Parish Council Role
Cockfield Parish Council represents the first tier of local government and is responsible for the administration of the parish.
By an Act of Parliament it is authorised to raise and spend public money in the parish. This is called the precept and is collected through the District Council as part of Council Tax.
The Council has 9 members, elected every four years, and is supported by a Clerk who is the officer in law and the financial officer.
The Parish Council meets in the Village Hall ten times a year at 7.30 pm on the last Thursday of every month except August and December. Members of the public are very welcome to attend and to speak on any matters of concern.
These meetings are attended by the Suffolk County Council member, the Babergh District Council member and a representative of the Police.
The Parish Council owns and is responsible for:
- Great Green
- Parsonage Green
- Cross Green
- Earl’s Meadow
- Bruff’s Line
- The Cemetery
- The War Memorial
- The Cricket Pavilion on Great Green
- The children’s playground and equipment on Great Green
- The pond on Great Green
- Bus Shelters
- The Village Sign
The Parish Council acts as the consultee for all planning applications in the village. It is responsible for the planting and maintenance of trees in public spaces, the maintenance of footpaths and liaising with Suffolk County Council on Highways matters, snow clearance when necessary, and dog fouling. It keeps a watchful eye on other services which may affect parishioners.
From time to time it conducts surveys, with the help of other bodies, to assess needs, with particular reference to affordable and local needs housing.
The Council is a member of the Suffolk Association of Local Councils and sends delegates to quarterly and other meetings. Members attend various training sessions which are arranged by SALC.
An Annual Parish Meeting is held at which the Parish Council, the County Councillor, the District Councillor and the Police together with representatives of the various village organisations give their reports.
As of May 2015:
Derek Southgate (Chairman)
Carl Brinkley (Vice-Chairman)
The Clerk to the Council: Doug Reed
Or write to:
Cockfield Parish Council
Bury St. Edmunds
Suffolk IP30 9DY
Tel: 01359 241009
|Greens Management Group||Cllr Brinkley (Chairman)|
|(including play equipment maintenance)||Cllr Morley|
|Local Needs Housing and Section 106/CIL Funding Group||Cllr Morley (Chairman)|
|Planning Consultation Group||Cllr Morley (Chairman)|
|Pavilion Management Group||Cllr Southgate (Chairman)|
|Representatives to External Bodies|
|Suffolk Association of Local Councils (SALC)||Cllr Cutting-Keyton|
|Village Hall Management Committee||Cllr Morley|
|Babergh DC Town and Parish Liaison Meetings||Cllr Cutting-Keyton|
|United Charities: Trustees||Cllr Morgan|
|Emergency Services||Cllr Cutting-Keyton|
|Tree Wardens||Cllr Morley|
|Dog Warden||Cllr Ruffell|
|Highways and Emergencies Officer||Cllr Portwood|
|Litter Warden||Cllr Cutting-Keyton|
|Press Officer||Cllr Portwood|
|Finance Councillor||Cllr Turner|
|Earl's Meadow/||Cllr Williams|
|Glebe Land||Cllr Morley|
|Cemetery Management||Cllr Morgan|
|Play Equipment Working Group (with the Community Council)||Cllr Southgate|
Chairman’s report for the Annual Parish Meeting 30th April 2015
It has been another busy year for the Parish Council and we have come to the end of the current four year term.
No doubt you are all aware the council is not being contested, as only the nine positions were filled. Therefore there will be no election for the Parish Council on 7th May.
A significant event occurred recently, where our Clerk of eighteen years Mr Morgan took the opportunity to retire. However, he is joining us as a new council member.
Our newly appointed Clerk is Doug Reed who unfortunately cannot attend this evening.
- Police: When operations allow we continue to have a police presence at our meetings. Their message for most of the year was vigilance, as the general locality had suffered from an upsurge in burglaries to “other buildings”.
In a drive for efficiency savings, we have also seen a more general area crime report being produced and not one exclusively to our village.
Whilst we can see why this has been done, members felt to give us comfort, it would be important where possible, to receive more feed back as to whether offenders have been detected and subsequently prosecuted.
The Police representative will provide a separate report this evening.
- Local Needs Housing: Robin Morley has reported throughout the year on progress. A preferred site has been identified supported by both Babergh and Suffolk County Council. We are now working to resolve some highways issues
Our Housing Association Partner Orwell Housing is being very patient and we remain very confident that the needs indentified in our survey can be met.
- Section 106 funded Projects: Robin Morley reported that with staffing changes at Suffolk County Council there are still delays in finalising our purchase of additional railway line / meadow. We do remain positive this will be resolved soon.
With authority we are continuing undertaking some essential maintenance and planting works.
- County and District Councilors Report – both Jenney Anthill and Clive Arthey attend our meetings and give us support from their positions. (They will report separately)
We would thank Clive for facilitating a visit to the Great Blakenham energy from Waste plant. In fact this has a purpose designed visitor centre for engagement with the community which is open to the public, schools etc as a learning opportunity and is well worth the effort to get there.
- Planning: Various planning applications are received by the Council and we deal with these as normal business in accordance with planning guidelines.
Following the adoption of the Babergh Core Strategy we decided to conduct a survey of all households to seek their views on how they saw Cockfield Developing in the next 30 years. The results have been collected and the findings presented to Babergh. These we hope will be used when considered future development and policy.
We were encouraged that villagers considered controlled and modest growth aiding the sustaining of the village facilities and character.
