Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – July 2020

Tennis Court Vandalism
At the end of May we suffered a spate of vandalism on the tennis courts; the wire was cut in several places allowing people to gain access without a key. Maybe this was to play for free or to retrieve balls sent over from the other court. This has been a problem over the years but never at the current level. We have to buy rolls of wire netting and patch up the holes as best as we can.

Tennis court fence vandalism

Tennis court vandalism

In the future we are going to erect CCTV and therefore we may get some footage of any acts of vandalism. It is a shame we have to invest money in this way but we have to ensure the safety & integrity of the assets in the park. There has also been some anti-social behaviour in the evenings and reports of drug dealing which hopefully CCTV will deter.

Recreation Ground Gate
In recent weeks, we have been locking the recreation grounds car park gates at 8pm because we were having problems with people BBQing and having large social gatherings in the park and car park causing problems for local residents. We don’t want to be party poopers, but given the continuing need to social distance and the increased risk of fire because of the very dry grass at the moment, we felt it necessary. The side gates to the park remain open for walkers.

Woodbridge Swifts
To help with the decline in the population of swifts, Woodbridge Swifts are recording swift nests in Woodbridge, Melton and Bromeswell. If you have a swift nesting in a box or in your roof, they would like you to contact them at woodbridge.swifts@gmail.com. They also have nest boxes and CDs of swift callings for sale for those who might like to encourage the swifts to nest near you.

Planning Applications
At the moment we are confronted with three extensive planning applications which if they went ahead would have a very significant impact on Melton.

1. DC/20/1521/FUL
PROPOSAL: Care Village comprising an 80 bedroom care home together with 75 assisted care bungalows, cafe/club house, Bowling Green, car parking, open space provision with associated infrastructure and access. This is just off Yarmouth Road Melton IP12 1QH. MPC’s contention is that the access available for pedestrians etc. between the proposed site of the Care Village and amenities/transport links in Melton are inadequate, and made even more so by requirements for social distancing. We are opposing this application. SCC Highways are also in opposition.

2. DC/20/1831/OUT
Outline Application with Some Matters Reserved – Residential development of up to 55 dwellings, with access off St Andrew’s Place. This is the part of the land that forms a central part of our Neighbourhood Plan but does not cover the land owned by the Carter family. Not having direct access to Wilford Bridge Road would be a major problem. St Andrew’s Place is already highly congested and unsuitable for access. We at MPC are opposing the application with its proposed access via St Andrew’s.

3. DC/20/1636/OUT
Outline Application for up to 27 Self Build and Custom dwellings. Land West of Prow 21 Woods Lane Melton. This would just add more traffic pressure to an already very busy Woods Lane. There is already a lack of doctors, dentists and school places etc. We are opposing this application.

We just seem to becoming a bit of a target at the moment but rest assured that MPC are trying to represent the interests of current as well as future residents.

Melton Primary School during the lockdown
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Melton Primary School has remained open for vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers. The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) put in a huge amount of planning to allow Reception and Years 1 and 6 to return as safely as possible in early June. This involved ensuring that the children could spend their time in bubbles of less than ten children, each with their own equipment. Each bubble has its own class room and outside space. You may have noticed that the playing field has been divided up with green fencing. At the moment, there are 6 bubbles; one each for Reception and Year 1 and two each for Year 6 and the vulnerable and key workers’ children. Currently, there are about forty children attending the school and all of the staff are working except those that are shielding. Days are very regulated with start times staggered and the three entrances carefully allocated and there are routines for hand-washing throughout the day. Plans are in place for frequent cleaning and there are procedures if anyone becomes sick. Other year groups and those children who have not returned to school continue to receive home learning guidance. The SLT and governors now have to put their minds to what might happen in September. In the meantime, we all hope that the children and staff stay safe and well and send everyone at the school our best wishes and thanks for their hard work for our community.

