Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – April 2021

Sizewell C (SZC)

The Examining Authority’s (ExA) Preliminary Meeting for its “examination in public” of EDF’s planning application for SZC is scheduled for 23 March 2021.  A second Preliminary Meeting, if required, is scheduled for 14 April 2021.

The purpose of the Preliminary Meeting is to enable views to be put to the ExA about the way in which the application is to be examined.  The Preliminary Meeting is not an opportunity for Interested Parties to put forward their views about what they like or don’t like about the application. The merits or concerns about the application will only be considered once the Examination starts, which is after the Preliminary Meeting has closed.

The ExA is under a duty to complete the Examination of the application by the end of the period of 6 months beginning with the day after the close of the Preliminary Meeting (Thursday 14 October 2021).

A recommendation by the ExA to the Secretary of State will be issued within 3 months of the examination closing. The Secretary of State then has a further 3 months to issue a decision on the proposal.

Up-to-date information about the project and the Examination can be obtained from the project page on the National Infrastructure Planning website (NI website) from which copies of all Examination Documents can be accessed by the public:

https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/eastern/the-sizewell[1]c-project/?ipcsection=overview

Parish Council Website
We will be updating the website in the next few months. The new layout will improve accessibility and functionality. Hopefully it will be easy to navigate and find the information you need.

Support for Local Food Project
The Finance Committee (FERM) agreed financial support up to a maximum of £350 towards the costs of printing leaflets for distribution in Melton.

Signage for divested parcels of land
FERM agreed to:

  • Place signs on the more significant areas of land only e.g. the woodland adjacent to Burkes Wood, Hall Farm Road etc.
  • Ask the Council’s arboriculturalist for advice as to where signs might most usefully be placed
  • Put a map of all the Council’s land holdings on the website

Speed Indicator Device (SID)
The SID is currently located on Woods Lane and is working well and, from personal observation, it does encourage drivers to obey the 30mph speed limit on that road.  However due to traffic volumes we have decided to purchase a second SID with a solar panel which will be sited at Woods Lane and use the existing one for the other five sites we have in Melton.

Tennis Court Fencing
The tennis court fencing was replaced at the end of March. As a result, we had to temporarily close the car park from the 23rd to 30th March.

We have been wanting to do this for a long time as it has become quite tatty and numerous holes have been cut in it by various nefarious individuals.  The new fencing is much tougher and will look great.  The tennis courts have been very popular over the last year and it’s great to reinvest in this well used facility.

Burness Parish Rooms
Thanks to Colin Birkbeck, the Burness Parish Rooms have been made Covid-19 compliant with the necessary hand sanitizers and a one way system in place for entering and leaving. It has also had a new boiler installed and with the adjustments made to make it Covid-19 compliant, it is looking forward to greeting its usual customers once again when the rules allowed.

Playing Field Car Park
The car park is well used but the surface is in poor condition, it has been in need of resurfacing for many years.  We are taking the opportunity to square off the corners to get a few extra spaces without losing play space.  There will be a disabled designated parking space and the spaces will be properly marked out.  We are hoping the work can start soon.

Oak tree protected with rope ring

The Old Oak Tree
Our tree warden, Martin Wilks, and his band of volunteers were at the playing field in Burkes Wood recently. They placed a protective ring around the old oak tree at the entrance to the woods (from the playing field). I think it looks very good and makes the tree look even grander. We’ve had good feedback already.

Community Events
We have two dates for your diary. Firstly on Monday 5th July 2021 it is the NHS Thank You Day and various events are planned in Melton.  Watch this space for more details.

We are also planning on holding the Melton Village fete on Saturday 4th June 2022 which will coincide with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee long weekend – so save the date.

Annual Parish Meeting
This is usually a lovely event where I give a summary of the year and future plans are revealed.  We normally have some guest speakers and a few refreshments.  Of course, this year it will be a Zoom meeting but it will still go ahead on Wednesday 28th April.  The winner of the annual Melton Award will be announced.  Spoiler alert – this year there is more than one winner!

Land Divestment
After months of patiently waiting for the legalities to progress, I am pleased to say that the land divestment has now completed for all 21 pieces of land from East Suffolk Council.  The fact that one piece of land was actually on the land registry as two complicated matters further.  In order to ensure that we know what we have to manage, we have had a tree survey done for all of the land that we now own including existing assets.   We will be producing a schedule of maintenance to ensure public safety and the health of the trees.

 

 

 

Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – March 2021

England Coast Path
Melton Parish Council has submitted a response to the consultation on the Felixstowe to Bawdsey stretch of the England Coast Path, which runs through Melton along the river wall.
Whilst Melton PC supports the improved coastal access represented by this plan, Councillors are concerned about the increasingly heavy use of the coastal path through Melton and the impact on sensitive, designated sites.

