Suffolk Village of the Year 2023

Parish Council Meeting Report, January 2018

The Council met on 28 January 2018

The Councillors were joined by District Councillor Clive Arthey, three members of the public and the Clerk Doug Reed.

County Counciilor Lindsay had sent his apologies but in his written report said in direct relation to Cockfield:

Lavenham Road pavement near Horseshoes

After threatening to do this work myself highways have now ordered the pavement (or 50% of it) near the Horseshoes to be cleared

Howe Lane and Chapel Road

The pavements along these roads are a major walking route to the school and shop for many residents some vehicles on that road are going above the speed limit. The VAS sign the parish has bought is a very good reminder to people to keep below the limit. If the parish council feels that some additional signs, road marks would also help, I am happy to provide what I can from the limited budget I have.

Highways generally

At our meeting in the village with the highways community warden, he made clear there was no money for the regular maintenance that highways used to deliver for such things as cleaning and repairing signs and cutting back vegetation on pavements

District Councillor Clive Arthey reported

BDC and MSDC Merger

It is now established that a merger would not be approved without a referendum along the lines of the 2011 referendum. In that referendum the majority of Babergh residents were against a merger, but things have moved on since then including the full integration of staff and services. The full business case should be available to inform any new referendum.

Babergh DC HQ, Hadleigh

There has been some progress on the future use of the Hadleigh HQ site, with proposals being prepared for conversion and re-development to provide housing.

Local Plan

The responses to the first draft are being considered and this will be followed by another round of consultation later in the year.

District Electoral Review

We are awaiting the Boundary Commission’s final recommendations.

2018-19 Budget

Work on the budget is nearing completion. A 3 to 3.5% increase in Babergh’s element of Council Tax is likely.

Cockfield Residents spoke to address concerns about Cross Green

including the poor condition of the A1141 due to mud and dirt and

about the Emergency Plan which needed updating.

Suffolk Highways

Cllr Cutting-Keyton reported on a meeting with a senior officer from Suffolk Highways, County Cllr Lindsay, Cllr Morley and two residents. Serious concerns were raised about speeding, traffic signs, verge-cutting, inappropriate parking, footway maintenance and flooding. In summary, the outcome served to demonstrate that Suffolk Highways is under-resourced and subject to substantial budget constraints. As a consequence, little action would follow unless the Parish Council was able to fund work itself.

Play Equipment

Given recent resident comments this matter was again reviewed by councillors. The adequacy and safety of the present provision on Great Green was reinforced. It was also emphasised that due to legal issues applying to common land, it was not permissible for fencing to be erected around the equipment. It was acknowledged that, with the proposed housing project adjacent to Mackenzie Place, some play equipment might be provided as part of the development to particularly serve residents and youngsters in that part of the village.

Budget 2018-2019 and Precept 2018-2019: Councillors debated the budget for the forthcoming year given several known areas where costs were due to rise. It was felt that some flexibility was needed within the budget to enable the Council to provide more support to village initiatives while also looking at potentially funding work currently undertaken by the County Council, such as the cutting of verges and footpaths, which Councillors felt had not been carried out in a satisfactory manner. The Parish Council is in negotiations with the County. It was also agreed that money should be set aside for repairs and renewals to Council assets and to provide for continuing progress with present projects.

Other Matters

Cllr Cutting-Keyton was pleased to note that the annual village litter-pick would be undertaken over the weekend of 17-18 March.

It was noted that the next Ordinary Meetings of the Council would be held on Thursday 22 February and Thursday 29th March at 7.30pm in Cockfield Village Hall.

The Parish Council may be contacted through the Clerk, Doug Reed, on 01359 241009 or by email at

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