Full list of 148 priority cycle schemes unveiled for Suffolk
An article in the EADT stated that nearly 150 routes across Suffolk have been eyed as priorities for cycle improvements over the next five years, costing well in excess of £80 million. It came from work undertaken by a cross-party task force at Suffolk County Council on improving cycling routes, with a full list of 148 priority routes for the next five years. There is only one that would affect us in Melton and that is rather annoyingly under a Woodbridge heading. This is the route along the River Deben Path from Melton Station to Kyson point.

The riverside route has already caused a bit of friction between walkers & cyclists and a few altercations have been reported recently. Cyclists and walkers should get on with each other, after all they are often the same people. During the lockdown I have seen both joggers and cyclists who think they have the right of way and would stop for nothing, they seem to think they are exempt from social distancing.

I do worry about the research into these sort of ideas, why end it at Kyson point? Surely extending it so it emerges into the Martlesham end of Sandy Lane would be the thing to do. That way we would have a route that avoids the Sandy Lane hill which is quite a steep ride after a day at work and I speak from experience. We will see what happens if the past is an indicator then probably nothing will happen for a long time.
The full article is at https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/suffolk-five-year-cycling-plan-unveiled-1-6692734

Pardon the weeds
Suffolk Norse are responsible for maintaining the grassy areas owned by East Suffolk Council. Since lockdown, they have only cut areas that presented a health and safety issue, making sure that road junctions were cut to ensure visibility and access to residents’ properties. Now that restrictions have started to ease and with some significant growth of grass, they have taken the opportunity to manage some areas of open space differently with a focus on biodiversity. This is particularly the case in those areas where longer grass is beneficial to wildlife; they have seen some areas that have become havens for invertebrates and pollinators, and would like to preserve these where possible.

They have identified 41 ‘conservation areas’, where they will aim to manage the land differently, and not cut until the end of the season. These include the verges in the area from the A12 down Woods Lane/Bredfield Road and at Bury Hill. These areas have been chosen on the basis that this change is likely to be uncontroversial for local residents, that it presents no safety issues, and that the space is at a scale that will provide an environmental benefit to wildlife.

The trial of managing grass more sustainably in certain churchyards has also been well received and they will move to do this permanently.

They are asking if we, the community, could monitor these areas, removing litter and making sure invasive plant species do not dominate the grasslands.

Some of the land that is being transferred from East Suffolk Council to Melton Parish Council could be treated in the same way.

They are providing the logo below which will help identify the areas and let people know why the grass is being allowed to grow, so look out for it.

Pardon the weeds logo

Pardon the weeds logo

MPC Councillor Vacancy
Following the resignation of one of our councillors we now have a vacancy for a councillor at MPC. Please consider joining us and let us know by emailing myself or the clerk – clerk@melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk. We are now able to co-opt a volunteer as from 16th June.

St Audrys Social Club
The club has now been declared an asset of community value. Good news, let’s hope for a good outcome.

So I shall sign off with the words as predicted in the video clip of Michael McIntyre sees a fortune teller in June 2019. A fellow councillor said “The video cheered me up no end!” It could cheer you up too.

Stay Safe!

Alan Porter

Chairman – Melton Parish Council

Melton Playing Field Play Park

Following latest Government guidance about the reopening of outdoor play parks from the 4th July, the play park and play equipment at Melton Playing Fields will remain CLOSED until further notice. We shall endeavour to reopen it once we are confident that it is safe to do so.

Melton Parish Council Meeting – 15th July at 7pm

The next Melton Parish Council meeting will be held on Wednesday 15th July 2020 commencing at 7pm.
 
This meeting will be held by video and conference call and all residents of Melton are very welcome to join the meeting.

The full agenda and details on how to join the meeting will be available to view on the website at least 3 clear days before the meeting.

