The Council met on 22 February
The Councillors were joined by District Councillor Clive Arthey, County Councillor Robert Lindsay, eight members of the public and the Clerk Doug Reed.
County Councillor Lindsay answered questions from councillors who were angry and disappointed at the very poor performance of Suffolk Highways in the village. Basic services were not being delivered while, at the same time, the County Council seemed unwilling to help or facilitate the Parish Council to undertake relevant tasks itself, such as the cutting of verges. Cllr Lindsay was asked to invite Cllr Jane Storey, as Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Rural Issues, to the next Parish Council meeting to discuss matters further.
Councillor Lindsay went on to express his concerns about Budget cuts £12m cuts to Adult Care – at a time when the budget is already very stretched. £20,000 cut to Citizens Advice. £150,000 rural bus subsidy cuts. I am concerned that this will target some of our most vulnerable residents and increase rural isolation. There is currently no more information on which services could be affected by this cut but I will keep you updated.
Suffolk’s plan to borrow £21m for three years of road resurfacing. The plan only accounts for a quarter of the Suffolk road network. Meantime the Council are planning to cut the highway maintenance budget in 2018-19 including a £300,000 reduction in winter gritting. There is little point in borrowing £21m to patch up Suffolk roads, if the Council are not willing to invest in prevention.
District Councillor Arthey in his report said regarding the District Electoral Review that Babergh were expecting final recommendations by 6th February, but these have been delayed. If the delay is lengthy it might not give enough time for final implementation before next district elections in 2019. He went on to say the 2018-19 Budget Figures for 2018 Council Tax (Band D) are as follows: Suffolk County Council £1242.54 (+5.0%), Suffolk Police £188.82 (+6.8%), Babergh District Council £158.86 (+3.25%)
Cockfield Residents spoke to address concerns about planning applications, focusing especially on those relating to land adjacent to the Plough and Fleece. Issues centred on planning conditions, sewerage, the built-up area boundary, sustainability matters and the need for genuinely affordable homes in the village. Councillors, particularly those on the Planning Consultation Group, acknowledged that the points echoed their own concerns but noted that they also had to be mindful of planning policies in their deliberations. The Chairman emphasised that it was vital that residents submitted their own concerns to Babergh District Council in response to applications.
Defibrillator Provision – Further to a request from residents it was agreed in principle that a defibrillator be acquired for installation at the Village Hall. More information would be sought about the precise device needed (given that it needed to be suitable for children as well as adults) and the costs ahead of a potential decision at the next Council meeting.
Proposed Development at Mackenzie Place Councillor Morley reported that the planning application for Mackenzie Place was due to go before the Planning Committee at Babergh District Council but that no date had yet been confirmed.
Policing Councillor Cutting-Keyton expressed disappointment at the recent information about police matters noting, in particular, that early morning speed checks had apparently been undertaken in the area but that, surprisingly, nobody had been found to be travelling excessively fast. It was hoped that a representative from the Safer Neighbourhood Team would be available to attend the Annual Parish Meeting.
Emergency Planning Councillor Morgan indicated that news about the updated Emergency Plan would be published in “Green Links” (newsletter) in due course.
It was noted that the next Ordinary Meeting of the Council would be held on Thursday 29 March at 7.30pm in Cockfield Village Hall.
Post meeting note:
The Council was informed on the 6th March that the planning application for land adjacent to Mackenzie Place would be going to Planning Committee on 21st March.