Deben Monitoring Post
We have agreed with the Deben Estuary Partnership to site a monitoring post on the river here in Melton. We will take photographs regularly and they will be uploaded to the D.E.P. Facebook page. The team will be able to keep a close eye on how the coastline is changing and whether there is any need for more interventions to protect the saltmarsh, an important habitat.

Quiet Lanes Consultation
You may have noticed the green Quiet Lanes signs on some roads in other local parishes and now Melton has nominated two roads for this scheme. Once a route has been designated as a Quiet Lane, it means that walkers, cyclists and equestrian users take priority over motorised vehicles. The two roads we have selected as suitable are Lodge Farm Lane and St Audrys Lane. Both have been well used by walkers during the recent Lockdowns. Taken together they form an arc between Yarmouth Road and Saddlemakers Lane and connect to several footpaths, making a circular route round the village. The cost of the new signs will be covered by grants available to councils supporting the scheme. All residents are invited to give their feedback by emailing the parish council office by 30th April. We will be delivering leaflets to surrounding houses soon.

Traffic levels in Melton
We have been raising concerns to Suffolk County Council about the volume of traffic in Melton. Despite the pandemic, traffic volumes remain similar to previous years which infers that once the pandemic is over traffic volumes will be even higher. It is a difficult situation compounded by HGV traffic to and from the Bentwaters, the state of the ‘kinked’ level crossing and the addition of the container site near Riduna Park. It appears that the traffic volume around Bentwaters is nearing its maximum permitted capacity. A group of parish councils has got together and is lobbying Suffolk County Council to take some action.

Last year Suffolk County Council instigated a review of lorry routing in Suffolk. This review comprises two parts; the first is a technical review looking at changes to the network for example the capacity of bridges, the location of new residential and business development and a review of all existing weight restrictions in the county; the second part is a community consultation which will commence in June this year. The community review will provide parish and town councils the opportunity to provide evidence of concerns about HGV movements and routing in their area. The team will then consider this alongside the technical review and propose recommendations for changes to the lorry route network and identify any other changes that might be needed to address issues. This county-wide approach is essential, as there is a need to consider the impact of implementing a change in one area/community on those communities that would then take the HGV traffic, to avoid just moving the problem. This will be a very difficult task however, and it is important that the local issues are understood. They say they understand and empathise with the concerns we have relating to HGV traffic in Melton Parish, but it is important that these are considered across a wide area. In advance of the community review they would like to offer a meeting with us to discuss our concerns. So let’s see what happens.

Grants
We advertised as far as we could for applications for small grants.
Two applications were received by the due date and both have been paid
• Melton primary School (contribution of £500 towards the cost of Covid-19 related expenditure of c£5k)
• Patients Participation Group at Framfield House Surgery (contribution of £158.99 to cover 100% cost of a portable ECG machine).

Tennis Court Fencing
The tennis courts are a well-used facility in Melton, but the fencing has been deteriorating over the years and this has been made worse by some miscreants cutting holes in the fencing. We have continually been patching it up but now consider total replacement is the way to go.

Recreation Committee, at its meeting on 6 January 2021, considered quotes for replacing the existing tennis court chain link fencing. Three companies were originally approached to quote for replacing the existing chain link with more robust, vandal resistant panel fencing. Funding is being sought from the PlayPot, which is held by East Suffolk Council.

Recreation Committee considered the quotes and felt that the level of detail and the specification contained in one quote made it the preferred option. The decision has been agreed by East Suffolk Council and will be funded by the PlayPot. The PlayPot funds were put in place before Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) was introduced. So no cost for this project comes from our own funds. This project should be taking place in March and hopefully will be finished in time for when restrictions are lifted and tennis is allowed again.

Melton Road Crossings Consultation
Melton Parish Council has carried out several consultations with Melton residents on how money received from Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) should be spent. The request for road crossings along Melton Road, to enable safer passage across the road and to help reduce speeding, has received much public support. We hope to have two crossing points installed.

Three areas were identified as being natural crossing points: Melton Playing Fields/Melton Produce, The Spar/John Grose Garage and New Quay Lane/Turnpike Lane.

Working closely with Highways, two locations have been suggested that combine a useful crossing point with the least loss of parking spaces along Melton Road. The crossings will be island refuges in the middle of the road. Full details can also be seen here: www.melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk/melton-road-crossings/

If you have any questions or feedback about these proposed crossings please contact the Parish office before the 15th March 2021. Leaflets have been distributed to residences along Melton Road/Melton Hill and adjoining roads.

Pavilion Replacement Project
Following the recent consultation period, here is a summary of the main concerns raised and the answers given.

