, Build, Build policy has done us no favours whatsoever. All it has achieved is cheaper houses for those who already had expensive ones, a greater strain on our public services from an increased number of houses (not necessarily more populous) and an ever increasing demise on our greenbelt and farmland. We just need houses that the next generation and the low waged can actually afford to either buy or just rent to get a roof over their heads.
Our tree for life scheme has once again been a success this year and across Baberghmidsuffolk has attracted over 400 recipients across the area from parents of newborns, we hope that this scheme as well as providing and producing more trees, will raise more awareness amongst communities and the young about climate change and nature.
We have this past year converted our fleet of vehicles to run on HVO (hydrated vegetable oil) to decrease our vehicle emissions very drastically and have tried where possible to install air source heat pumps to our rented properties and Leisure centres. Also almost half our properties were fitted with solar panels back in 2014/15 which earns us about £350,000 per year in FITs as well as providing tenants with cheap power. We are now developing the need for charging points and terminals ready for the demise of the combustion engine and the switch to electric powered cars, with your district council being a leader in this new phase.
I seem to have been very active these past three years as your councillor and will i am sure remain so, in years to come. I have been pleased to support the fight against the 64 houses on the Boxford bypass which is once again coming to committee sometime soon. I have also been quite active in housing and planning matters including the completion and letting to local residents of the four little affordable homes in Groton and I am sure will remain so on many other matters and projects including the development and expansion of Boxford Playingfield.
Concerns for the future are the explosive increases in the cost of all sorts of energy and fuel.
The rapid rise in food and general living costs. The demise of police, dental and mental health services especially in the rural areas, along with the continued pressures on our NHS and its staff and the isolation issues which are being made worse by the near collapse in our rural bus service.
With Best Wishes and Thanks from Cllr Bryn Hurren.
At last we seem to have some clear thought and direction from the Met Police. I am pleased that those who dictate the rules and make the laws that we must obey have been subjected to the same rules themselves. It is regrettable that it took the threat of legal action against the Met police themselves, from a group of lawyers and barristers working mainly for free, to persuade them at last to prosecute those in high places for breaking the law as many of us were prosecuted and fined, often for more minor breaches. We can but hope that the next Met chief is of a stronger and more decisive character than the last one, as we just cannot abide one rule for us and another one for government ministers and their friends, donors and lackeys.
When I was first a parish councillor and school governor, a dear now departed legal friend told me to remember that whatever happened in politics and however high one rises up the political ladder, whenever I looked up the law should always be above me.
I also clearly remember my dear old Dad who had no time for niceties and posh people, saying that the higher the monkey climbed the tree the more it would show off its bottom.
This was his way of saying that those who aspired to high office, would have all their attributes, good and bad in clear view to those left below. Here endeth the lesson.
We can but hope that now we have at last reached this point, that we have at least 54 of our MPs in the ruling party ( that's political not more drinking) who will have the courage and backbone to do the right thing and send in their letters to enact the change so desperately needed at the very top, the rank and file Joe public will demand nothing less, after this country suffering the worst ravages, hardship and death rate from the pandemic across Europe.
It will not have escaped those who follow local politics that the Babergh Cabinet that was selected from across the political divide to represent all views and be mainly representative of the way that you all voted is in trouble and has been disbanded.
The past three years have been the best and most successful for your District Council in what have been the most difficult and challenging of times, one of the reasons for this is that councillors have worked hard across the political divide with all councillors feeding ideas and contributions through their political leaders into a hardworking group of members and lead officers to do their best for all our constituents across Babergh.
What we have now is the extremes of the Conservative party, gaining a majority and forcing our council leader John Ward, who is a thoroughly decent man and good leader of the council, to expel another member of the cabinet whose outside views they did not agree with.
Who cares? If he was doing his job properly, and it seems he was, then this is just another shocking political own goal. We have had so many of them nationally, please let's not repeat them locally, the people are more important and they will not forgive us for cocking things up and charging them more council tax for doing so. Our constituents are at breaking point both financially and politically, they will not tolerate such shenanigans.
Coming to local matters, I was quite surprised but proud to be called by a journalist and told that Boxford had been selected as one of the best places to live in a poll of The Times readers.
While happy to give a positive quote and say what makes Boxford such a good place to live, it is, along with everywhere else, not without its problems. In fact, the village throughout the past five or six years has been fighting for it's very identity and future with difficult planning and housing issues, along with other social problems that affect us all.
Hopefully some of the isolation and public transport issues can be worked on and improved in the next year. I have been and will continue trying to highlight and help with these in the coming year and have floated several ideas that could help all my villages throughout the Box Vale area. We desperately need places to safely park cycles at the end of journeys to catch public transport and to visit shops and other attractions, also safe crossings for pedestrians and cyclists across highways to connect with village centres. The national government for once has recognized this and has allocated significant monies to remedy this, alas our ever-failing County Council has failed to land a single penny for the county of Suffolk and its projects. This is despite all our neighboring Counties receiving many £ millions each for their own projects and ambitions. Please let us hope that the devolution bid can be successful and rid us of this outdated political two-tier system with all its cumbersome practices and failings. We desperately also need a change in the way we elect our representatives that continue to fail us at local government level, the same people making the same poor decisions is a recipe for a continuous failing to address the positive environmental and greener issues that we so desperately need. While not being a fan of the extreme tactics of the extinction rebellion movement, I do agree that we have to shout much louder at those who do not want to hear.
Despite the national disgrace of how we should help with the terrible refugee issues, here in Suffolk, Babergh and Box Vale the response has been brilliant and heartfelt with many offers of help and housing coming forward. These have all been forwarded to the relevant agencies and despite the best efforts of the not so Priti Patel, many are now beginning to come through on temporary visas. Many will want to go back home, if there comes a time when they are able, or if there is actually anything left of their country to return to. Also, the many who will be widowed or orphaned, might actually be persuaded to stay and build new lives here to help them forget the atrocities they have suffered and also to help return this once proud nation to the welcoming and multi-cultural society that it once was, before the right-wing politicians, oligarchs, multi-national companies and tax dodging billionaires took it over.
May all your Gods be with you over the current holiday period and those to come.
I hope to see lots of friends at the upcoming Jubilee celebrations which are in every village or a neighbouring one, a good time for the young ones to come out with Mum and Dad and party.
Could be the last chance for a very long time.
Don't forget I will be speaking (if spared and not incarcerated) and reporting at all the village AGMs and will be pleased to speak to anyone on any local or not so local matter.
Much Love and Hope to All. Bryn. XX. email@example.com tel 01787 210854 mob 07771 508348.
As I write this contribution to the BRN, it is now day 18 of Putin's horrific invasion of the free nation and people of Ukraine. We can only wonder at the daily brutality upon the people and bravery of this nation and the seemingly inadequacy of all other nations to help them against this brutal aggressor. I did wonder at the point of our leaving the EU, if this would be a watershed moment and bring an end to the 70 odd years of peace that we had enjoyed as a result of Europe working together as one. While not being perfect I do feel that this amalgamation of many nations ideas and ideals was responsible for such a long stretch of peace in our time that has now been shattered. While the huge financial benefits of the single market and the ability of the free moving labour market was an obvious benefit that has now been lost to us at such a great expense to our pockets and general wellbeing, the safety and peace of our nation along with others as well was paramount in my mind when casting my vote in the referendum.
I do also feel that our present government has some serious questions to answer and much blood on its hands, the mass invasion of some very dubious Russian business folk into the plush areas of our capital and some dubious investments with less than sincere intentions, should not have been encouraged, this along with the flood of money and donations into one of our political parties was a recipe for disaster.
We should also not forget that the alleged Russian interference into our national 2016 referendum has still not been settled and reported upon.
As I remember, although many don't, an enquiry was held into this matter and given in to 10 Downing St for PM and Government scrutiny and has not seen the light of day since, it is probably gathering dust along with Sue Gray's report on lawbreaking and miss goings on, in the now plush and newly refurbished living quarters of the present PM and the current Mrs Boris J.
I just pray that some far-sighted civil servant has kept a copy of these documents for us all to see in the fullness of time and that those in the press who are not of such a right-wing persuasion along with our much valued BBC can be allowed access to these documents to give a fair appraisal sooner rather than later.
Amidst all this horror from abroad and political incompetence and scandal nearer home, it seems almost irrelevant and mundane to report things at the District Council. But here goes.
We have finally agreed a budget at Babergh that shows an increase of 2% which is just 29p per month, this sounds quite small, but when it is considered that BDC is only responsible for about 9% of the total Council Tax and the county and Police and Crime Commissioner are looking for bigger rises, it will all mount up to a yearly increase of about £60.00 on a band D property.
Gone are the days when national government funded the local part of government as well, we now must pay for local services as well as contributing to all the national stuff.
But never mind, Gavin Williamson, who was deemed as the most incompetent minister ever and that must take some doing in this current regime, has just been awarded a knighthood, for what I might ask??? Maybe for services to keeping quiet into the future. Disgraceful.
We are all I hope aware at the council that our housing stock is going to be stretched to beyond breaking point with yet another influx and demand for refugees that need to be housed. We have already stepped successfully up to the plate to house some Afghan refugees and I am sure that we can and will do the same for the lovely bewildered and scathed women and children from Ukraine. I have already been very moved by three genuine offers of help from householders within my Box Vale ward and I am sure this will be repeated across Babergh.
This has very much restored my faith in my fellow man across this area of my beloved Suffolk and beyond and to the future of mankind and that we can somehow get through all this hate.
I just hope that we can somehow continue to help all our local residents as well.
Very difficult times ahead I am afraid, but I and the local District Council will help where we can. There is also the Sudbury CAB, who are part funded by Babergh, who have a magnificent team of volunteers and some full-time staff to assist those in need of help with any financial or legal matter. Also, local Radio can help with local matters, and we are fortunate in having BBC Radio Suffolk who will answer queries and mount a crusade for local folk. Long may that continue.
