- Introduction: It has been another busy year for the Parish Council with the work load and administration process forever expanding. Our Clerk Steve Ball manages to keep his sanity with the flurry of emails that land every day from District and Country councils.
In April we expressed our thanks to Barbara Ruffell and Rod Portwood who retired from the Council. The remaining members were returned un-opposed for the next 4 year term with no election being held due to the overall lack of candidates.
At our first meeting we welcomed Ian Levett as a new councilor and will subsequently be looking to co-opt the one remaining vacancy.
- County and District Councilor: The Parish Council thank both Clive Arthey and Robert Linsey for their endeavors in representing the village at the District and County Council level.
Clive was also nominated by the Parish Council in the national LGIU awards for 2018.
In early May we were joined by Margret Mayberry as our new joint district councilor for the Lavenham ward in which Cockfield is now situated in, following the electoral boundary reviews.
Despite all the good work the Parish Council at times do become frustrated at the apparent inefficiency of these organizations which no doubt is accentuated by the ever-increasing pressures on finances and resources.
- Emergency Services: Cockfield continues to be a relatively safe and secure environment and consequently we see emergency service resources being deployed to more demanding locations. Although a key initiative the village has taken on, is to raise awareness of vehicle speeding and road safety issues. Ralph Turner and Rodney Williams rotate the location of two mobile speed activated signs, which feedback indicates is much appreciated around the village. To this end we are looking to provide a further device to increase visibility in more areas simultaneously.
Further safety signage is being looked into to be installed at Great Green to warn of the play area.
Another safety driven feature relates to SCC’s significant reduction in verge cutting. Therefore, the village is progressing this ourselves with an approved contractor. This is now with the full support of SCC!
- Local Needs Housing: The Council, represented by Robin Morley, are still stakeholders in the overall team delivering the development and reports in Green Links keep residents informed of progress. Orwell Housing are now in possession of the land and site works will commence towards the later part of the year.
- Planning: We still see a high level of planning applications and more recently appeals. As statutory consultees this does demand a high proportion of time to make our consistent and considered responses. Regrettably we find BDMDC planning department do not always align with our thoughts.
- Financial Matters: Of course, these building developments, do generate Community Infrastructure Levy funding to the village (Parish CIL) which is to be used on village projects and we are currently exploring where this could be best used.
Vigorously encouraged by Clive Arthey Cockfield has been extremely successful in applying for and securing Babergh CIL 123 funding. This has facilitated the purchase of the Glebe land, amenity land associated with the McKenzie development together with the residual railway line. More recently the repairs and restoration of the Victorian culvert / bridge at Bruffs Line.
During the year, like many villages, we have been able to provide the defibrillator at the village hall and offered training to a large number of people.
We would thank our Internal Auditor Lyndon Mills for his work to ensure all matters are in order prior to examination by our external auditors.
- Greens Report: Great Green is in good order. Thanks go to Carl Brinkley and the Football teams for their consideration of the conditions during the winter which this year has not been so severe.
The drainage problems appear to now be resolved and further work in maintaining the surface with weed control and soil condition is progressing.
As ever thanks go to those hardworking individuals whose efforts keep all the other greens in excellent presentation.
As no doubt villagers will have noted, we have a new village sign carved and installed by a very modest resident, but in recognition of this tremendous effort we are hosting a formal “unveiling” event on the 14th June where we are supporting his charity at the West Suffolk Hospital. Therefore we are asking residents to come along and participate in this event on Parsonage Green.
The two redundant red heritage phone boxes will be renovated during the summer.
- Earls Meadow / Bruffs Line: The joint project with the Community Council, Rodney Williams and his work groups keep up the good work in this area. With the land purchases of the open space at Mackenzie Place, the further stretch of railway and the Glebe Land now reaching completion we are looking at finalising additional management plans for these areas.
- Parish Paths: Ralph Turner reports on the Path situation, this is always challenging with the county council financial resources given to maintenance. There is a continued reliance on local land owners and volunteers to keep paths open and we thank them for their efforts.
Special thanks go to Paul and Jackie Heather for their work in clearing vegetation encroaching on the Howe Lane pathway.
- Cemetery: Rodney Williams and Ralph Turner have again kept the cemetery grounds in excellent condition despite the ever-challenging weather conditions.
- Highways: Roads and pavements continue to deteriorate with minimal attention from Highways engineers as repairs are route hierarchy based We do encourage all residents to report pot holes etc on the council’s web portal as we are informed this will obtain some action. Janne Cutting-Keyton chases up SCC as we did have some items mysteriously disappear from view without being closed out!
Derek Southgate – (Chairman)