  • Footprint – the new building will be no bigger than the current footprint.
  • Parish Room – It is not a new Parish room or village hall. It is emphatically not designed for meetings but for informal events linked to and used as an adjunct to outside space.
  • Loss of facilities – The only ‘facility’ that will be lost is changing rooms. However the current ones are not used and nor are they needed. The new Pavilion will bring additional facilities – a public WC that is fully accessible, flexible community space, better storage, better shelter for users of the park and playing fields and the ability to have a pop-up café.
  • Loss of green space – the path will be slightly widened, and the car park squared off which will result in a very small loss of green space.
  • Risk of vandalism – brick and HardiePlank are as vandal resistant as possible but no building is entirely resistant. Roller shutters and CCTV will be installed. We will work with the police to design out crime as far as possible. The externally accessible toilet will be open at set times.
  • Environmental considerations – solar panels, water reuse are being considered.

A big thankyou to all those Melton residents who took the time and trouble to give their feedback. At the Full Council meeting on the 17th February it was decided that the colour scheme for the pavilion will be a mix of grey and red.

Snowy Weather
The bad weather came as a bit of a blow on top of all the other problems we all face, having said that here’s a photo to gladden the heart. Thanks also to the Melton Good Neighbour Scheme who helped clear ice and snow for some residents.

Burkes Wood in the snow

A lovely shot of Burkes Wood

Melton Messenger – a Note from Alan – February 2021

Firstly a Happy New Year to all my readers. Clearly, I am reaching a larger audience than just writing in the Melton Messenger now that a slightly shorter version appears in the In Touch with Melton, Rendlesham & Woodbridge magazine. I have received some good feedback from readers and quite a few emails that I have been following up. Thank you for your support and interest. Our most recent Full Council meeting on 13th January was a lively event where many decisions were made and action to implement them will start straight away. We have a reputation for action rather than just a talking shop. Indeed Melton is a great place to live.

Hedge cutting & path clearance
The verge along Melton Road was cleared at the end of November 2020. The footpath had become very narrow as the vegetation from our land was creeping across the pavement making it only usable in single file. The contractors removed the vegetation to the edge of the pavement and I think they did a great job.

The annual hedge cutting at the beginning of December was done by our regular green space contractor. We always wait until long after bird nesting season. They were only able to do the roadside initially as the ground was too wet to take heavy vehicles onto the playing field. The remaining hedge cuts were carried out in January.

New Shield on the Beacon
A new shield has been fitted to the Beacon at the playing field and along with the other roundels looks really splendid.

Recreation Ground Car Park
The resurfacing of the car park and extension of the path to the Pavilion is an adjunct of the Pavilion Project later this year. We intend to mark out the spaces properly. Currently the car park is an odd shape and visitors seem to park in a random manner and the resurfacing is long overdue. I remember it being mentioned when I first became a councillor ten years ago, so now at last we are doing something about it. The car park will become more oblong in shape and will hold 23 cars instead of 18. It will include a disabled parking space and hopefully a bike rack.

CCTV
The CCTV has shown some quite disturbing anti-social behaviour even to the extent where there were shenanigans on Christmas night just before midnight. You would think people would have better places to be. However since we put CCTV in the level of anti-social behaviour is less than it was.

Quiet Lanes Suffolk
This scheme was started as a pilot in 2014/15 with support from Suffolk Highways. A previous Melton Councillor did some work on it and suitable candidates were considered but not pursued. Now there is a new push to build a network of Quiet Lanes, following the successful implementation. There is money going into the scheme and SCC want as many parishes as possible to achieve economies of scale. The idea behind the Quiet Lanes is to designate some of our rural roads as safe routes for pedestrian, cyclist and equestrian usage with signs indicating that these users take priority over motorised vehicles. There would be no change to speed limits, although in the future there may be strategic discussions about lowering the National Speed Limits along all these routes. There are two lanes nominated for this project and they have been accepted by SCC. They are Lodge Farm Lane & St Audry’s Lane, both are popular with local walkers and cyclists, and taken together they form an arc between Yarmouth Road and Saddlemakers Lane. The Footpaths project that the Assistant Clerk is working on links with this project as the proposed route leads to several public footpaths/ bridleways, potentially forming a circular route. There would be 4 signs required along the route. Our East Suffolk District Councillor for Melton, Rachel Smith-Lyte, has offered a grant towards the cost of the signage. There is a mandatory consultation required with local residents and we will arrange this.

The New Pavilion
The new pavilion is in the final phase of public consultation and even appeared in the EADT. We have had mainly positive comments so far so that is good. At last we can move ahead and get something done as the current building is in a very poor state now. This has been made worse by the fact that half of the roof felt blew off last year during a very windy night of stormy weather.