Please keep as well as you can and please try to attend your local village Annual Parish Meeting.
The dates will be in this magazine or on the local Parish Noticeboard.
All Best Wishes. Bryn. . 01787 210854 mob 07771 508348 firstname.lastname@example.org
From Cllr Bryn Hurren.
One welcome diversion from all that is going on nationally and around us in our daily lives is the Queen's and the nation's celebration of her Platinum Jubilee. That is seventy years of doing what she does for all of us. While not being an avid royalist, I do feel that she has genuinely held this nation together and provided stability during some very difficult times for us and to do that since the age of 25 until 95 is a truly memorable stint on behalf of a nation of all cultures and creeds without favour and never really once putting a foot wrong.
Sometimes recently I have wondered if she would really like more power to influence matters and to correct and punish those who seek to take her subjects for granted, to take advantage and mislead them by telling lies and being deceitful, also to tax them unfairly to the point of hardship, to not always use the taxpayers' hard earned money wisely and use it for their own purposes and indeed truly waste it on self-promoting projects and self-indulgence.
All these thoughts must have been uppermost in my mind, as that night I fell into the most wonderful dream in which our lovely old queen had taken on the mantle of Lewis Carrolls' queen of hearts and was running around Buck house with a sword screaming "Off with his head, off with his head". She finally cornered a blond, thuggish-looking buffoon in the servants' quarters, stuffed a rolled up copy of the Sue Gray report into his mouth and metered out the most severest punishment to him for crimes against her people. At that moment I gazed past her to the lawns of Buck house and espied Hapless Hancock hanging upside down from a tree, where he had obviously been for much more than a half hour, uttering more gibberish than usual, while on the lawn outside the windows the royal corgies were having an impromptu game of croquet with what looked unbelievably like the heads of Gove Raab and Jacob Reece whatsisface, using empty wine bottles marked number ten as makeshift mallets. Truly some lady and definitely one of us I thought.
Long may you rule over us your Majesty.
Regrettably at that moment I was awakened by the alarm to the seven o'clock news and the most terrible nightmare imaginable. It was reported across several news bulletins that our government had wasted over £9.9 billion on PPE that was either unsuitable for use by the NHS or in many cases not suitable for any use, is unrecyclable, will have to be destroyed by burning and is costing us the taxpayer £500.000 a day to store. Also, that most of the supply contracts were fast tracked down a so-called VIP lane to companies with no previous track record in this field or expertise, apart from being Tory party donors and friends. In fact, it is unlikely that we will ever know the true cost of this taxpayer funded feeding frenzy for the friends and associates of government ministers.
The Department of health's annual report has revealed that of every £13.00 we spent on protection for our nurses and care staff £10.00 was completely wasted. How long can hard working and honest taxpayers continue to carry this heavy burden of this governments waste and sleaze. We now all need help, compassion and honesty from those elected to govern us.
We can only speculate what this amount of money had it been correctly allocated and used would have provided us with. Maybe the building of two much needed specialist new hospitals along with the training of staff to man them and a decent living wage as a reward for all our hero nurses, care workers and junior doctors who have borne the brunt of the pandemic.
Just one billion would have done wonders for our ever-failing public transport system. In our rural area busses are now even more rare than NHS dentists. Another similar amount could have eased the terrible food, heating and housing poverty that is now endemic across our land.
Our foodbanks and those that volunteer and run them are at breaking point and the wonderful CAB, are doing their very best to cope with the ever increasing numbers that seek their help and councilling, on matters such as rent arrears, unpaid bills and general debt.
We can but speculate about what might have been, but all these incidents must be remembered and acted upon at the next election and those responsible removed from office.
I do not say any of these things for any political gain, as that is of no interest to me after so many years in office, also I have made many friends across all of the political groups and I think gained respect from most of them.
What has angered me so much is the total disrespect for what is right and just, did a majority of our elected MPs really think it was correct to give a green light to the dumping of raw sewerage into our waterways and rivers and why did a majority of them vote to change the strict rules regarding taking money for personal lobbying to get one of their mates off the hook.
Rules that the ordinary man on the street has to obey or risk a jail sentence.
We are truly in unchartered waters and going in a very risky direction.
On more local matters across my ward and indeed all of Babergh and all of Suffolk.
The first item on our agenda is the need for the District Council to set a working budget for 22/23. We are currently looking at a tax increase of approx. 2% on our share of the council tax to take into account the increased cost of wages, materials and consumables that are used in our everyday tasks of running Babergh.
We have saved money on travel and floorspace at our Endeavour House HQ but costs have gone up, mainly due to our increased workload throughout the pandemic.
Babergh, like all other councils get no direct funding from National Government anymore and survive on what we can raise from council tax, new homes bonus, a percentage of new business rates, revenue from investments and the solar panel project along with whatever charges we can make for our services.
Although the District Council collects the council tax for all the authorities, we only keep about 8.5%. Around 80% is allocated to the County Council, just over 9% to the Police and Crime Commissioner and the remaining 1.5% - 2% going to parish and town councils.
I would like to think that although we make some mistakes and are not perfect, we do at the district council respect the taxpayer's money and make sure it is all spent wisely on the services that we provide for our constituents and at the end of each year it is all audited to make sure that this is so. We also have a very strict procurement policy, always ask for multiple tenders for work and use local traders and sources within the boundaries of Baberghmidsuffolk in the first instance and the wider Suffolk area after. Very rarely do we need to look further.
We had returned to virtual meetings, due to the upsurge of the omicron strain of Coronavirus but are now back to face-to-face meetings with some restrictions and sensible precautions.
However, many staff and councillor meetings along with tenants and meetings with members of the public are still being held via Teams and Zoom. This does save money and hopefully we can soon cut down on our hired space at Endeavour House.
Our tree for life initiative to gift a tree to families to plant for a newborn child to grow up with and cherish has gone well again this year and I understand has exceeded the numbers given out last year. This supports our green initiative and hopefully will make the next generation aware of the value and frailty of our planet and eco system and protect it into the future.
We still have serious planning applications to handle and resolve in Boxford and Monks Eleigh, also a planning appeal at Goodlands Farm to address, along with the horrendous parking transgressions throughout the village. I intend to address these very firmly, along with the dreadful housing issues in our general needs housing that have become such a blight throughout our community and on other people's and neighbours' lives as well.
Also, remember that as your district councillor I do have a small amount of locality money that can be allocated to a suitable project within the villages throughout Box Vale Ward.
Happy to answer questions or help in anyway, now and in the future.
Bryn Hurren Councillor for Box Vale. Bryn.email@example.com
Tel 01787 210854 mob 07771 508348
Firstly to let everyone know that the hearing of the controversial planning application at Sandhill, Boxford has still not taken place. It will now be heard on Wednesday 16th February as a virtual meeting with all speakers, consultees and Councillors taking part via their computers.
This is not an ideal solution and is not what I would have wanted, I do feel that something is lost in virtual meetings and it is not so easy to get points across to those that will be making the decision. Having said that, those who will be representing the village will take on this challenge and do their very best to get the viewpoints of the vast majority across to the Councillors charged with having the final say on this long-running application that would change Boxford forever, whichever way it goes. Will we have to accept a massive development without any infrastructure to match, or will we be left to develop the village to accommodate some local needs housing along with some much-needed infrastructure to help school and traffic congestion?
The reason this application is being heard in a remote environment is that the Council has decided through its senior management that the current infection rates from Coronavirus are just too high to risk the spreading of the virus through larger meetings or even gatherings.
While it is a little early to completely understand the long-term effects of the omicron strain that is currently infecting our population at an ever-quickening rate, I do think it is wise to be cautious and bear in mind that many of our residents do have underlying heath issues such as asthma, diabetes and other illnesses that put them at more risk.
The recent revelations of Prime minister, government staff and various other cronies swilling wine and booze in the gardens of 10 Downing St, which is a workplace provided by taxpayers' money, have quite rightly angered all who have a sense of what is right and proper and we can but hope that now proper justice can be handed out and at last the head of this awful junta that has brought such shame on our democracy can be removed quickly to save the nation from any more shame and embarrassment. My favorite book of all time is George Orwell's Animal Farm and the words "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others" has come to a horrible reality with this government of no sense of propriety or little regard to how they are seen by others both nationally and internationally.
In contrast our lovely Queen has obeyed all the rules inflicted upon us with complete dignity and stoicism and has kept her head held high for the nation and indeed all of us, while some around her and in government have been losing theirs, regrettably only metaphorically in some cases. What a fine example to us she has been and I hope that the platinum jubilee in June will be able to go ahead and can be used as a way of thanking her for 70 years of service and that villages and villagers will come together to mark the occasion and maybe create something to remember the occasion into the future.
My main council duty at the moment, apart from representing every person in the six villages that make up Box Vale, is to help set the budget for 22/23 which is becoming ever harder. The district council does not receive any direct government grant anymore and must carry out all of its' roles, many of which are statutory with funding raised from your Council Tax, new homes bonuses, some charges on services that we are allowed to make, income from our solar panels project and income from investments that we have managed to make in better times.
The council Tax is likely to have to rise yet again by 2-3% which is inevitable and although it will be portrayed as only the cost of a cup of coffee per week, it is still a rise upon every other rise that we all must bear now and one that will send many into more desperation and debt. Also, the homeless situation across the land including this area is becoming ever more desperate and something that Councils will have to handle.
The overall Council Tax, although collected by the District Council (Babergh) has to be split approx. between County Council (80%) Police (10%) Babergh (9%) and Parish Councils (1-2%)
As the current chair of the Audit Committee, I can give every assurance that your money is accounted for and spent wisely and recorded as such.
In May/April most of the Annual Parish Meetings in all the villages are taking place. This is a good chance to hear reports from the Parish Council as well as all the other local bodies and organisations and for the public to ask questions. Any person can turn up to take part to float an idea or to ask a question which will be answered on the evening or later.
These meetings are for the public to attend, and all are welcome.
