The Parish Council met twice in November 2017
The first meeting was an Extraordinary Meeting convened on Tuesday 28th November to review the plans for the development to the north west of Mackenzie Place and prepare a formal response to Babergh District Council. At this meeting the Parish Council was joined by our District and County Councillors and four members of the public.
The Chairman opened proceedings by providing an introduction to the planning application, offering information on how it had come about.
The meeting was then adjourned to permit public discussion and residents took the opportunity to voice a range of concerns about the proposals, including the inadequacy of the 40mph speed limit on the A1141 and fears that the development might result in parking on the same highway. Questions were asked about funding which might accrue to the village from the scheme and about the self-build options proposed. It was stated that housing priority would be accorded to residents from within the community. Details regarding how to register an interest in the self-build plots would be made available through “Green Links”. Other comments highlighted that the exciting nature of the project which would be likely to contribute to the sustainability of the School and local services.
The meeting then reconvened to consider planning application DC/17/05332 – ‘land to the north west of Mackenzie Place – hybrid planning application to seek full planning consent for 42 dwellings plus outline consent for nine self-build plots, including access road, shared surface roads, community open space and footpath connections to existing community meadow’.
Councillors were pleased to note the significant support for the scheme shown during the two public consultation events. They also welcomed the adjustments in the final application which reflected feedback from residents at these events. It was acknowledged that some adverse comments had been submitted to the District Council about the application but accepted that residents were entitled to express their concerns through the planning process. The Council resolved to support the application and agreed a comprehensive response. It was also resolved that, should the application be referred to the Babergh District Council Planning Committee, a representative will attend to present the views of the Parish Council.
The meeting closed with the Chairman expressing thanks to those Councillors and Council employees who have worked on the project and delivered it through to this stage.
The Parish Council met again for it’s Ordinary meeting on Thursday 30th November.
Our County Councillor reported that the Cabinet is proposing changes to the provision of free school buses and that the opposition groups are requesting that this is put out to consultation. If the Cabinet agrees to this request, the consultation period will run from 12 December 2017 to 28 February 2018 and details on how to participate will be made available.
The County is proposing to increase council tax by 5% next year. But despite this, the Council will still be facing a forecast budget gap of £26.85m, and a cuts plan has been drawn up to provide £23.9m worth of savings. The majority of this will come from the Adult Care budget, with a proposed £11m reduction in spending on care purchasing and a £1m saving achieved by cutting the Sheltered Housing Grant.
Our District Councillor advised us that the question of a full merger of Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Councils is now back on the table. In 2011 a proposal for Babergh and Mid Suffolk to merge was the subject of a referendum in 2011, which was supported by a majority of Mid Suffolk residents, but rejected by Babergh. We await developments as to where this will go.
After a bit of delay, Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils have now completed their move to Suffolk County Council headquarters building, Endeavour House, in Ipswich.
During the adjournment for public comment, residents spoke about concerns and raised queries regarding footpaths, traffic calming measures, speeding in the village and play equipment provision which led to considerable discussion with the comments being noted.
The Council agreed to proceed with the purchase of a minibus to replace the current vehicle which is now 16 years old. This purchase will be funded by contributions from Cockfield Community Council, Suffolk County Council and the sale of the current vehicle, in addition to a contribution from the Parish Council. We have received a generous offer to signwrite the vehicle for which we are grateful.
We have received quotations for the renewal of the parish sign (located on Parsonage Green), of which that from a local company is the most competitive. It was agreed to proceed with this project.
The Council agreed to submit a response to the Boundary Commission objecting to its proposal to include Cockfield in a new two member District Council ward centred on Long Melford. The overwhelming view is that if the ward boundaries are to be changed then Cockfield would more naturally fit into a ward with Lavenham.
It was reported that the play equipment on Great Green has been painted and thanks are due to the volunteer who carried out the work.
A report on police matters from September had highlighted two incidents in Cockfield. One of arson in Great Green and the other an incident listed as ‘violence/sexual offence’. No other details were available.
The Vehicle Activated Speed Device has now been received and will be rotated through a number of locations in the village. It is felt that these devices are effective in keeping drivers within the speed limits and, with its facility for recording speeds, it will provide data regarding those areas of the village that may need further attention.
It was reported that the village had signed-up to the Tree Charter which had been launched earlier in the month. As a consequence, it was noted that 14 trees will be made available for Earl’s Meadow.
The next scheduled meeting of the Parish Council will take place on Thursday 25th January, 2018 at 7.30 pm.