Tennis Court Netting
We are seeking funding from the East Suffolk Council PlayPot to replace the current fencing. It is in a poor state of repair and many patches have been applied where vandals have cut the wire to gain entry. The replacement will be fit for purpose and reflect the importance that we give to this popular facility. We will try and get this done quickly whilst the courts are not able to be used because of the restrictions. PlayPot funds are added to by builders and have now been replaced by the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). We have to use our funds as soon as we can.

Repaired dog poo bin

Doggy bin repair

The doggy bin near Saxon Way had lost its lid so our maintenance officer made up a new lid from scrap parts. Make do and mend is still alive and well in Melton.

Land Transfer from ESC
The 21 parcels of land that are to be divested from East Suffolk Council (ESC) have been mentioned before in previous writings. The process has been delayed due to Covid-19 and the fact that one parcel of land was actually registered as two. The plan was to transfer the land in two phases but it has taken so long that they will be transferred in one fell swoop to quote Shakespeare.

We will be doing a highly detailed tree survey on all the land that we own to ensure public safety and highlight any work that is needed. We knew this had to be done and an increase in our precept will be made this year to help with the costs. Owning these pieces of land means that we can make take good care of them as they are in our back yard. The first major change is to improve the piece of land off The Street opposite McColls and make some car park spaces and some pleasant landscaping.

Speed Indicator Device

Speed Indicator Device (SID)
After spending a while in Yarmouth Road, the SID has been moved to Melton Road. There have been a few teething troubles but we now have two batteries so there is less of a delay in getting it going again when the battery needs to be charged. It does seem to have an effect. We have six locations in Melton where we can move it to.

Budget 2021/22
Our recent Council meeting also approved a budget for 2021/22. After making budget provision for inflation and maintenance on the land transferred, the Council agreed an increase to the precept equivalent to 5 pence per week for an average property. Melton Parish Council’s precept is very low when compared with similar parish & town councils in East Suffolk.

The Melton Trust
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 much loved Burness Rooms.

Readers might remember that I have mentioned the Melton Trust in the past but, in this particularly difficult time, I want to remind everyone about it. The Trust was set up to make grants to residents of Melton “for the relief of need”. Anyone resident who can show they are in need, usually by being in receipt of state benefits, and has a particular need can apply for a grant. The trustees aim to respond quickly and are being as flexible as possible at the moment. Applications forms can found on the council’s website melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk/the-melton-trust-help-for-those-in-need/ or email meltontrust.suffolk@gmail.com

Sizewell C (SZC)
In December’s Melton Messenger, I said that Melton Parish Council would assess EDF’s latest consultation proposals for SZC. This we have now done. EDF’s key proposal was to reduce the transport of bulk material by road by moving it by freight train (at night) and by sea. EDF proposes to run freight trains overnight through Melton and Woodbridge for 11 years from 2023 to 2034, possibly 6 days per week. In the peak years, 2024 to 2028, EDF would run between 7 and 9 overnight train movements.

Even at the proposed speed limit of 10mph through Melton and Woodbridge, the train noise and ground vibration would be very disruptive to residents within sensory distance of the railway, as would the fanfare of barrier alarms as the trains pass the level crossings in both communities.

The Parish Council supports, in principle, the reduced movement of bulk materials by road but believes the movement of bulk material by train should only occur outside the hours of 23:00 to 07:00. Something which EDF has already agreed for Leiston. Our formal response to EDF’s consultation proposal can be viewed here: 201217-SZC-Consultation-Response-V-final.pdf.

The next stage of the SZC planning process, lasting up to 6 months, is the examination of EDF’s proposals by the Planning Inspectorate. The Examination stage will provide an opportunity for the Parish Council to submit further evidence in writing and orally (at virtual meetings). We wish, therefore, to compile evidence of local residents’ views on EDF’s plan to run freight trains at night through Melton and Woodbridge. Please email us at: cllr.banks@melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk

The Fete
One topic I must mention is the fate of the fete. With so much uncertainty, even with a vaccine, it seems highly unlikely we will be able to commit to going ahead with any plans for a fete this year. Apart from anything else, as things stand, the Pavilion would be out of commission and that has always been our focal point where we gather with friends old and new. Sadly, that just does not seem at all likely to happen this summer and it’s best to let people know now. The good news is that there are plans afoot for a four-day Bank Holiday weekend in early June 2022 and we could start planning now for the next Fete to be held in 2022. The reason for the celebration is the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and this is a golden opportunity for Melton because the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 is where it all started with the first Fete. The icing on the cake would be to plan the Grand Opening of the new Pavilion! Of course, it is not just up to Melton Parish Council to help run the fete so we will be looking for other helpers in the local community.

See, there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Cllr Alan Porter
Chairman – Melton Parish Council

 

Melton Messenger – a Note from Alan – December 2020

Melton Messenger
Currently there will be no paper copies delivered and this may not resume until the current Covid-19 crisis has been resolved one way or another.