Have a great year and I hope that the end is better than where we are now, have a good one.
If you need help from your District Councillor, I can be contacted on-
firstname.lastname@example.org 01787 210854 mob. 07771 508348
from Cllr Bryn Hurren.
Firstly, massive thanks to all who have worked so hard during this past year to keep us safe in so many ways. This applies particularly to GPs and local surgeries, along with the whole of our wonderful NHS, possibly the best example ever for devotion to duty and dedication to service without the pay and rewards they deserve. Also, to those who have volunteered themselves to help with the mass vaccination of almost our entire population, a huge task carried out with humour and friendly banter mixed with a stoic dedication. Every soul helping with this task deserves our thanks and gratitude.
Regarding the year ahead I am truly fearful of what levels our government will sink to next. I do not really think partying in groups and seemingly to be laughing and sniggering at the rest of us who try to obey the rules to protect ourselves and loved ones is the main issue here.
What is so frightening is the lurch to extreme right-wing politics and the total disregard for all that is democratic, right and fair and in the best interest of all of our population, young and old. The awarding of huge contracts to friends and allies without due diligence, along with the deceit and mistruths to justify shocking decisions has brought our once great country down to a level never seen before in my lifetime. Both home and abroad, the episode of an M.P. taking regular bungs to lobby colleagues is against the law at any level and the attempt by the political leader to change the rules to allow him to do so, was so shameful and shambolic that I believe it has opened many eyes and made many ordinary folk mistrusting of politics in general.
Governments should lead by good example for the whole nation to proudly follow, especially the next generation of entrepreneurs, teachers, artisans, medical staff and all of us ordinary folk who are doing our best to just about manage to get by.
While comedians and cartoonists are having a free script written for them by the shambolic behavior of those who have somehow been elected to top jobs and those that spinelessly vote to keep them there, our place on the world stage has sunk to ridicule and disbelief.
There are many good people across the political spectrum and if our top layer of professional career politicians can be removed, along with the right wing press that promote them and keep them there, for their own financial advantage and gain, the vacuum created would allow genuine people to come through the ranks, as recent by elections have shown.
My words at the close of last year in this column, predicting that if you elect a clown, we will end up with a circus has very regrettably become a horrible reality and very true.
Back to local issues, many of the BRN readers will know that the battle lines are finally drawn for one of the biggest decisions that the fantastic village and villagers of Boxford have ever been involved in. I refer of course to whether the 64 houses proposed by a private developer, encouraged by the government Build, Build, Build policy will go ahead at last, without any designated local housing or any meaningful infrastructure to help our medieval highways or village school, or whether the parish council and the vast majority of the villagers' views will prevail and we will as we have always done during my 22 yrs as your Babergh Councillor be allowed to build a mix of houses to fill a genuine local need and some basic infrastructure to help our deficient highway structure and local school facilities, namely a much needed car park.
We have had the latest site meeting and for the first time I felt that the assembled councillors actually took notice of the points raised by myself and the PC representative.
The full planning meeting to decide the very future of our village is likely to take place in January or very early February. As always, I will be doing my very best to represent the sensible way forward.
As always I would encourage everyone throughout the six villages that I represent to try to shop locally first, it is really surprising what little businesses have popped up during the last couple of years, everything from homemade cakes to clothes and so much more besides in our villages and two local market towns, as well as many pubs and restaurants providing fine food and dining opportunities, and "oh yes it is" the lovely Quay Theatre in Sudbury presenting puss in Boots as their Panto this year. Also, our local Post Offices in Boxford, Polstead, Stoke by Nayland and Monks Eleigh providing around 90% of the services that banks, when we had such things, used to. If we do our best to support local services, they will be there still when we need them most.
Was not really in the mood for Christmas this year, but will go to a couple of the local church services with Mrs. Bryn to remind ourselves what the celebration is really all about, will let some of my remaining hair down for the new year, which I hope will bring a realization that it is down to us at the coal face to get the revolution underway and change things from the bottom to the very top. Would be interested to meet like-minded people and first-time voters to discuss views and a way to change the balance of power at local level. Get in Touch with Me.
Please have a good year during 2022, although we are faced with horrible challenges, many of which are of our own making, I do feel there is light at the end of a dark tunnel and big changes are on the horizon, don't be afraid to get involved, especially if you are young and care about our Country and World. We are looking for a trainee Prime Minister and about three hundred M.P.s, none of the existing incumbents need apply.
All Very Best Wishes. Bryn. XX. email@example.com
01787 210854 mob 07771 508348
From Cllr Bryn Hurren.
One of the highlights of this council year for me occurred during mid-November, when the project officer for the Groton local needs housing project showed me around the new development at Groton St. The houses were a credit to Hastoe, the housing association, who will manage them, and to Rose builders, who have done such an excellent construction job. The houses, although small and unimposing on the outside, were spacious, very warm, well insulated, and well equipped on the inside. The new development is also well provided, with off street parking and garden. There is also a communal open space area for the new occupants, who have already received their keys and had their first introduction to the new properties. Bidding was restricted to applicants with a strong local connection to Groton, and four new residents have been picked who fit the criteria. I am sure that near neighbours and all in the local area will make them very welcome, they will be known to many in the near vicinity anyway. Should they become available for rent again, they will always be offered to those with a previous or current Groton connection and will not be available on the dreaded government Right to Buy scheme which has damaged and depleted our housing stock so very much.
These houses, on offer at an affordable social rent (which is about 60% of the current private rent for the local area) along with Partridge Close, Mill Green View, Stationfield and Fitzgerald Meadow will keep up the local needs stock for the area, giving local folks a chance to find a home that they can afford, enabling them to stay local near family roots and relatives.
I, and other like-minded councillors, have always supported officers in their attempts to build more affordable homes to keep local communities together and thriving, while being conscious of the damage that Thatcher's Right to Buy scheme has done to the available low cost and starter housing numbers. Although we hemorrhage about 20 dwellings per year, we are keeping the Babergh Mid Suffolk rentable housing stock up to just under four thousand dwellings. A truly credible effort to keep providing people with a safe and affordable place to live. Also, the fact that we were able to install solar panels on almost half of these dwellings is providing cheap power to tenants while providing an additional income to the council and contributing to our environmental contribution.
A good time maybe to reflect on how much damage this governments Build, Build, Build policy has done to our green countryside and farming land which will quickly inhibit our ability to support ourselves as a nation. The mass destruction of the countryside and greenbelt land will do nothing to help the housing crisis. We don't need more executive houses, we need smaller green homes in the correct places to support communities and provide homes and employment to those that really need them.
This policy has just made £billions for greedy developers and left the countryside scarred and damaged with infrastructure including roads and sewerage unable to cope with the onslaught.
The Council, despite the difficult times, has continued throughout this past year to promote its tree for life initiative. A scheme that entitles any individual, or family, who has had a newborn between the first day of January 21 and the last day of December 21, to apply for their own tree to plant in their garden or a public space. It is hoped that this will encourage families and children to be aware of our precious natural environment and the contribution that trees make as they grow up alongside them. This offer is also available to those who have had the misfortune to lose a child during this year, and therefore the tree will stand as memoriam to their loss.
With the environment itself finally making the headlines that it long ago should have, we can but pray that it continues to do so and that those who are, at this time, elected to lead us, show more clear thinking than those did recently during the sewage debate. One when the majority of our elected M.P.s were truly caught on the wrong side of the fence with their collective pants down. The discharge of raw sewage on 400,000 occasions into our rivers, waterways and seas is not an acceptable situation for public health and utter shame on any MP who thought it was. Thankfully, the upper chamber of the lords smelt something is not as it should be, and our shocking current government, who have more than egg on their faces, have been forced to think again due to the outpouring public outcry.
Anyone who has strong feelings about this disgraceful situation, do feel free to lobby your MP and stir this up a little. As always, I am doing my very best.
It used to be that local MPs stood up for the best collective interests of their constituents and protected them, now it seems that the herd follows bad leadership down some very slippery slopes. Shame on them. This has also shown up during the recent sleaze debate where the exchange of monies and outright corruption is finally taking its toll on Joe Publics' patience.
We can but hope that at last enough elected representatives at every level will stand up for the masses of genuine hard-working citizens just getting on with life and contributing as best they can. It is time that control was taken back from those who just to want gain for themselves.
Surely, we have enough sensible people across all political groups to do that and spare us the final death throes and struggles of this current ruling government/junta.
As always everyone, please keep safe and well, oh and I have not mentioned the C word, which this year should stand for Care, Compassion and Consideration. Bryn.
Bryn.firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 01787 210854 mob 07771 508348.
As all will have noticed we are fast racing through autumn into a winter that could bring much worry and concern to all. Although we are getting back to some sort of normal due to the success of the vaccine roll out and the brilliant efforts of our dedicated and fantastic NHS and all who work to protect and keep our way of life stable, safe, and supported, we are in fact seeing the highest rise in cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began. While it seems that many are suspicious of the vaccines and possible side effects, I would point out that as far as I know while no vaccinated person has yet grown two heads or suffered long term, I do know many who have been seriously affected by the virus and even passed away, so I think it is best to follow the science, get the jabs offered and encourage those in our care and all others young and old to do the same.
With what is going on nationally regarding shortage of certain commodities and the ability to transport them around to where they will be needed, it will be imperative that we have as many fit people around to man the pumps and help out where needed. Also, we need this virus gone so that our vital services can concentrate on all the other health and wellbeing issues that we will have to contend with in the coming winter months and through to next year. Please follow the advice and wear a facemask in close company of others and if going to the local disco or partying, try to keep some distance and sanitize both before and after. Or just stay away.
We will also have to brace ourselves for much financial change and maybe hardship, with some utility charges rising sharply by up to 50%, food prices also rising steeply and becoming difficult to source, along with rents and rates also due to increase, we are moving into very difficult times, especially for young families and the low waged who sometimes do the most essential work in our society. Coupled with our falling down rapidly amongst the elite of the word stage and seeming distrust from other nations, especially former allies, we have a lot of ground to make up and trust to earn.