 

 

The Melton Trust – help for those in need

The Melton Trust was created from bequests by Richard Cook in 1539, Richard Halifax in 1699 and a gentleman named Histed (date unknown). It was established as a charity in 1897 as the Poor’s Estate Charity and funding incorporated a bequest from James Alexander Burness who also funded the Burness Rooms. It was renamed The Melton Trust in May 1991.

The Trust’s funds provide an income to be used “in relieving persons resident in the Parish of Melton who are in conditions of need hardship or distress”. The Trust is classed as a charity for “relief in need” and try to be as flexible as possible.

The kind of requests that can be supported include:

• Payment of utility bills

• Travelling expenses

• Furniture and house decoration

• Specialist equipment for the disabled

• Respite care

Each case is taken on its own merits and the Trust may fund all or part of a request. There are some restrictions:

• You must be a resident of Melton

• It cannot replace state support – all available benefits must have been claimed

• It cannot commit to ongoing support

If you would like to apply for a grant please complete the application form and return it to The Melton Trust, c/o The Rectory, Station Road, Melton, Woodbridge, IP12 1PX

Interim Management Committee Meeting – 17th June at 2pm

The next Interim Management Committee (IMC) meeting will take place via teleconference, as part of the Council’s response to COVID-19, on the 17th June at 2pm. The agenda and papers will be available in the Interim Committee section of the website.

If anyone has any comments to make please email them to clerk@melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk by 12 noon on 17th June.

Members of the public are invited to listen to the meeting by phone:

  • Dial 0 33 33 66 11 11
  • Enter Conference Code 296983  followed by #
  • Enter the PIN: 2969 followed by #

If any member of the public wishes to make a comment during the meeting, in response to what is being discussed, please email finance@melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk

Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – June 2020

Playpark Maintenance
As the playpark has been closed due to the restrictions, we have taken the opportunity to give some of the equipment a fresh coat of paint and it looks really great now.

Play park equipment

Painted play equipment

Transport Safety & Social Distancing
Suffolk County Council has received a few queries from Parish Councils and individuals about the possibility of increased provision of safe space for walking and cycling during the current Covid-19 crisis. As we return to a ‘new normal’, our transport strategy will support people to make journeys by foot, bike or public transport while continuing to observe social distancing.

The Government has very recently provided guidance in relation to funding for emergency walking and cycling measures. Following the success of the temporary road closure to vehicles along Ipswich Waterfront, Suffolk County Council is already making plans to change road layouts and put in measures to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. This will include closing off sections of roads to motorised vehicles, widening existing footpaths and cycle lanes, providing temporary footpaths and cycle lanes and changing traffic signal timings to reduce waiting times for pedestrians and cyclists. I am yet sure how this will affect Melton but it will certainly affect us as we travel around Suffolk and eventually as we travel further afield.

Local History Recorders documenting the Covid-19 pandemic
Our Local History Recorders; Mary Burgess and Claire McBurney, have been asked to document information about their locality during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Melton old village is always very friendly but exchanges now often include offers of help and the wish that everyone should “stay safe”. Once the lockdown started, residents quickly began to reclaim the streets. Although families are sometimes seen cycling through Melton village, the children are usually confident, competent riders. Now younger, less experienced riders are out cycling with adults as the village streets are almost traffic free. There are a lot of people walking, sometimes with backpacks for shopping. The local footpaths are much busier than usual, mainly with walkers. At first, families tried cycling along the footpaths and taking children in pushchairs but this proved very difficult. There is a hopscotch court chalked on the pavement in The Street.

McColls put social distancing measures in place very quickly and remained open. There is often a short queue outside the shop but any boredom is alleviated by the opportunity to watch the sparrows that nest under the tiles flying back and forth with their beaks full of nesting materials and insects to feed the young. The swifts returned increasing the bird watching opportunities. Our other local businesses, such as the podiatrists and hairdressers have, sadly, needed to close for the time being. The Little Free Pantry closed temporarily but has recently reopened. Also the fish and chip shop has just reopened with a well-planned strategy (pre-ordering) and social distancing markings.