At Melton Parish Council we are very aware that people don’t really like reading magazines online and that assumes that they have internet access which many do not.  It suddenly struck me that we have a few magazines delivered locally to almost every house so I thought I would contact them. Well I got a very quick response from the Editor of Woodbridge In Touch and my articles will also appear in that magazine.  So please look out for them.

Defibrillator Batteries
The batteries defibrilatorin the defibrillator are kept charged up by a mains connection.  The battery powers the light and also a small heater that keeps condensation out when the temperature drops below a certain level.  I think it is useful to reassure local people that the unit is maintained and ready to go at a moment’s notice.  A good friend of mine had a cardiac arrest at Cretingham Golf Club and they used a defibrillator to save his life.  He is still playing golf and is eternally grateful that there was a defibrillator nearby.  We are going to be given another unit by Bloor Homes when the building work is complete in Woods Lane.  We shall be looking for a 2nd location in Melton to fit it.  The new pavilion would be a logical place to put it.

 

Free Parking at East Suffolk Car Parks – Ringo App
I see that parking in the Hamlin Road car park in Woodbridge is free for 30 minutes and you can park anywhere not just in those few spaces by Elmhurst Park.  There are often queues of people lining up at the machines as it takes a while to get a ticket now you have to enter the registration number.

There is an option to use the Ringo App so I thought I would have a go at that. Before you can use the App you have to associate a debit or credit card with the App but you won’t be charged unless you select a period of more than 30 minutes.

If you enter the number 4401 and make sure you set the option not to receive either of the text messages then the Ringo parking is free.  Otherwise you pay 20p for the text messages.

The App is really useful as you will save time not having to queue up and also you can avoid touching the keypad which is good when we are living with Covid-19.

Now you have to enter your registration number onto the machine, you can only have one free 30 minute parking slot per day per location.  You can always use your partner’s car or park at another location on the same day.  For example if you park at 4401 Hamblin Road then you can park at 4403 Oak Lane later on.

Grants from Melton Parish Council
This year the pot for grant giving is not big but local Melton organisations can apply. You can contact the office for an application form or find out more and apply online at www.melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk/grants

New Plaques on the Beacon
Simon Benton has produced for us two new rounBeacon roundelsdels to commemorate the men and women of Melton who served their country in World War II.  These plaques commemorate the 75th Anniversary of VE day (Victory in Europe) & VJ Day (Victory in Japan). They and were paid for with the help of a grant from our District Councillor Rachel Smith-Lyte and a private donation from Colin Birkbeck.  The roundels have been fitted onto the pole that holds the beacon in the Recreation ground.  There is now a cover to protect the beacon and it also prevents it being used as a basketball net as has happened in the summer.

Remembrance Day
I laid a wreath on behalf of Melton Parish Council but I was only at the memorial for a short while as Covid-19 restrictions are obviously in place.  All the names are now easily readable as some restoration work has been done.  The WW2 memorial will be restored soon I am told.

Budget & Large projects 2020/2021
Currently we are having our council meetings online. Despite the pandemic, we still have plans to get a lot of things done in the next financial year.

We have a few large projects on the go.

  1. The first one is the Speed Indicator Device (SID) which hit some teething troubles. It is now in Yarmouth Road and appears to be working. There are 6 locations around the village that we can use.
  2. We have an architect doing a new design for the Pavilion and good progress is being made. This has been on the go since I joined the council in 2011 so it will be good to finally get it replaced with something useful. The original Pavilion was erected in 1949 and came into full use during 1952 so it has certainly served its time. Toilets that are accessible are a part of the design.
  3. We also have Suffolk Highways doing a design for two island crossing points in Melton Road. There will be double yellow lines as a part of the scheme to create visibility, so some street parking will be lost.  However this road is now so busy some safe crossing points are desperately needed.

All these projects are now in the advanced stages of planning and we will be holding focused public consultations about the Pavilion and crossing points.

Behind the Name: Melton in the Great War 1914-1919 BookBehind the Name book
We were involved with the Melton Heritage Group in the production of this great book.  Of the 300 copies printed, one sample of the book was sent to the British Library, but the Melton Heritage Group held back 5 copies in case the British Library wanted more. Recently the authors received a request from the Legal Deposit Libraries for the five copies. They are for The Bodleian Library, Cambridge University Library, The National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales and the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. Not every author receives these requests and clearly demonstrates that the book is of great value to researchers. There is also a new website to accompany the book – http://www.meltonww1.co.uk which includes additional material not contained in the book.

Census 2021 will provide a snapshot of modern society
Households across Melton will soon be asked to take part in Census 2021. The census is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives us the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. It has been carried out every decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941.

It will be the first run predominantly online, with households receiving a letter with a unique access code, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets.