At the time of the referendum it was said on the side of a bus that we would be £350 million per week better off if we left the EU and went on our own, and that money would be given to the NHS. The latest analysis carried out by independent financial people, much cleverer than me, state that as a nation we are already in fact £450 million worse off per week, this to my simple calculations means that we are £800 million worse of per week that we were promised, which would be disastrous for any business however large, and will be crippling for our nation for a generation and affect all of us, apart from the very wealthy. We are all of us going to have to dig very deep to recover from such a catastrophic blunder in the short term and maybe for much longer as well. As is often the case, I am sure much of the financial burden will fall on those most unable to bear it.
Nearer to home and focusing on things that are in my power to have an influence on, we are told that the impending cutting of the free time for parking has been put on hold due to a cabinet reshuffle that this councillor had no say in. It seems that the conservative contingent elected in Babergh are having a scrap amongst themselves again and have influenced the original decision that the increased cost in running our car parks should be shared equally between the car users and from general taxation of us all. Maybe these councillors' time would have been better spent in lobbying Westminster to not inflict the outrageous business rates of £242.000.00 per annum upon Babergh which is what has caused the problem. Car parks are not a business in Babergh but a valuable stimulant to the local economy and should not be used as a revenue raiser by the current government at all. Shame on them all.
We have already started the budget process at Babergh for 22/23 and once again it will be very difficult to do all that we can for all of our constituents with a very limited income and without any government grant, but we will try and as usual I am sure we will largely succeed.
As the chair of the Audit and Standards function, it will fall to me and my committee to make sure that every penny spent is accountable and used in the correct way and also our assets and financial ventures bring in every bit of income that it is possible to do. In local government we are more regulated than ever before despite what those that regulate us do themselves.
I am as always trying to be as optimistic about our national situation as I can be but I think I owe it to everyone to be completely honest about the situation we have been plunged into, also to let everyone know the stark truth of our difficult future.
We also have to hope and pray that the environmental conference being held in Glasgow brings forth some meaningful change of direction on the climate change situation, otherwise we will all be in even more trouble. The ongoing change to the weather and general ability of our planet to support us as a species is now under serious threat and has gone beyond being easily retrievable, but with sacrifices by all nations, we can still keep our planet sustainable for mankind for a good few generations and ease the suffering for our children and grandkids but we have to act now and set an example to others to catch up. This will be our biggest challenge ever.
Please as keep as safe as you are able and remember your neighbours, wherever they might be.
01787 210854. Mob 07771 508348.
Firstly, can I through these pages express a profound hope that as we enter even more uncertain and uncomfortable times that shoppers and buyers in general do not panic buy and hoard food and other goods. If we are all sensible, buy just what we need and share equally with others, we will have enough food and general supplies to go around us all. Please remember that a family on a low wage are now not even "just about managing". (Remember Theresa May, where is she now, referring to JAM?) Living with someone who works in the retail sector is not easy when she comes home and asks why certain people who she does not normally see in our local shop need so much toilet paper and cans of baked beans, could the two be connected I wonder? The worst effects of a hard Brexit and leaving the single market are yet to come and will affect us all in differing ways but mainly in having to pay higher prices and having to eat other things when we cannot buy what we want when we want it. Despite this we all must accept a decision has been made however bad for us and misguided it was for the vast majority. It is important that we all learn from this and hopefully fight back to establish better involvement in local and national politics and elect more open minded and capable representatives who support and speak for usall, not those who stand to gain most for themselves supported by spineless lapdogs who regard politics as a career not a calling to do public service for all citizens and country.
On a similar subject, I have been studying the end of the career of Angela Merkel who has just come to the end of her 18yr stint as Chancellor of Germany. During those 18yrs she has led 80 million people with skill, dedication and sincerity, in those 18yrs, no transgressions were recorded and she did not appoint any of her relatives or friends to prominent posts or reward them in any way. What a magnificent lady and a true example of a great leader. Regardless of whatever one thinks of her politics she has certainly led her country by example and with total dedication, not for her the trappings of her position and she has sacrificed so much and sought to gain nothing for herself, her family, her colleagues, her friends, and above all party and business associates. When asked by a journalist why she always wore the same suit and dress, she replied "I am a civil servant not a model". She is a true example of humbleness and dedication to her whole country and all its people; she still lives in her same basic apartment which she did before she became Chancellor and owns no other dwellings and has taken no bungs or donations from lobbyists or party members. She shares domestic duties with her husband with equal divides between cooking and household chores, she shops, he puts out the bins in the street from the apartment where they live, she has no second home, only access to various state buildings for civic purposes. What an example, when she left office her countries' people across all divides came out on the streets and applauded her for six minutes across the whole of all the once divided and ravaged state of Germany. Should it not be like that everywhere???
Nearer to home and closer to all my efforts for local residents, Babergh has won a national awardfor helping and enhancing the lives of residents during the ongoing pandemic and also with our efforts in developing a virtual high street in our local market towns. This can never replace the experience of an actual visit and a virtual cup of coffee never tastes quite the same but in dire times the survival of our retail, manufacturing, agricultural and hospitality outlets are of vital strategic importance to us all in building back all the blocks of a strong economy and a good lifestyle in general. I am not a fan of awards but in this case they are well deserved by our staff and those Councillors who have worked hard to achieve good outcomes.
I was not so comfortable with the proposed cabinet decision on the introduction of parking charges after the first 30 minutes which remained a free parking period for all users of our council owned car parks. After a very untidy scrap at one meeting when I was part of the revolt against the original cabinet decision a compromise was reached to keep an hour free of charge to support the businesses which I am sure will be of benefit to our high streets and keeps the 'just popping to the shops to buy a few bits' going. The big problem we have at the council is that now the government levies business rates on our car parks to the tune of just over £190,000.00 per annum, the money has to be found from somewhere and it was decided that the motoristsparking their cars should pay a little more for longer time parking rather than be levied against the general ratepayer who may not even have or use a car to shop. It is difficult to argue against that scenario. These charges will not now be levied until January 2022 which will give a little more recovery time for existing and new start up business's
Even nearer to home, the four little houses in Groton Street are nearing completion and will be ready to let to Groton residents or those with a strong connection to the village sometime in this coming autumn with occupation to the first tenants sometime hopefully in late November, a really wonderful scheme promoted by the PC in conjunction with myself and BDC and supported by the vast majority of local villagers who realise the need for local affordable housing to keep villages and local communities together, strong and inclusive for first time households to get a foothold on the housing ladder.
It is with great pride I can announce that the national women's cycle race is once again coming to Suffolk and indeed to my ward on 9th October. It will come through our area from Sudbury through Little Waldingfield and down the B115 on the outskirts of Brent Eleigh, through the main street of Monks Eleigh and on to Chelsworth. Street parking will be prohibited along the route for safety reasons but various businesses along the way will hopefully provide parking, refreshments and a vantage point to watch all the competitors come through. Well worth making the effort to watch.
Please all keep safe and well and smiling if you can. We still have much to celebrate and hopefully the revolution is coming.
If you need your local Councillor, I can be contacted at email@example.com or tel. 01787 210854. Mob 07771 508348. Text preferred.
I am writing this report from the Holiday Inn in Runcorn, having taken ourselves off for a little city break in Liverpool and the surrounding area, having worked an average 70 hr six or seven day week for most of the past eighteen months I thought that we deserved a break and that the batteries needed a little charge.
Liverpool is one of the very few remaining large towns or cities in the UK that I have not visited and I am impressed, the streets and parks are mainly clean and litter free, most of the buildings around the old dock area have been converted into sensible business space and housing and the new housing estates have incorporated smaller houses for first time buyers and renters. The people of this city seem proud of their maritime and musical history and have come so far through the pandemic with resolution and fortitude ready to take on the next stage of what the future may hold for them. At the end of our bus and walking tour, our guide announced that there were no conservative councillors on the city council and the Sun (the newspaper that is) was banned from the city. This place sounds like utopia to me.
Nearer to home we have had the official opening of the newly rebuilt Hadleigh swimming pool and along with the newly revamped Kingfisher leisure centre in Sudbury will provide some of the most up to date and safe leisure complexes in the east of England, a proud achievement for a small rural council.
I hope that these facilities can remain open now, as running them without paying customers to achieve an income and break even financially has not been easy.
The council has also been working hard in its own right and by partnering with others to build more affordable homes, the recent opening of the 18 new houses for local village need in Lavenham is a good milestone and could be accomplished in a larger village like Boxford where there is once again a growing need, having been told that the cost of buying a house has risen by over 50% in the last ten years, we have to do something to keep local people living locally.
Our housing team at the council who have worked so tirelessly over the length of the pandemic to keep tenants safe and in their houses and people without houses off the streets have been nominated and shortlisted for a national housing award which will be much deserved and, whether they win or not, still a great honour.
We are all hoping, I am sure, that we are moving now into a more positive and safer future, this could be on the horizon but like tall mountains we will have many more troughs and peaks to scale to come out the other side. The government's mixed messages, backtracking and Roy of the Rovers approach by bungling Boris is not serving us well. What a time to have the worst government in living memory and when we eventually get through this we will have the much worse environmental catastrophe to contend with. The fact that jet airliners which pay little or no tax on the vast amounts of fuel they guzzle and discharge into our atmosphere seem to be being encouraged to get airborne again and provide holidays at ridiculous prices does not bode well for our global future, a major rethink is needed here and planting loads of trees to offset the damage just does not work. We must all stay local for holidays, working, banking at our local post offices and shopping if we are going to really combat the ever-increasing climate change that is now coming upon us. Sorry to be a bit gloomy but reality sometimes needs to be addressed.
Oh the Euros, football that is. I thought our team showed great team spirit and worked together as an excellent unit under good leadership to achieve such a positive result and show a good example to others, on unity in adversity and presenting a united front to combat challenges on and off the pitch.