One very significant difference is the marked improvement in air quality. This is often the subject of brief, appropriately socially distanced exchanges in the streets. People are feeling better and enjoying the smell of blossom and spring flowers.

Many houses have “Rainbow” tributes to show appreciation of NHS and key workers. The Thursday clapping for everyone helping during the pandemic is enthusiastically observed. Quite a few musical instruments have been heard playing tunes like Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Many residents have benefited from the work of the GNS volunteers. Let’s hope some of the positive bits of this crisis stays with us after it is over, this won’t happen on its own, we will have to work at it.

Meetings during the Pandemic
An Interim Management Committee has been meeting monthly by telephone conference call. This is a good method as you don’t suffer the issues with speech lost due to internet data packet buffering. We have tried Zoom meetings but not all of us have Broadband speeds that allow it to work. Our meeting on the 27th May will allow members of the public to listen in to the discussion. Full details are posted on the website. We have had no security problems but Woodbridge Town Council had an intrusion of a graphic of a sexual nature. This caused a deal of embarrassment, this is what can happen when you use remote access technology as a means of public participation.

Melton Trust helps out
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Melton Trust very much for their speedy response to an appeal for a grant for one of our parishioner’s referred to the Melton Good Neighbour Scheme. The resident was suddenly unemployed due to the Covid-19 lockdown and is having to wait 5 weeks for universal credit to be paid. The Melton Good Neighbours Scheme arranged for a food parcel to be delivered by the Salvation Army food bank and to provide a ready cooked meal.

The Melton Good Neighbours Scheme was able to help to fill out an application form for a grant to help through this period before the universal credit starts and within 24 hours had provided a grant for the individual to pay for essential bills and personal needs.

It goes to show that there is help from the Melton Trust, MPC, Melton Good Neighbour Scheme, ESC and Community Action Suffolk for our more needy folks in the Melton Community.

Gatherings in the park
I have been asked to remind people that large gatherings shouldn’t be taking place in the park, please not to have BBQs and clear up after afterwards etc. There seems to be a minority that don’t follow the social distancing rules no matter what we say. No doubt the offenders don’t read the Melton Messenger online so this is probably a waste of time ranting about it. Recently there was a lot rubbish left and spilt BBQ coals had burned the grass. It is such a shame. Despite this; our new green space contractor is doing a great job and the park looks better than ever this year.

Tennis courts
The tennis courts are open once more following the guidance from the government. Keys are disinfected by the Spar staff between uses. There is a possibility that a tennis trainer may block book the courts for a couple of hours on weekdays. I don’t think this will upset regular users who play later on in the day. Also the Spar will be closing at its regular time of 9pm so tennis can be played a bit longer in these lighter evenings.

MPC activities
The main focus of our recent meetings has been to ensure that our finances, budgets and documentation are all sorted ready for our annual audits. This is something that I am very proud of at MPC as we have improved our financial management by leaps and bounds over the years I have been a Councillor.

The main concern at the moment for us all is that if we drop our guard then the virus could peak once more. Stay safe!

Cllr Alan Porter
Chairman – Melton Parish Council

Extra support now available for small businesses

East Suffolk Council is now processing the discretionary business grants for local businesses provided by the Government in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

On 2nd May 2020, the Government announced that extra funding would be made available to local authorities to enable them to support small businesses outside the scope of the existing business grant fund scheme.

East Suffolk Council has been allocated £3,866,250 to fund the discretionary business support grants, and eligible businesses can now apply for grants of up to £10,000. Due to the limited funding available and the need to assist as many businesses as possible, the Council will not be paying grants above £10,000 initially, however, this may be reviewed as the scheme progresses.