“A successful census will ensure everyone from local government to charities can put services and funding in the places where they are most needed,” Iain Bell, deputy national statistician at the Office for National Statistics, said.

“This could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, schools and new transport routes. That’s why it is so important everyone takes part and we have made it easier for people to do so online on any device, with help and paper questionnaires for those that need them.”

Census day will be on March 21, but households across the country will receive letters with online codes allowing them to take part from early March.

The census will include questions about your sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. And, for the first time, there will be a question asking people whether they have served in the armed forces, as well as voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Results will be available within 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.

For more information, visit census.gov.uk

Sizewell C (SZC)
On 18 November, EDF launched a 30-day public consultation on proposed changes to its recently submitted planning application for Sizewell C.  These proposals are available to download online at www.sizewell.co.uk.

EDF says it has identified opportunities to deliver improvements to the Sizewell C project and to reduce some impacts.  Of key interest is the proposed reduction in the transport of bulk material by road by:

  • Increasing the frequency of freight train movements (at night)
  • Enhancement of the permanent beach landing facility and options for a new temporary beach landing facility to facilitate material imports by sea.

As always, we at MPC will assess what the impact of these proposals is on Melton and the surrounding area and respond to the consultation.

Melton Primary School
The children are settling back at Melton Primary school with great enthusiasm even though they now have to fit their day around “bubbles” and a lot of building work.  This year Christmas will be different but should still be a very special time for everyone.  The school is having a lot of building work done including a new roof and new doors and windows.  With the builders on site, parking is more difficult.  As visitors are not allowed into school to look around, there is a video on the web-site https://www.melton.suffolk.sch.uk/ which is a great way to see what the school is really like.

Christmas & New Year
This is the festive edition so I would like to take this opportunity to wish all readers a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.  Let’s hope we can make the most of this important time of the year, be kind to people and wish for a better 2021.

Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – November 2020

Melton Playing Fields
In order to keep the field in good condition we have spent some money on the grassed areas.

The lower field was becoming very weedy and patchy following the dry spell that occurred after the new seed was sown.  It has been treated with a broadleaf fertiliser which makes the weeds ‘overgrow’ and die.

In November all the grassed areas will be quadraplayed – the ground will be brushed, rolled, slit and brushed which will help to improve the condition of the field  – helping to reduce compaction and assist the percolation of surface water.  The slitting action cuts through the turf and the root zone leaving a thin slit on the surface and minimal surface disturbance. These slits encourage strong, healthy root growth of the grass plants, improving tolerance to drought conditions and promoting more rapid recovery after the damage caused by the adverse weather conditions.

Hedge cutting will take place later in the month, hopefully on the 19th and 20th November. We have liaised with the site manager at Lynton Homes to ensure that the road is kept free of their contractors’ cars on the 20th November when the roadside hedge will be cut.

The grass cutting will be carried out monthly from the 19th November, in line with our contract, returning to fortnightly in March 2021.

We have agreed a contractor to carry out the verge clearance along Melton Road. we are awaiting a date for this to be carried out.

You didn’t know looking after a bit of grass could be so involved did you?

There has been a person playing golf on the playing field. This is highly dangerous and is not allowed and we are on the lookout for the person concerned.  We are checking the CCTV but if you see anyone playing golf then please leave a message with the office on 01394 382224 giving details, time & date etc.

Overhanging trees on Wilford Bridge Road
MPC raised the issue of overhanging vegetation and trees along Wilford Bridge Road where the Electricity sub-station is forcing pedestrians to walk on the grass verge. This was raised with Highways and within a week the trees and vegetation had been cut back.

Grants 2020/2021
This financial year is quite a challenge for us but we still hope to give some grant money to worthy local causes.  MPC is hoping to run a small grants programme later this year and a decision will be made by Full Council on the 18th November. If you want to contact the Clerk for an application form, one will be sent if the grant programme has been agreed.  You will also be able to apply online at www.melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk

 

Speed Indicator Display

Speed Indicator Device

SID installed on Woods Lane by Phil Donoghue

Well after all this time the speed indicator has arrived and has been fitted in Woods Lane.  The traffic has definitely slowed so it seems to be effective already.  There are six locations that we can fit it in Melton so we will be moving it around from time to time.

 

We have got the version which collects data on traffic volumes and speeds etc.  This data will be invaluable when dealing with Highways so we can demonstrate the genuine volumes of traffic rather than using estimates.

The device had some initial teething troubles but I think it is working OK now.  It appears to be having the desired effect in slowing down traffic in Woods Lane.  We have now configured it to give the happy/grumpy face and the speed alternately.