Please stay as positive as you can and look after the young and educate them not to repeat our mistakes.
Bryn. XX. firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 07771 508348
The most exciting and positive event this month has been the arrival of so many migrating birds and the plethora of so much spring life in the form of fledgling birdlife, spring flowers and vegetation, I have counted at least six nests in and around the workshop that have all produced new young that all seem to have made it out into their new world successfully. After what we have been through in the past year or so, it does give us all hope that some sort of normal life is still all around us and we can get pleasure and hope from watching it prosper and flourish.
Another rare visitor that touched down amongst us in Suffolk this month was the great Joe Biden, President of the United States of America, which hopefully will be more united than in the past four years. It was so refreshing to see a real stateman in our country with a real message of hope and a responsible way forward for the world. Maybe he will influence those he brushes shoulders with in the U.K. to think more about the welfare, health and prosperity of all the people in this Un-united Kingdom.
Nearer to home, my request for a site meeting for the 64 mainly unaffordable homes at Sandhill was granted and we await that happening when it is safe to take place, this will be a chance for the elected councillors who will make this decision to see the problems of the highway situation that we have to cope with in Boxford. With the dangers and madness of all forms of traffic and pedestrians sharing the highway space in Swan St and mounting the existing pavement to get through, I do not want to see a repeat of this in Broad and Ellis St.
Any additional development in the village has to come with some infrastructure improvements,Including relief and expansion for our school, not more highway chaos just to satisfy a developer who will pocket their monetary gain and move on to another village and district who have a weak and out of date local plan.
This debacle has to date cost BDC (that's you and myself as taxpayers) £24,538.19.
Following the BDC AGM, I remain as chair of Audit and Standards, the new chair of the planning committee is Glemsford's independent Cllr Stephen Plumb, the new chair of Scrutiny is Mary Maclaren from the peninsular and the new chair of the whole council is Cllr Adrian Osbourne from Sudbury with Kathryn Grandon supporting him from the Vice Chair position.
Elsewhere in my ward it is so nice to at last see the four little houses coming to fruition in Groton, these are genuine local houses for Groton people and will fill a void left by the selling off of our precious council housing stock. They are due to be completed in the early autumn and I hope they will provide a nice warm, economic and safe home for those that are lucky enough to get one. Hopefully we can have a public open day for viewing.
Also in the north part of my ward at Monks Eleigh, BDC has purchased the five local affordable homes on the old school site to add to our stock and to keep up our housing portfolio, once again just for local village people or with village connections to have a home. Hopefully these homes will help with the affordability crisis faced by the young and low waged who do still undertake vital roles in our society.
Have a great summer and enjoy the many local events that are now being held in our villages, these are mostly to raise much needed funds for organisations that all need our help and will make a valuable contribution to our village way of life. Also please try to support local businesses throughout our area, if we all use our shops and local businesses a little, they will prosper and survive to be there when the snow falls, when fuel is scarce or unaffordable or when the next pandemic comes upon us. Or maybe we just want to chat and mix with others in our community. Every mile that we do not travel is helping our aim to be carbon neutral.
Here's hoping that England are still in the Euros when you read this. Hopefully Sir Marcus Rashford can do as much for our national football team as he did for all our children and students in their time of need. Come on, in the net.
All Very Best Wishes to All. Bryn. XX. Bryn.email@example.com 210854 07771 508348.
The month of May has seen as predicted a return to some normality in my Council Duties with the first meeting of the Audit and Standards committee being a guinea pig for how things will be done with an actual meeting taking place in the Council chamber, while practicing social distancing. By the time you read this it will have taken place with serving Councillors on one side of the chamber and the chairman (myself) and officers providing reports and information on the other. All our meetings now are on u tube (whatever that is) and you can now view Councillors at work and in this case making sure that your money is used wisely and for the purpose it was intended. While our national government is plagued with allegations of mis-appropriation of our money and allegations of inappropriate lobbying, bungs and contracts awarded to friends and supporters, I can absolutely assure all constituents that this does not happen at this local level and never will do on my watch.
As I write this, I am also preparing for the next planning meeting which will have featured the latest application from Catesby homes to build 64 homes on good arable farmland above Sandhill. I will have spoken strongly against it again to convince the planning committee to refuse this application which is so wrong for Boxford as it will not provide any local needs affordable homes for the village, it cannot be connected to the village with footways or safe access for vehicles and does not provide anywhere for cars to park in the center of the village or any expansion to our excellent school. Just more extended traffic chaos and a promise to bus more of our village schoolchildren to other schools which the developer is prepared to pay for as a bribe for planning gain, all this in the middle of a declared climate emergency when we are encouraged to stay local and use vehicles less.
This application goes against everything that is in the Boxford Neighbourhood Plan and if passed will negate what can be done to expand and enhance village facilities.
Expansion of the village and good planning should be done in consultation with the local population, not forced upon it against their will and to their disadvantage.
The month will have been completed with the Babergh AGM on 25th May and will bring some changes to positions and roles of Councillors I am sure. I would hope for stability as during the pandemic Babergh has worked tirelessly and risen well to all the many challenges thrown at us. Nearer to home, many of the local Parish Councils have vacancies for a local councillor and if anyone reading this think they could play a role in local democracy, please get in touch.
Finally, a great big thank you to all of the 1043 people who supported myself in the County Council elections on 6th May, not quite enough to get me over the line this time.
I will continue to represent you on the District for the next two years but all highway, social and educational matters will need to be directed to the incumbent.
For all other matters I will of course continue to serve you all as diligently as always.
Please take care in these difficult times and smile and laugh as much as you can as more difficult times for the working families and individuals are around the corner. Bryn. XX.
Bryn.firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 01787 210854 Mob. 07771 50
This past month has been a time of hope, future planning and reflection for staff and councillors alike. As Coronavirus cases continue to fall and level off, we are all hoping that we are through the worst and that we can start to plan for a more positive future.
We are due to return to working and meeting at our Ipswich HQ at the end of May and although this may be delayed or just a partial return, it will at least bring some normality and stability to our working and democratic responsibilities.
All of us are going to have to have safety for ourselves and others at the front of our minds and get used to practicing a different way of life, with public safety always at the front of our minds.
As I am sure everybody is now aware, we have a full slate of local elections across the county
on Thursday 6th May. Suffolk will be asked to choose who should represent them at County level and who should be the serving Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk. Please everyone do come out to vote on this day as at local level it does make a difference and as your local County representative lives amongst you, he or she can be approached and hopefully will be accountable, approachable and will get things done for you. The village halls will be properly and safely manned and socially distanced voting will be practiced. If you have applied for a postal vote, the ballot paper will be with you now. Please exercise your precious right to vote.
We must protect our right to a free vote and openness and democracy at all levels.
Some stunning news for Boxford is that the planning permission for 64 houses at Sandhill has been quashed at the high court and I am so proud that I was a part of this fightback against an atrocious decision and must pay tribute to Boxford's Parish Council members and helpers all around the village who have worked tirelessly and unflinchingly to see that good planning procedures are upheld. We must now all make sure that Boxford continues to fight bad planning proposals into the future and that future development provides vital infrastructure for our school, business's and for all the rest of us to move around the village in safety.
I am not against development that provides local homes for local people along with genuine benefits for local residents, and will continue to work hard to achieve that.
I am very much against random development against policy purely for monetary gain by callous developers without proper consultation or recourse to local needs and feelings.
On a final note, please try to attend your local parish AGMs, this is where your views and ideas can be heard and followed up by local, district and county representatives who will all be there to listen and hopefully act upon your views and any grumbles that you have. I am sure that your elected reps will also be pleased to receive compliments for their genuine hard work as well.
Please everyone stay happy and safe and buoyant for a good future.
The sun is getting warmer to herald in a good growing season of crops and hope.
Bryn.email@example.com 01787 210854 mob 07771 508348
Firstly, I would like to wish everyone an increasingly better new year than the one that has just ended. We must all now hope that as the weather warms and the daylight lengthens that the hope and health of all across this area in which we live and the nation as a whole brightens also.
As I speak to people across my ward and district it is becoming very apparent that this third lockdown is weighing very heavy on some shoulders and it is difficult to keep spirits up and positive. This is especially true of parents who are thrown into more home schooling and the young who in some cases are becoming more than a little bewildered.
We must now all hope that the new vaccines bring hope and safety to our vulnerable and frontline workers who have been the real heroes in keeping us safe, also to the many thousands of volunteers who have done so much to see that everybody has an adequate supply of food and medicines to pull them through this frightening time.
I am sorry that my last month's bulletin, which was quite a departure from the norm, was rather cut down in size due to space and time constraints, not because, I am assured, of the angry things that I said. The full report can be read on the Babergh/South Suffolk Lib Dem website along with many other interesting reports and 184 very interesting commentary letters written by another Boxford resident who is much cleverer than I am.( see https://www.dearjames.uk/)
This is also a good time for all who care about the direction this country is taking to make their voices heard, we will, despite all common sense views that we should not, be having County Council and Police and Crime commissioner elections this year despite concerns for the safety of voters and those who have to man polling stations and count the votes at a communal and centralized public building.
The elections will despite all these concerns take place on May 6th at all the usual Village Hall locations as in previous Local Elections. The rules of campaigning have changed in that the government have decreed that no candidate will be allowed to personally deliver leaflets or meet with electors due to the current lockdown rules which will make it very difficult for any but established councillors to have a chance to introduce themselves or run any sort of meaningful campaign or to hear the views of the electorate. While I fully understand the need at the moment, that we should not do anything that just possibly might spread the dreadful virus, if it is not safe to campaign and meet the electorate then maybe we should not be holding these elections at this time, especially in such a restricted manner. Is this the beginning of a very downward slippery slope?