- Financial Matters: Alan Morgan and Ralph Turner have the financial position as usual, under control and they are now working with Doug in a transition period to arrange the necessary documentation to submit for our annual audit by external auditors BDO.
We would thank our Internal Auditor Lyndon Mills for his work to ensure all matters are in order.
The precept has been set and our spending is contained in budget to allow us to deliver the services and facilities through the village as expected by the residents.
- SALC: Janne Cutting attends the regular meetings with a range of speakers and she reports back with enthusiasm any impact on us. Attendance and maybe enthusiasm from other Parishes does continue to be sporadic.
- Greens Report: Great Green is in good order. Thanks go to Carl Brinkley and the Football teams for their consideration of the conditions.The football teams are looking to assist by arranging the “spiking” aeration of the Green
We thank Mr Bradnam for his work to keep the trees in a managed and safe condition
Thanks are also in order to those local individuals who work hard to keep all the other greens in excellent presentation.
We thank Mr Hodge for the ongoing use of his mowing equipment and John Boreham who does the perimeter areas around Great Green.
Of course the Mr & Mrs Rose’s efforts do not go unnoticed for their ongoing upkeep of the war memorial area especially after the recent renovation of the stonework.
There is a working group of interested parties including the Parish Council looking into significant improvements to the play area on Great Green and potential for other locations within the village.
- Earls Meadow: The joint project with the Community Council, Rodney Williams and his work groups keep up the good work in this area which I am sure he will update you in his own report.
- Parish Paths: Ralph Turner aided by various volunteers keep the footpaths open and marked.
The Abbey Path being one with higher usage is always a priority and Mrs. Shotbolt has some keen helpers who turn out to keep this clear.
- Cemetery: Rodney Williams and Ralph Turner have again kept the cemetery grounds in excellent condition despite as ever challenging weather conditions.
- Pavilion: Unfortunately the refurbishment of the Pavilion has not progressed as expected. However, we have worked throughout the year to advance this and we are now working with a Sport England Framework contractor.
We would thank our funding providers for their continued support during this time.
Final negations on the scheme and budget should allow works to start around 18th May. An absolute deadline has been given to the contractor of 1st August to complete. This will allow the decoration works to take place that the community must undertake as part of the funding arrangement. This will then be ready for the annual “Billy Buckle” Football Tournament.
I would like to thank the football club for their attending the recent working group meetings and to work with us going forward.
- Highways: Rod Portwood has regular meetings with Steve Merry Council Highway Department As ever Highways has a limited budget but preparation work has taken place in readiness for the surface dressing of Howe Lane.
We are aware that Quality issues have occurred now that works are sub contracted out. Unfortunately this may be the case with this early work in Howe Lane and we are pursuing this to obtain a better long term quality solution.
The work to improve and provide a better bus stop facility for east bound services at Mill Corner is in hand and we thank Mr Hodge who is offing a small piece of land on which to locate the new stop / shelter.
- Emergency planning: Cockfield has an Emergency plan lodged with County and associated agencies. There was no particular incident or weather event to further test it this year.
- Please note we will be entering the Village of the year competition as we meet the criteria for this year. I would like to thank Mrs Cuting-Keyton who will lead our entry and ask the village organisations for contribution in this.
- Finally I would like to thank all the Councilors for their work during the year and we are looking forward to the challenges for the next four years.
Derek Southgate – (Chairman)
Cockfield Planning & Development Survey Report
In June 2014 Cockfield Parish Council conducted a survey of all households in the Parish, to canvass the opinion of residents regarding growth and development over the period to 2031.
The analysis of the survey responses and the conclusions drawn are presented in a report which can be viewed or downloaded here:
The results of the survey have been lodged with Babergh District Council (our local Planning Authority) and will be held for reference when considering future planning applications.
Over the past year we have received national news coverage of significant isolation and disruption to communities all over the UK as a result of severe flooding and snowfalls. Locally we have seen disruption caused by industrial and domestic fires.
Fortunately Cockfield has escaped the worst effects of these events, but the continuing news stories remind us of our need to be prepared in case it happens here as well!
Generally, the emergency services, supported by the Local Authority and other agencies, manage and control the response, but clearly there will be times when their resources are stretched and unable to provide immediate support and local self help may be required.
Community Emergency Plans are intended to help local communities prepare for emergencies in a way that complements and supports the emergency services and other agencies in their responses and, more locally, to enable our own community, if isolated, to think about how we can pull together.
In conjunction with the District Council Emergency Planning Officers, Cockfield Parish Council has produced an Emergency Plan for our village.
The objective is to identify potential problems, for example not only flooding (not a major risk in our village) and heavy snow falls, but also extended power cuts, other extreme weather effects or other events that may leave us isolated and temporarily vulnerable, and to see what resources, skills and equipment could be made available locally to help in emergency situations. We are also keen to identify people or areas particularly at risk so that we can focus help where it is most needed.
We have an Emergency Co-ordinator and we have divided the village into six areas, each of which has its own Area Emergency Co-ordinator who will act as a link between the community and the Co-ordinator. We have identified a number of people who have volunteered their services in the event of an emergency, but we still need the help of everyone in coming forward and volunteering their particular skills which could be helpful in an emergency situation, be it emergency, trade or voluntary work skills, ownership and proficient users of off roaders / 4x4s, chain saws, lifting gear or generators and so on, or simply those who are prepared to look out for their more vulnerable neighbours.
The Emergency Plan has been lodged with the Suffolk Joint Emergency Planning Team and we will ‘go live’ in the near future and communicate details to the village.