 

Sizewell C

I thought I would put a good bit in about Sizewell C as it is such an important thing for us all in East Suffolk and will affect us for years ahead if the building goes ahead. Melton PC has spent a lot of time trying to put the best case for Melton.  I am very grateful in particular to Cllrs Bill Banks & Nigel Brown who have done much of the work.

The Council has made its formal submission for the “Pre-Examination” stage of the planning process and is now registered as an “interested party” on the Planning Inspectorate website, giving us the opportunity to put our case forward at the next stage of the planning process.

Our overall view is unchanged from previous stages of the planning process  –  we believe the community dis-benefits of Sizewell C far outweigh the opportunities for investment and any legacy benefits accruing from its construction.  Our submission (below) can also be viewed on the Council’s website at: https://melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk/sizewell-c/

 SZC – RELEVANT REPRESENTATION BY MELTON PARISH COUNCIL (MPC)

 The following summarises Melton Parish Council’s (MPC’s) main points/issues.  Crucially, Melton does not want its already significant traffic congestion to be exacerbated by SZC – supporting evidence

 MPC’s major concerns are:

  1. The current A12 is inadequate to cope with additional traffic generated by the new energy projects at Friston and Sizewell.  EDF’s plans for improving the A12 do not solve the problem.  Our supporting evidence contains suggestions for road improvements on the A12 and A1152 (paragraphs 17 to 19).
  2. The Friston and SZC energy projects will also lead to an explosion of rat-running through Martlesham, Woodbridge and Melton when drivers seek alternative north-south routes that avoid the A12 or the Southern P&R (supporting evidence paragraphs 13 to 15)
  3. We note the proposal to locate the Southern Park & Ride north east of Wickham Market and insist that the Stage 2 consultation option for it to be located adjacent to the Woods Lane(A1152) roundabout with the A12 remains off the table (supporting evidence paragraph 12).
  4. We welcome the decision to use rail and sea transport to reduce the number of HGV journeys.  We urge that more be done to maximise rail freight over road transport, as the levels of proposed HGV movements are still too high for Suffolk’s limited road network. 
  5. Sizewell night-time goods trains (speed-limited to 10mph) through Melton will cause noise disturbance. Melton homes likely to be adversely impacted should now be identified and appropriate mitigation measures secured as part of any consent.
  6. SZC will need 2-3m litres of freshwater daily, from an area of low rainfall where the frequency and severity of drought will worsen with climate change. We are concerned this will impact adversely on agricultural and domestic supplies and cause ecological problems in the region.
  7. It is inappropriate to install new pylons for SZC in an AONB.  This invasive approach was avoided in the 1980s for SZB, as it should be in the 21st century for SZC. We suspect this is a cost saving measure, not an unsolvable technical problem – and it should be reversed.
  8. We believe the community dis-benefits of SZC outweigh the benefits.  This mirrors MPC’s view following its community consultation event in March 2019.  The community will incur severe dis-benefits to transport, the environment and pollution, tourism, accommodation and community safety.  While the economic benefits to the supply chain and jobs are welcome, in the latter case they fall short of expectations. For new jobs, only a small proportion of the higher graded, senior, posts will go to local people.
  9. SZC strategies for delivering benefits and mitigating dis-benefits appear to have good governance arrangements.  But there is still much uncertainty.  Will all partner organisations sign-up to the strategies?  Will SZC put in sufficient investment?  There are huge risks to Suffolk’s £2bn tourism industry. SZC’s large transient workforce will inevitably place strain on existing housing and community infrastructure.

Interestingly, Suffolk County Council has stated it cannot support EDF Energy’s plans for Sizewell C in their current form, citing environmental concerns, the lack of mitigation for known problems and EDF Energy’s proposed transport strategy (predominantly lorry-based) and in the council’s view, it is unsustainable.

East Suffolk Council has stated that it recognises the positives to the scheme in relation to the local economy and skills.  It will continue to work pro-actively with EDF, the government and all stakeholders to get the best possible outcome for East Suffolk in terms of mitigation for the many concerns identified by local communities.

The next phase of the Sizewell C planning process is called the “Examination Stage”.  Here the Examining Authority has a maximum of 6 months to carry out the examination.  Interested Parties will be invited to provide more details of their views in writing. The Examining Authority will also ask written questions. Hearings may be held.  All documents received by the Planning Inspectorate will be published on the project page of its website.

We are certainly not alone with our objections. I received a nice email from Alison Downes at the Stop Sizewell C campaign group who advises me that “An incredible 63 Town and Parish councils registered as an interested party in the Sizewell C planning process.”

According to the Stop Sizewell C Campaign, 23 Towns and Parishes have let it be known that they do not support EDF’s proposals, consider the application should be turned down, or oppose the project entirely. Mapping these communities shows a strong correlation with the A12 and surrounding area, but communities further away registered too.

Of course the traffic on the A12 is one of the main issues that face us in Melton.