If you care about your country, the place you live, the future of our next generation, environmental issues and protection of our wildlife, how we care for our senior citizens and frontline workers and reimburse them for their dedication and how we are seen by the rest of Europe and indeed the world, then now is a good time to get involved and demand a fairer deal for so many who work so hard for so little reward. Maybe we should all cast our votes for a candidate who represents those views.
A fairer tax system without waste and favouring associates and colleagues would be a very good start with more responsibility and less evasion. We need a democracy not a "chumocracy."
In my view this current government of so little talent is turning our lovely country into a shameless haven for the very rich who are getting richer at the expense of the rest of us who just want a fair deal, a job, good schooling and a nice home to be safe in with our loved ones.
At this time I should also remind everybody that the ten year census is to be held on 21st March. By the time you read this the awareness campaign will be in full flow with television ads etc. The first of these will be a postcard through every household door followed by an invitation letter with a unique code sent out in early in March, this will invite every citizen to fill in the census via the internet or use the form to post back a paper version.
The census has been carried out periodically since it was first instigated by William 1st in 1086. His findings went on to form the basis of the doomsday Book and was used for tax, housing and welfare purposes much as it is today. The findings are strictly confidential and are used by the office of National Statistics to formulate policy and are not shared with any other agency at all and only released into the public domain after 100yrs have passed by.
Once again I would question if this is the correct time to carry out the census, with so many of us working and living in different ways and with our students either back living at home, or permanently living in student halls and digs. I am told that the experts will calculate and make allowances for our different way of life at the moment, we can but hope that this Government do not use the same algorithums that were used for GCE exam results. We cannot afford another shambles and U turn on something so important.
For those who forget or seem unwilling to comply and fill in the census, reminders will be sent out promptly soon after census day, along with visits from census officials and anyone who still does not comply is liable for a fine of £1,000.00. Please take this seriously and try to complete the census on the due day.
We also at this time have some quite serious issues at my own council and we seem to be making the press headlines for all the wrong reasons much to this councillor's embarrassment. Why do some elected councillors get above their station and look for a high horse to ride on.
I refer to the local planning issues and the annual furore over the proposed car parking charges which I have always been opposed to. While car parking in our two major towns has to be managed it should not be used as a revenue source. I feel that modest charges for long time parking above two hours is reasonable to cover the cost of maintenance, upkeep and the horrendous business rates of £193,000.00 inflicted on us by the government is acceptable, but our car parks are there to help shops and businesses to trade and facilitate ease for customers to pick up goods and shop. Not as a milk cow to go to for additional revenue.
On a very positive note the refurbishments to our leisure centers and swimming pools in Hadleigh and Sudbury are either complete or nearing so and they will both be open for public participation as soon as restrictions allow. Both are brilliant facilities and local enough for everyone to get to without traveling long distances. Let us hope that we can all enjoy them for many years to come. It has been a struggle to keep them open during lockdown without paying customers, but worthwhile l hope. Please try to support them when allowed, they make a strong contribution to our fitness and mental health, so important to us all as we come through and out of this horrible pandemic.
We have also made the decision for strong environmental reasons to change the fuel intake of all our refuse vehicles to a more refined mixture of hydrated vegetable oil which is now coming onto the market as an alternative to diesel. This change will cut our emissions by up to 90%, it will also help us to reach zero carbon emissions by 2030 which is the council's aim. Although there is a considerable cost to this, we can invest some of the C.I.L. monies received from developers to provide infrastructure within our district to pay for all of it. There will also be a not inconsiderable saving on fuel costs and also long-term engine maintenance, along with a great benefit to the air that we breathe which will also benefit the lungs of our planet.
Finally I would like to express my shock and sympathy to the Kench family for the loss of Dear Eddie, to whose newsletter I am contributing to. Since its conception to its present format just over 20 yrs ago, it has been one of the best local magazines around, largely to his drive and initiative. It has kept us all informed and has been vital in our local economy with it's business ads and directory and also in times of crisis such as now. Long may it continue and go from strength to strength as I am sure it will. Watch this Space.
Please all stay well and look forward to the better times that can come if we initiate them.
My Very Best Wishes. Bryn. XX. firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 07771 508348. 01787 210854.
From Cllr Bryn Hurren. Chair of Babergh Lib Dems.
At this time of year I would like to wish that everybody has as good a Christmas as they can and if we do one thing it is that we should remember those that are alone over this festive period, also those who are short of the normal basic necessities of life like food, money, warm clothing and having a job to go to.
We should also look to and thank those in key roles and public services who have kept us all as safe as they can over this worrying period, if we have learnt one lesson it should be that it is these workers, often on quite low salaries, who are the real heroes of our society.
I would also like to pay tribute to all the members of my six Parish Councils who have continued to meet regularly throughout the Coronavirus outbreak and make decisions on behalf of all of us, keep the bills paid and see that parish matters run as well as they can for all of us. They have also well supported me in my battles with bureaucracy and poor decision making further up the national government chain. Local Government has risen to the challenge of helping as many residents as it can during this year and has largely succeeded in giving grants to local businesses and bill breaks where applicable to make sure that not one single person is evicted and forced to live on the street and also that those who were living on the streets are now adequately housed. Also, that everyone has had a means of putting some food on the table, even if as in a few cases they have crept out in the darkness to take what they need, given what can be spared by others, from local foodbanks across the Babergh District.
While local democracy and governance has been a revelation, national government certainly has not. Never in my lifetime has so much time been lost in achieving so little by those who know so little and yet have taken so much.
This surely has not gone unnoticed by so many who now feel shocked, humiliated and embarrassed at what our so called leaders have done to this once great country which I fear will now have a long period in the world wilderness with little chance to sit at any world table.
As I have said before if you elect clowns to high office you will surely just get a circus.
This coming year will surely be an economic shocker with mass unemployment, the hemorrhaging of business from these shores, a decline in our agriculture and severe rises in prices for our food and basic necessities. We will locally have to dig very deep to maintain our local services, support our vulnerable residents and just get by until stability returns, which could take a very long time, maybe even a generation.
How did we get here you may well ask, a weak Labour party with an unelectable leader certainly contributed to this, although their manifesto was certainly no worse than previous Labour governments and quite mild compared to other European states, it was a sitting duck for the horrendous right wing press, the ghastly ERG and the beer swilling Farrage mob who held images of Corbyn up as some sort of Bogeyman to frighten the voters into electing something far worse, a miserable version of Bluekip with all the competence and capabilities of a Boa constrictor squeezing the very lifeblood out of our democracy, values and constitution.
Our own party the Liberal Democrats suffered a similar fate at the hands of the same mob at the previous election when all our achievements as a partner in the coalition in raising the threshold at which we pay income tax, thereby putting valuable money into the hands of the lowest wage earners and taking so many out of poverty, along with our huge drive on environmental progress and the substantial move towards solar power and the wind farms in the North Sea (instigated by our own Ed Davy), the move to regular pension increases for our elderly, more support for education and the initiation of breakfast clubs for our children which once again helped our poorer and less well-salaried families. Despite getting 90% of policies correct we tripped ourselves up with the student tuition fees which is now held up as the only thing we achieved during that time and getting into bed with the Tories to bring in austerity, we have also been unfairly characterised by the right wing press and unjustly castigated.
We now have to work hard to convince our electorate that a vote for the Lib Dems is not wasted and that we will rise again and not give our opponents a chance to knife us in the back for their own gain. Now could be a great chance for us as the catastrophe of Brexit crashes around the Billy Bunter figure of the devil may care Boris with his cavalier attitude riding the high seas and taking us all to the cliff edge of right wing greed and insanity.
We must above all see that the Tories own this catastrophe which is all of their own making and remind people that there were many other ways to take the nation and the best was to remain within the E.U. with all its advantages and security or at least to be able to have organized an orderly exit with a strong deal and an orderly way forward among friends, not to have cast ourselves off into a financial wilderness at the mercy of an ever-increasing assault from the powers of an unfriendly China and Russia. Thank God that Boris lookalike Trump is hopefully on his way out of the White House, giving hope to a more reasonable sort of presidency on that side of the Atlantic.
The cavalry coming over the horizon could be the new vaccines which will give us hope in tackling the horrendous Coronavirus pandemic and keep us safe to tackle all the other problems coming up fast. I do feel that the increasing interest in politics and just getting involved by younger people will bode us well and bring us some environmental benefits and common sense, why destroy the planet that we call our home? Also, the common sense non-political stance taken by a young Marcus Rashford was a joy to see, not that he had much opposition to his cause as his opponent was as usual whacking the ball repeatedly into his own net.
I am truly sorry that this Christmas message is so terribly damming from your glass half full Councillor and constituency chairman, but we are going to have to dig very deep in 2021 to make up for the incompetence, greed and lack of backbone of others. If ever there was a need for a national government of all the best talents to take us forward it is now.
I will of course work as hard as ever to win my battles and to make sure that the best decisions are taken on your behalf which will not necessarily be political ones but common sense ones for the benefit of all, not just the privileged few. Nationally we now have two million people on the Council house waiting lists including 85,000 young people trying to start out in life with a first- time home. We have a terrible affordability crisis in our housing sector along with poor and non-existing infrastructure, our NHS services are underfunded and at breaking point and the care of our senior citizens is expensive, unaffordable and lamentable. Add to that we now have 2,000 foodbanks across the U.K. and it is estimated that by the end of this winter an additional 672,905 people will become unable to afford essentials such as food. If ever there was a time for all sensible people to get involved and call out the Conservative party and it's allies for what they are and have brought about for the rest of us, it has to be now.
All of that should keep me busy for next year and if anybody is able to help me on all my crusades or wants to get involved then please do get in touch.
Best wishes to all and have as good a Christmas as you are able.
And, of course, a rebellious new year against all that is wrong with our society.
Bryn.email@example.com tel. 07771 508348. Or 01787 210854.
