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Cllr. Bryn Hurren

Babergh District Council Report NOVEMBER 2020.

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.hurren@babergh.gov.uk 07771 508348 01787 210854

Babergh District Council Report October 2020.

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 bryn.hurren@babergh.gov.uk 01787 210854. Mob 07771 508348

Box Vale District Council Report for September 2020

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
time slot.

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.hurren@babergh.gov.uk 01787 210854. Mob 07771 508348

August 2020 Box Vale Ward District Council Report

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. publicrealm@baberghmidsuffolk.gov.uk 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 bryn.hurren@babergh.gov.uk or call 01787 210854 mob 07771 508348

July 2020. Box Vale Ward Council Report

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.

bryn.hurren@babergh.gov.uk Tel 01787 210854 Mob. 07771 508348

April 2020 Box Vale Ward Council Report

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.hurren@babergh.gov.uk or just Tel 01787 210854. Mob. 07771 508348.

Stay well and Safe for the Future.

March 2020 Report from Councillor Bryn Hurren

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.