The Council has identified six areas as priorities at this stage, aimed at businesses which were not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund, in line with the Government’s requirements. These are:

  • Businesses in shared spaces, such as within larger businesses units, office parks or incubation units, where their lettable space would have the equivalent of a rateable value of less than £15,000
  • Permanent market traders on a market in the East Suffolk area
  • Charities that were previously ineligible for support under the Small Business Grant Fund because they receive mandatory charity relief, rather than Small Business Rate Relief, and were not eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Scheme, but have premises with a rateable value of less than £15,000
  • B&Bs which pay Council Tax instead of business rates
  • Businesses that have significant premises costs and which are crucial to the local and regional economy
  • Additional small and micro businesses with fixed costs

Eligible businesses must have less than 50 employees, have been trading on 11 March 2020, and be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop in income as a result of the COVID-19 restriction measures.

Cllr Craig Rivett, East Suffolk’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “We know it has been exceptionally tough for those businesses which have been ineligible for any grants or funding so far.

“While this money is very welcome, it is limited, and we know it will be a lifeline for many small businesses. Therefore, we have taken the decision to cap grants at £10,000 initially to ensure we are able to help as many businesses as possible. This may be reviewed as the scheme progresses, but right now our main priority is to get this much needed financial help to our small businesses as fast as possible.”

The online form and full details about how to apply with full eligibility criteria can be found at: https://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/business/covid-19-business-grant-funding/

Further information on other support packages available can be found at East Suffolk Means Business

Best regards

Interim Management Committee Meeting – 27th May at 2pm

The next Interim Management Committee (IMC) meeting will take place via teleconference, as part of the Council’s response to COVID-19, on the 27th May at 2pm. The agenda and papers will be available in the Interim Committee section of the website.

If anyone has any comments to make please email them to clerk@melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk by 12 noon on 27th May.

Members of the public are invited to listen to the meeting by phone:

  • Dial 0 33 33 66 11 11
  • Enter Conference Code 296983  followed by #
  • Enter the PIN: 2969 followed by #

Tennis Courts to re-open at Melton Playing Field

Following the latest Government advice, the tennis courts are available for hire from the 13th May 2020.

You can play tennis with members of your household, or one other person while staying 2 metres apart.

To book these tennis courts please go to the John Grose garage/Spar on Melton Road. Keys will be disinfected between bookings but other surfaces at the tennis courts will not be, including the gates. Please remember to wash your hands/use hand sanitiser frequently.

At all times, you should continue to observe social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home, including ensuring you are 2 metres away from anyone outside your household.

The play equipment/play park remain closed until further notice.

Green Bin Collections Restarting – collection day could be different

Message from East Suffolk Council:

Following the suspension of the Garden Waste Service, due to the impact of COVID-19, we are now pleased to confirm that the service will resume on Bank Holiday Monday 25 May.

All collections will then be made during the subsequent fortnight, including – where required – on a Saturday. We would like to apologise for the inconvenience which the suspension has caused. We hope you can understand that this has been a difficult time for us all with the safety of our customers, our crews and their families always being of paramount importance.

The garden waste web page is now available for renewals and new subscriptions. All existing subscriptions have been extended by four collections. This takes into account those collections which were missed because of the initial suspension on 27 March 2020.

Your collection day may now change and details of your new timetable, will be placed on the website shortly and should be finalised no later than 5pm on Tuesday 12 May: http://apps.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/pages/bins/collectiondays.aspx

Replacement stickers will not be required for your bin. The crews have been informed that all valid household subscriptions have been extended by four collections; they also have access to “in Cab” collection technology within the freighters. Renewal invitations will be sent as before and, if renewed, a new bin sticker will then be issued.

If you have received a renewal invite prior to the suspension of service and have not yet renewed your subscription then please use the link below: https://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/waste/waste-collection-and-disposal/garden-waste/

For more information please read our frequently asked questions, using the link below: https://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/assets/Waste/Green-waste/Garden-waste-FAQs.pdf

This will enable you to determine your new subscription renewal date, or you can go to our website at www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk.