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

Melton Road Park/Playing Field Car Park – Gates to be locked overnight

From Sunday 24th May, the gate to the car park will be locked between 8pm and 7am until further notice. This is following police advice after recent antisocial behaviour. Apologies for any inconvenience.

You can report a number of non-urgent crimes including theft, retail theft, criminal damage, hate crime, anti-social behaviour, and traffic collisions through the Suffolk Constabulary website, by calling 101 or report incidents when they happen to the Police through calling 999 if it is an emergency.

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.

Melton Messenger – A note from Alan – May 2020

The Covid-19 Lockdown
I must admit I have been a bit slow in starting this month’s Melton Messenger article, time has been passing in a most strange way for us all in these unprecedented times.  Each day feels almost the same as the last.

I must firstly thank our local shops such as the Premier Store in Warwick Avenue, Melton Produce (Springside), the Spar shop at the garage and McColls in particular that are doing a terrific job in supplying the community with food and to the locals for keeping to the guidelines.

Also I must mention the exceptional work being done by the Melton Good Neighbour scheme and Melton Primary School.  In these difficult days, there has been a huge village effort to pull together and keep us safe.

So far Suffolk has seemed to have fewer cases than many other places but we must not drop our guard and let complacency creep in.  Let’s hope that things will return to normal in the next few months without taking undue risks.  I think the whole country is doing its bit so let’s hope that much of the good stuff will continue long after this dreadful phase is over.

Some of the things going on are:-

  • Melton WI keeping in touch with all our members – my wife Maggie is keeping them all amused and updated with amusing emails
  • Tributes to all the NHS and care workers who live in Melton- applause for you all at 8pm every Thursday
  • Thanks to all those key workers keeping essential services going (including Melton Councillor who is working flat out – Phil Groom)
  • Melton MPC website is a useful source of information
  • Paul Hambling for on-line Melton Messenger and his work carried on over Easter despite the church being closed
  • Thanks to all our residents for sticking to the guidelines with courtesy and cheerfulness and neighbourliness
  • Chance to enjoy the spring sunshine, the weather has been kind to us etc.
  • Walkers out exploring and discovering new footpaths around the village
  • More composting as the green bin collection has been suspended by ESC

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.

MPC Interim Management Committee
Obviously we have been unable to have meetings on a face to face basis and won’t for a good while to come.  A new committee has been formed from the Chairs and Vice Chairs of the council and the committees.  We hold a telephone conference call every 3 weeks so that the business of the council can continue as far as we can in these difficult times.  The agendas and minutes are on our website.

Annual Parish Meeting
The Annual Parish Meeting scheduled for 29th April was obviously cancelled.  I have put the report on the council website, just search for Annual Parish Report and you can find it. Maybe we can have a gathering later in the year if it is safe to do so.

Pavilion Roof
I was walking in the field a few weeks ago and was amazed to see the felt missing from the pavilion roof. I first thought it was vandalism until I saw the felt wrapped around the play equipment.  Our village maintenance officer has done a great job in patching it up temporarily.  In the long run we hope to demolish and replace it but at the moment that is obviously on hold.

St Audrys Bowling Green and The Sports & Social Club

Hopkins Homes appealed the decision to make the former bowls green as asset of community value.  After a review that decision was upheld by the appeal.  We shall see what happens next.  Meanwhile St Audrys Sports & Social Club are also looking to apply for Asset of Community Status.

New Dog Poo Bins
Two new dog poo bins have recently been installed in Melton, one at Wilford Bridge and the other at Old Malting Approach/New Quay Lane. We are aware that someone cut through the metal straps attaching the bin at Old Malting Approach when it was first installed but it has now been reinstalled!

MPC Precept Comparison
Our financial wizards Cllr Bill Banks and Pip Alder have been looking at the precepts of comparable local towns and parishes as we thought it would be of interest, bearing in mind the larger than usual increase this year.  We still remain one of the cheapest around.  There are some notes below and the table of comparison follows that.

  1. To make the 2020/21 Precept/Band D comparison more relevant for Melton, the comparator group has been drawn from all medium to large parish and town councils in East Suffolk (the 2019 comparator group was limited to the Suffolk Coastal area and included some very small parishes).
  2. A “medium to large” sized council is defined as being one that has a precept of more than £60k.
  3. Melton is most akin, in spending terms, to councils that have a precept/net budget of around £100k.  This is because, although Melton’s precept is only £87k, its budgeted spend is about £15k higher.
  4. The comparator table shows that for 2020/21 Melton has the second lowest Precept/Band D rates in East Suffolk.  Beccles has the lowest Precept/Band D rate by a wide margin.  Examination of the Beccles budget shows that it benefits from historic property ownership/rights, resulting in zero office costs (apart from business rates) and property rental income of £70k+.  Its low precept is, therefore, down to exceptional circumstances rather than it being hugely more efficient (or lower spending) than other councils.
  5.  So to compare with Woodbridge Melton’s Precept per Band D is less than half of Woodbridge’s; in fact  Melton’s is only 45.83% of Woodbridge’s precept.  Less than half.

Ordered by Precept Band D

Precept (£)

Precept per Band D (£)

Population *

Beccles

116,852.00

36.44

10,357

Melton

86,948.17

47.71

3,965

Rushmere St Andrew

123,000.00

47.79

6,278

Martlesham

140,497.00

61.18

5,793

Kesgrave

302,000.00

63.07

14,823

Oulton Broad

213,981.00

65.83

9,616

Halesworth

116,641.15

67.83

4,942

Felixstowe

600,570.00

70.87

24,590

Bungay

124,997.00

76.61

5,122

Kessingland

119,688.57

83.82

4,332

Wickham Market

73,000.00

89.23

2,319

Woodbridge

325,828.00

103.45

7,863

Framlingham

157,196.00

105.31

3,705

Southwold

120,000.00

109.59

937

Aldeburgh

215,000.00

114.14

2,423

Saxmundham

224,500.00

143.28

4,483

Lowestoft

1,837,731.00

144.91

48,782

Rendlesham

146,637.00

156.09

3,312

Leiston

305,000.00

171.63

5,743

*2018 estimate taken from Suffolk Observatory

Home, but not alone

A new Suffolk-focused community service has been set up to support people who need help during the COVID-19 pandemic. The telephone line is for those in need who can seek information on support with care needs, loneliness and to connect with community support. Please note it is not a general information line for COVID-19 queries.

Home, but not alone – 0800 876 6926

Melton Good Neighbour Scheme – Collecting Prescriptions

The Melton Good Neighbour Scheme is collecting prescriptions from the pharmacies in Woodbridge and delivering them to your door. Please think about using this service rather than collecting your own prescriptions. The queues are very long and by using this service you will reduce your risk of exposure and help the staff at the pharmacies.
You can email meltongns@gmail.com or call 0333 3355366. If there is no answer leave a message and one of the team will get back to you.

Melton Produce (formerly Springside) reopening

Melton Produce (formerly Springside) on Melton Road will be reopening on Monday 23rd March at 10am. The refurb isn’t quite finished but please bear with them. They will be only be accepting cash initially until the card machine/internet connection is set up. They are also looking into home deliveries.

Local Food Deliveries and Takeaways

A number of local businesses are offering new delivery and takeaway services during the C-19 outbreak. This page will be updated with new services as we hear about them.

Cake Shop Bakery
To our dear customers who are self-isolating and cannot get out of the house, we will be offering a local delivery service so you can still enjoy wonderful bread and yummies! We can accept payment over the phone and we will deliver to your doorstep. So there is no need or worries about opening your door to us, we can either post a note through your letterbox so you know it is outside or if preferred we can ring your doorbell.  Just call 01394 382515 for more information or to place an order.

To our dear customers who are still out and about at this crazy time, just another reminder that our shelves are fully stocked with fresh bread, rolls and cakes every day. You can always call us and order the day before, or call in the morning and we can put it aside for you that day.

No-one should have to miss out on having yummies for their tummies!

The Cooks Shed, Woodbridge
From Thursday 2 April we will provide a delivery or collection service for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Orders to be made by 3pm day before food required. Free delivery within Woodbridge for those in isolation or over 70. Further details and menu to be posted soon. If you have any questions in the meantime call 01394 446019.

Creaseys Butchers
The butcher shop, J.R.Creaseys, next to the greengrocers and co-op will be offering home deliveries in the afternoons Tuesdays – Saturdays for those of you who are self isolating and cannot get out to the shops. Also if you are out and about, call through an order for collection to help with the social distancing and reduce waiting times of the shop. All stock is subject to availability. We will deliver to a 5 mile radius of the shop. Card payment will be via telephone call and delivery to front door. Stay safe all.

Telephone: 01394 386739

Friday Street
We are happy to be able to now provide a doorstep delivery service  for anyone self isolating or unable to get out to the shop, until further notice or further government advice is issued. Please call the farm shop to place an order. We can only accept card payments over the phone but NOT cash on delivery.

We can provide bread, dairy, fresh fruit & vegetables, meat and butchery items and we do have stock of some convenience style items. We hope this provides a much needed source of provisions to those in need at this time. We know not all people are on social media so please feel free to share with neighbours, friends and family who would benefit from this service.
Phone: 01728 602783

Garnetts Gardens
Farmshop: General groceries, fruit, vegetables, milk etc
Garden Centre: Plants, compost, pots, hanging baskets, garden sundries and gifts

Minimum Order: £25.00
Orders under £50: Delivery charge £5
Orders over £50: Delivery free

Delivery radius 10 miles. Beyond that, please contact us to discuss. Alternatively, order goods by phone or email and we will have them ready for collection.

Payment by card over the telephone in advance

Phone: 01728 724589
Email: garnettsgardens@outlook.com

We’ve been here 26 years and many of you are our friends as well as customers. We hope everyone keeps well through these troubled times.

The Greyhound, Pettistree
The pub will be serving takeaway dishes at 20% off dine-in prices.
Phone: 01728 746451

Humdingers, Rendlesham
**FREE HOME DELIVERY**
Quality local produce to your door. All our produce is Farm Assured, Fully Labelled and Traceable right back to the field .

Potatoes
– 25kg Reds (Shannon) – £10.00
– 12.5kg Reds (Shannon) – £6.00
– 25kg Maris Piper – £10.00
– 12.5kg Maris Piper – £6.00

Onions
– Brown Onion (4/Net) – £1
– Red Onion (4/Net) – £1
– 20kg Loose Red Onions – £10.00
– 20kg Loose Brown Onions – £10.00

Carrots
– 10kg Carrot Net – £3.50
– 20kg Carrot Net – £7.00

To place an order please call or text 07935 756155

Melton Fish Bar
The fish and chip shop reopens on the 7th May. Customers are asked to phone ahead with their order.
Phone: 01394 382319

Melton Produce (formerly Springside)
Now accepting card payments and will take orders over the phone/email
Phone: 07762 183 684        email:   jackiewoolven@hotmail.co.uk

Simpers Silver Harvest
To aid householders during lockdown we are providing a box delivery service of locally caught fish to homes within a half hour drive of Woodbridge.
www.simpersoframsholt.co.uk/simpers-fish-and-shellfish
07850 847 779

Susi’s Kitchen
If you’d like a little pick-me-up for you or a friend or neighbour next Friday you can order anytime until 9pm Wednesday. Payment is made online and I’ll drop to your doorstep (or you can collect from mine) 6 slices for £5 or the Baker’s Dozen for £10!

If this is something you or others may be interested in please contact me – and feel free to share or pass on to neighbours etc. Contact me at pudguru@gmail.com or on 07979 818 049

The Open Kitchen
Batch cooking meals and freezing in single portions that are available to all vulnerable residents and NHS staff in Melton and Woodbridge, and anyone who is willing to collect. www.tokcookery.com/batch-deliver

Turquaz
The excellent Turkish restaurant and kebab shop on Cumberland Street has re-opened for take-away only, every day from 6 pm and they will deliver.
Phone: 01394 380 702

Warwick Convenience Store & Post Office, 37/39 Warwick Avenue, Woodbridge, IP12 1JX
We’re open 7am-7pm every day and have lots of fresh milk, bread, eggs, flour, fruit, veg, meat, groceries, beer, wine and spirits. We also offer free delivery. Phone 01394 382476 or email warwicknews@gmail.com to order

Woodbridge Greengrocers
We are starting to deliver to those who are in need in Woodbridge and Melton, free of charge during this scary time. If you are vulnerable and fall within certain brackets we take telephone orders, call back with the total, take card payments over the phone then deliver. Obviously we are an independent small store and in store at the moment is very busy so a delivery after the shop closes is more than likely. We are more than happy to help those who need it.  If no one answers due to busy trade please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Stay safe all! We will help if we can.
Phone:  01394 386298

Other businesses open in Melton are:

Five Winds Farm Butchery – open as usual
Phone: 01394 386116

McColl’s
Phone: 01394 382027

Poppy’s Pantry – currently open whilst stocks allow
Monday – Thursday 9.30am – 4.3opm
Phone: 01394 389599

Thurlow Nunn Standen
Phone: 01394 382801

 

 

Covid-19 Response

You are all aware of the rapidly developing and changing situation surrounding Covid-19. Melton Parish Council has suspended all forthcoming public meetings. The office will also be closed to members of the public. We will continue to keep the Council running and help residents where we can.

The Melton Good Neighbour Scheme is looking for volunteers to help our community. Can you:

  • Deliver shopping
  • Collect and deliver prescriptions
  • Walk the dog
  • Make a friendly phone call
  • Answer practical questions

Please contact the Committee at meltongns@gmail.com or visit https://www.facebook.com/MeltonGNS/ for more information