Firstly a special plea to everyone to be extra careful as we move into the next horrible phase of this dreadful pandemic, although last week Babergh recorded the lowest infection figures of any Council district in England and Wales, this week our infection rates have doubled and we are now the worst in Suffolk. We should remember that 99.94% of us are completely well and we are relatively still doing so well in the fight against Coronavirus, however this is not a time to be complacent but a time to be more vigilant to keep it that way as like a bad smell it will creep in any way that it is allowed. There is no doubt that travel and mixing with others in larger groups and gatherings is the way that this disease is spread more widely. Please be mindful of others as well because most young and strong people recover, but some will not. We have lost 59 souls in Babergh to this dreadful disease and this could more than double by Christmas if we are not mindful of the risks.
At Babergh, Councilors and staff alike are working very hard to give good local leadership and governance and a strong case has been made for more decisions to be made at a local level, we cannot make up for all the mixed messages and horrendous decisions coming from Whitehall but we are making a strong effort to keep everything on an even keel. I feel that at the moment our very democracy is at stake, it is good that we still have some journalists and the magnificent BBC that practice honest journalism and tell us truthfully what is going on and ask the questions that need to be asked. Long may they continue to be allowed to tell us straight true information without bending it into a political brainwash. We in this corner of Suffolk are not silly at all.
Our housing teams at Babergh continue to strive to hold on to and expand our rental housing stock for the benefit of our local communities, we have recently secured a deal for 45 new build houses in Sudbury to help lower income house hunters, this is part of our multi-million pound investment in council housing across our district with more genuine affordable homes to follow.
It is my firm belief that rather than having a housing crisis across our area, we in fact have an affordability crisis with first timers priced out of our over inflated housing market and unable to get a foot on the housing ladder for either rent or buy, this is also reflected when older citizens try to downsize but are unable to find suitably sized houses or bungalows to move to. Building 4/5 bed boxes at inflated prices across green fields and village edges is definitely not the answer.
Some good news is that Babergh-midsuffolk recently bid for and were granted £100.000.00. grant to keep some who fall off the edge and become homeless off the streets. So easy to do with unemployment and redundancies reaching an all time high.
More good news for the area is that the old Phillips Avent site in Glemsford which was used for the production of baby and infant products and formally employed 400 local people has been bought by the GCB group who manufacture and produce a range of cocoa products for distribution overseas and the home market, they will initially employ around 100 local people but they are already talking to our planning and business teams with regard to expansion.
This will make Suffolk a major centre for the production of drinks and beverages from Beer to cider and now cocoa, with global warming now accelerating at an alarming pace will we soon be growing the beans here in Suffolk!
At our recent much delayed Babergh AGM Cllr Kathryn Grandon was elected our Chairman for a second term in recognition of the fine job she has done in turbulent circumstances and all other current chairs were elected for the rest of the current financial year up to April 21, this includes myself as joint chair of Audit and Standards across the two districts, not an enviable task at this present time but I can assure everyone that all of your money is used as well as I can make it and any waste is picked up and redirected to a better use. Our tendering and procurement is nearly faultless and our audit trail is transparent. I will admit that we do still have a way to go on some aspects of what we do, but compared to national government who seem to be breaking many of the rules that previous governments set up pertaining to openness and transparency in the awarding of contracts and spending our hard earned money, we are streets ahead and open about all we do. Despite this they regulate local councils and punish us if we make any mistakes. One law for one etc etc.
I can also say that in my eighteen months of office the Councilors who serve across our two districts have behaved and acquitted themselves with credit across our communities.
We are getting near a different Christmas than we have ever had before at this moment, but hopefully we will all come out the other side with care and credit and wiser towards those not so fortunate as ourselves.
Keep Safe, Sane and Optimistic for a good future. Bryn. . Bryn.firstname.lastname@example.org 07771 508348 01787 210854
By Councillor Bryn Hurren
am writing this report while listening to Ipswich Town's first home league match of the season which seems so strange as I would normally be listening and watching from the stands.
This will be just one of the many changes in all our lives that we will have to handle and come to terms with along with a more cautious way of living and engaging with friends and others. The biggest change for myself is the lack of personal engagement which I miss and the new remote engagement with constituents and council officers alike which does work well but just takes some getting used to, it can also be harder to get a point of view across or to always judge how sincere another person is without seeing the whites of their eyes.
While I personally have always been largely non political in my council role I am finding it ever more increasingly difficult to do so in the face of such deteriorating standards from our government who seem to be ever more inept and unable to show leadership, competence or even a modicum of humility or common sense. What ever has happened to our proud country and the democracy that we used to value so highly? It is a fool who blunders on despite scenes of mayhem and increasing dissent and I feel so sorry for my many friends who are silenced in total disbelief at what we as a nation have become.
On a local and district level, I have to try to concentrate on seeing that Babergh council continue to do the best job that they can and to somehow serve the people who need our services and dedication. Unlike national government we are not allowed to run a deficit budget and we have to count every penny and would not dare to squander and waste money on false promises and sub-standard products and white elephants. Also, our standards are regulated well and quickly called out if we fall short in any way. Such a difference and breath of fresh air.
Planning and development are still at the forefront of all our minds as we try to get to grips with the new government white paper which could see the number of required houses to be built in Babergh almost double. If these were to be local houses for local people it might be welcomed, but large houses for highest bidders worries me greatly and will be difficult to fit in.
Another worry is the lack of real attention to our environment and global warming which is now reaching the point of no return, while easy to preach and for individuals to live differently, it has to come from the top to make real decisions to secure any sort of secure and comfortable future for us on this planet.
All very frightening I know but please all help me to make these points to those that represent us at a higher level. Our M.P.'s and even government ministers are all contactable at the House of Commons for everyone to make their voices heard.
May all your Gods be with you whoever he or she may be. Bryn.
Email email@example.com 01787 210854. Mob 07771 508348
By Cllr Bryn Hurren.
At last some signs that life and work are returning to some sort of normality across the
Babergh District. Having said that life can never be the same and I hope that we can
learn to live a little differently with minimal overseas travel and much more local
shopping and trading to boost the local economy which will help to keep us safer and
bring big environmental rewards. We have a long way to go to ensure that the world we
leave our children and grandchildren is as fit for them to live in as it has been for us.
At the Council all staff and Councilors are still working from home or from hubs within
the District to ensure minimal contact and spread of the virus and it seems this will
remain the case until at least the end of this year. On Tuesday I chaired the latest Audit
and Standards committee which looks at the retrospective budget to see that all your
money has been spent and invested as wisely as it can possibly be, also we look at all
the risks for the future that we can, to make sure that we continue to run and provide
value for money services for you into the future and that none of your money is wasted.
I feel that I can say honestly that this is the case with every penny accounted for and
spent on just what it should be and audited every step of the way as it should and has to
This seems to be in total contrast with national government where never before has so
much money been wasted by so few on so many catastrophic failed projects. Is it the
politicians or the new Civil Servants who used to be so diligent that are failing us so
Maybe somebody with a bigger calculator and a better brain than myself can total it all
up, starting from the contract to run a port, awarded to a new firm who had no ships,
right up to the recent contract for masks which turned out to be not fit for purpose and
unusable (£150m wasted on that one). Several pints in the White Hart can be awarded
for that one, or even a nice meal for someone who can write it all down for me and even
begin to explain how they get away with it. Remember it is our money for generations
ahead that is being squandered and it will be today's students that will have to pay for
all this government's mistakes and maladministration, although it seems that from the
latest exam fiasco that only "posh and wealthy" kids will get to go college and university
at all. Just imagine how incompetent a class of ex Eton scholars would be in
government, just doesn't bear thinking about does it!!!
It could be that the statesperson who comes forward to lead this country out of our self
made disaster will come from a poor ethnic under-privileged background. Bring it on.
Babergh are once again running our tree for life scheme which entitles every family with
a newborn child during 2020 to apply for a sapling tree to plant at their home or at
another place of their choice for them to then see grow into a fine specimen along with
their offspring. As well as making the child aware of the environment, the tree will also
be part of nature's lungs and will combat pollution into our future lives. We are also
pressing on with big refurbishments to our leisure centers at Hadleigh and Sudbury with
the massive overhaul at the Kingfisher swimming pool completed in time for most of the
summer holidays remaining. Self-distancing measures in place but please contact for a
On the downside we are still suffering from fly-tipping across the district and especially
around this local area, a variety of building materials, paint and electrical equipment
were deposited along Wash Ln this week but were cleared up very promptly by our man
with a van upon request, this is a very good service but we should not have to be doing
it when we have so much else to do and the cost is increasing. Please everyone be
vigilant and report reg number of vans driving along remote places usually very early or
late in the day.
Please stay Safe, Happy, Busy, Kind to each other and Sane. Our future will be what
we make it.
Bryn.firstname.lastname@example.org 01787 210854. Mob 07771 508348
From Bryn Hurren
While life may seem to be returning to something that resembles a bit more like normal it really is not and may never be again. It is up to us all to be careful, for ourselves and especially for others, who although presenting themselves with a brave face may have vulnerability and underlying health problems which will put them in danger from the dreadful coronavirus.
At the Council we have adopted the slogan Stick with It Suffolk to try to distance ourselves from the rather mixed messages coming from central government and I do think this has worked better and has established more than a little local pride. Politics has become more about money for the privileged few and less about the well-being of everyone else who are just trying to bring up their families and survive in their own world. As well as praising our fantastic N.H.S., which should be fought for with every breath we have against any form of privatization, government sell offs and underhand interference, we must also thank and remember our key workers who have manned shops and facilities, made deliveries and many others too many to list who have worked to keep our life as normal as possible while we have adjusted our lives to cope with our very much changed circumstances. I would hope and urge that we can continue to support those local businesses that have stayed with it to feed and supply us in difficult times and build up a future for them as well. Local is definitely best and doesn't use gallons of fuel and create pollution to get there.
Although unsung and often maligned our own Babergh Council Staff have gone many extra (virtual) miles to keep services running and food and help to the needy and isolated.
With the deep cleansing and opening of public toilets we now have most of our services up and running again and most of our staff are back where they should be apart from those needed to distribute the Government business help and support money which has been so vital.
On the down-side we are having ever-increasing reports of scams and various criminal activity mainly through pestering phone calls and the usual email try-ons. If it doesn't seem right and too good to be true, then it probably is just that. Please alert Suffolk Trading Standards if worried.
Just as bad as this is the roadside dumping of rubbish that so degrades our countryside and villages, while the fast food chuck-outs have not been so visible in the last four months during lock down, the constant dumping of fridges and tires in lay-bys and ditches has remained a constant pain and expense for our man with a van (x2) who have put in long hours to pick up what they can upon reports coming in. This is we think mainly commercial waste coming from over the district border and will only be brought to a halt by the public being vigilant and reporting dumping incidents near where they live and possible vehicle sightings and reg No.s, so that the police can be brought in to seek convictions. email@example.com to report.
Finally as many will now know the application for 64 homes at Sandhill, Boxford was approved for outline planning permission on 17th June despite total village opposition and good representations against such a massive estate attached to the edge of the village on good quality farming land on the edge of the conservation area. It seems the present Government obsession to Build, Build, Build has finally cowed our planning committee, who are disillusioned by the bullying tactics of the planning inspectors who follow the government guidelines into giving in and no longer supporting common sense and local concerns. This is the first major battle that I have lost on your behalf in 21 yrs as your councillor and it has taken me a little while to come to terms with what has happened and the detrimental effect it will have on Boxford and the local villages. Despite the planning office press release promising benefits, apart from five acres of green space on the edge of the estate there are no other gains from this huge build out into our countryside.
On the downside,
Whatever has happened to democracy and common sense, we are being governed by idiots.
If anyone has any advice or solutions to any of the above, or ways to fight this crazy decision please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01787 210854 mob 07771 508348
We are miles away from being anywhere near back to normal yet and will not be so for a long time into the future. With this in mind, we should all remain more careful than ever before not to spread the virus and be responsible for severe illness and even death to others. While such muddled messages and failed predictions and targets continue to come from national government, I would urge all residents to observe strict distancing rules themselves and not to engage in any multiple gatherings which could spread the virus further. To date there has been 154 reported cases of Coronavirus across Babergh which is the lowest in Suffolk. While this is a testament to the hard work of our local Councils, alongside the many volunteers who we have engaged and encouraged to come forward and of course to all those that have remained apart from their families, friends and colleagues, it is still not the time to be complacent.
There has now been an announcement that the distance rules will be relaxed to one metre to help us come back to a more normal way of life and working and to support commerce and businesses. Please be very careful how to interpret those rules and respect those amongst us who still feel vulnerable. We are going to have even bigger challenges to fight in the coming months and years and every citizen of the U.K. will be needed to come together with common aims and ambitions for the challenges ahead. Stick with it Suffolk.
At the District Council we are now trying so hard to move to a recovery phase and I hope that all the local businesses that have been helped by the government money and furlough schemes will come back stronger and more determined than ever to succeed and that they will all be supported by those that need them. If this crisis has taught us anything it should be that local is best and although sometimes the cost is a little higher the benefit of being part of the community and the saving of fuel and time far outweighs this. Also, the environmental gain of less pollution in our air and skies is so important to our very survival on this little planet. Babergh council can also take a lead in these matters and although money is going to be so crucial we are determined to help and encourage in any way that we can, the fact that we are the only District Council in Suffolk that is not politically run gives us a huge advantage because all parties work together for a common aim which is for the benefit of our constituents.
As many of you will have now heard the speculative outline application for 64 houses at Sandhill has been passed by the Babergh planning committee despite total opposition from myself, the Parish Council and as far as I can see everybody else in the village. Despite the cynical press release from our office this development will not bring any benefits to the village or the good folks of Boxford. The 22 affordable homes will not be for locals but for general needs which could be anybody within most of the Anglian region, while I am a great supporter of local needs housing having now enabled over 50 dwellings for our own village inhabitants and young and older families alike, I do not think that bringing in families from other villages and away from their families and support system is a good thing at all. While the five acres of open space is to be welcomed it will have to be maintained and a good regime of maintenance put in place, also the much publicised piece of land for a community building could become a white elephant or just another house if the village cannot find a use for it or the monies to build it. The main reason I opposed this so strongly is our poor infrastructure with our highways and lack of development opportunities to help and enhance our primary school which was something that we were working on with the village plan which could have provided some space for a car park, an area for a school extension and a safe walkway down into the village. All these plans have rather been shot to pieces by our planners who seem to be looking at bowing down to national politics and not considering the long term future of Boxford at all. We will See.
This was my first experience of a virtual meeting and it was excruciating with very little thought to democracy and enabled the planning officers to be brought in to cancel out anything sensible said by the local speakers who know the village and its issues so well. I also have upcoming virtual meetings of financial and audit committees to attend which I will do from my own home. While preferring the face to face style of local government, I will have to learn to practice what I preach and embrace the digital age for the sake of the overall good of the environment and mankind in general. Also, now most of my parishes have plans for or have had a virtual meeting to progress budgets, highway and planning issues, the public in all cases can join these meetings remotely and will be given access upon contacting the clerk for their parish.
Please keep well everybody and keep happy and smiling. Despite what is going on we have so much to be grateful and thankful for. If most of us shared 10% of what we have with others less fortunate we would still have more than enough.
email@example.com Tel 01787 210854 Mob. 07771 508348
The circumstances that the Council and the general population are having to deal with at this present time are the most traumatic of all our lives so far with dramatic repercussions. While our brilliant, fearless N.H.S. and other medical teams are stepping up to deal and defend us against the ever increasing outbreaks of the awful Coronavirus it is sad to know that they have been so let down by the short supply of medicines, ventilators and the personal protection equipment that they so need for their own safety. It is an absolute disgrace that those who protect us are sent into battle so poorly equipped. If any lessons are to be learnt from this, it must be that our country deserves a properly funded National Health Service with taxpayers' money ringfenced to achieve just this. Also, just maybe our national politicians should be refused entry to our hospitals at election time for their photo opportunities to make yet more hollow promises and grinning buffoon-like pictures across our ghastly right-wing tabloids.
Having said that I can honestly say that my own Babergh Council have risen to the challenge and I am truly proud of our officers and staff who are on duty seven days a week, we are still doing most of our day job and keeping up with our refuse collections apart from the Brown Bin collection which will be resumed as soon as staff and lorries become available. We have also made some super-human efforts to get all our homeless and displaced residents into permanent accommodation and out of danger for themselves and others. Housing does and will remain a priority for the council into the future and hopefully after this is all in the past and along with my wish for proper and adequate funding for the NHS there will also be a return to proper funding for our local District Councils who are best placed to deal with the sort of situation that we are in now.
Adversity certainly brings out different reactions from across our region with the best and worst traits being on display, in the main it has all been very positive, with groups across our villages being set up to look after people who are alone or self-isolating, the Boxford Community Hub has been quite amazing and so effective in bringing much needed supplies, help and comfort to so many. They have spread their wings a little further than at first intended and have helped people from further afield than our core area, also even the smaller villages of Milden and Brent Eleigh have organised themselves very quickly with lists of those who might be more vulnerable and a network of others who can organise and deliver help.
I should also like to give a massive shout out to those who are manning our local shops and food stores who are working so hard to see that we are all kept supplied with provisions. Special thanks and Three Cheers must go to the staff and proprietors of Assington Farm shop, Boxford Post office and Stores and the Community Shop in Monks Eleigh who are all delivering food supplies into our villages with a small army of dedicated volunteers. Please remember that our lovely local shops and businesses are here for us all year round not just for pandemics.
I will continue to post updates of Babergh Council and other activities on all the relevant Facebook Noticeboards across my ward and god willing will remain active and well to answer any personal requests that you might have. Bryn.firstname.lastname@example.org or just Tel 01787 210854. Mob. 07771 508348.
Stay well and Safe for the Future.
Firstly, great news that the Neighbourhood Plan group are making good strides in Boxford to write, and have adopted in planning law, a plan that will help set and seal the future development of the village. This plan once adopted by public vote will help steer the future of Boxford for a generation and maybe even longer. This project has taken on greater urgency than ever because as more and more villages adopt their own local plans for the future of their villages, it means that developers, especially those who achieve permissions for clients and then move on, tend to focus on villages who do not have the benefit of plans deciding their own future. Because our plan will last so far into the future it will need to take into account a different way of living, more environmentally friendly I hope, and have provision for homes for sheltered and disabled living as well as more schooling and provision for vehicles (electric) and parking. It will also need proper safe footways and walking areas away from vehicles of all kinds along with infrastructure and business's to cater for our everyday needs and recreation. Our village will look entirely different in 50 years time and we should leave a legacy for those people to live happily as we have done in the time we have lived here.
Bus services are high on my agenda again, after the debacle of the ludicrous changes to the school transport provision, the fallout from which is still going on, we now have the continuing cuts to our rural transport services, mainly buses that serve our outlying villages and get residents to work, medical appointments and keep rural communities connected. It is ironic that with Mental Health so high on the agenda at the moment we are all being driven to despair at how hard live is becoming for those less able to thrive and cope with modern day living and contribute in a meaningful way. Even the fantastic C.A.B. who help with so many of these issues have had their funding scythed by the County Council so that they are less able to deal with the after effects of that same councils decisions.
Across my ward most other things are going well with the normal raft of planning applications being well dealt with by the relevant Parish Councils and financial budgets being put in place for the new financial year starting in early April. All Council tax rates are going to rise around 3% across the whole of Suffolk which is very bad news for all of us, although I have to say that I think that the District Council at least is still good value for money for the services it provides. If you do not feel that, then please come to your local parish meetings and tell me why you disagree and I will try to justify my opinion or do something about it, if I feel you have a justified complaint.
All Best Wishes for the spring and believe me I am trying to keep all our roads swept although it may not look like it after Ceira and Dennis have passed through.