As before, Melton Parish Council will continue to play its part in the future stages of the Sizewell C planning process.

2012 Roundel on Melton Village Sign

Close up of 2012 Roundel

A closeup – you can see the flame effect on the torch

Simon Benton from SBD Ltd. has repaired the vandalised 2012 roundel.  He has coloured the ‘flame’ backing in his workshop using a heat treatment process and as it is made from stainless steel now so will last indefinitely.  He has done a fantastic job.

The two parts are pop riveted and epoxy bonded together so shouldn’t suffer from the same type of vandalism again.  He made no charge for his time, the only cost we incurred was the material for the backing which came to £30.  I think it looks amazing; thank you Simon.

 

Simon and Alan with the 2012 Roundel

Simon Benton & Cllr Alan Porter with the newly refurbished 2012 roundel

2012 Roundel

The newly rebuilt 2012 roundel has been refitted to the village sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAND DIVESTMENT FROM EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL (ESC)
You may recall my messages earlier this year about the agreement to transfer 21 pieces of land from East Suffolk Council to the Parish Council, namely:

1. Fayrefield Road Area of land between railway line and river
2. Open space in Riverview Melton
3. Land adjacent to 5 St Friars Court
4. Land adjacent to 20 Friars Court
5. Sports Ground, Hall Farm Road
6. Public Open Space Hall Farm Road
7. Public Open Space in Winifred Fison Close
8. Public open space in Saxon Way
9. Public open space between 1&3 Coppice Close
10. Public open spaces Area 1 Love Lane
11. Public open spaces Area 2 Love Lane
12. Land to rear of Saxon Way
13. Land corner Coppice & Saxon Way
14. Public Open space in Beresford Drive North
15. Land Area 3 to South Beresford Drive
16. Land Area 1 to South Beresford Drive
17. Public Open Space adjacent 31 Bury Hill
18. Public Open Space adjacent 19 Bury Hill
19. Public Open Space between 19, 21, 31 & 33 Bury Hill
20. Public Open Space between 25, 29, 37 & 43 Bury Hill
21. Land north of Bury Hill

All has been quiet for quite a while because COVID and other factors have delayed finalisation of the legal formalities but the lawyers now tell us that contracts should be exchanged soon.  ESC is promoting similar land transfers to Parish Councils across East Suffolk.  ESC’s aim is to achieve ongoing savings to its budget and strengthen third-tier service delivery.  ESC recognises that Parish and Town Councils are often best placed to deliver these services on behalf of their local community and also believes that transferring responsibility for assets not only helps to generate pride in a local area, but often secures a service that might otherwise have been at risk.  ESC are giving us a grant of £5,000 towards the conveyancing and legal costs.

The land divestment has been welcomed by Melton residents as it will allow MPC to protect and improve these green spaces, which have been rather neglected till now.

On completion of legal formalities, the land transfer will be phased with about half of the land parcels coming to MPC in this financial year (2020/21) and the other half will coming over in 2021/22.

Pavilion Project
There is a dedicated page for the pavilion project on the website at :-

https://melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk/recreation/pavilion-project/

After public consultation it has been decided that the Pavilion at the Melton Road Playing Field should be rebuilt, hopefully incorporating public toilets. At the meeting of Full Council on 16th September 2020, an initial sketch and floor plan of the proposed new pavilion from the architect was discussed.  It is on the website.

New Councillors
Following appeals for new councillors we have two enthusiastic volunteers wanting to join and they should be co-opted at the Full Council meeting in November.

I must say that I am very proud to lead a council where as soon as a vacancy appears I have people queuing up wishing to be a part of it.  That is one of the things that makes Melton a special place to live that people want to get involved and do their bit for the good of the community.

It’s a strange thing, I start off each month wondering what I shall write about and before I know it I have produced this article.  As I am not constrained by space in a magazine and the publication is online only, I can let it grow longer than usual.  People can browse at their leisure.

Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – October 2020

John Hargreaves receiving his award

John Hargreaves receiving his award

Melton Award
I was hoping to present the 2020 Melton Award at the Annual Parish meeting in April but of course the pandemic put paid to that.  This year the winner is John Hargreaves for all the work he does for Melton by helping out at the Burness Parish Rooms, the church, the fete and gardening around the village sign. I was hoping to give the award to John in person, but it seems that 6 months have passed and we are if anything further away from public meetings for large groups.  I popped over to give John his award in early September.

Visitors at Zoom Council meetings
I got a nice email from one local resident how said that it was really easy to join the Recreation Committee Zoom meeting on 9th September via the link on the MPC website, as a member of the public. She said “It was a real eye opener for me to see how the Council works and how much care is taken by the Councillors – thank you.  Provision of sports and play facilities are considered really carefully and environmental responsibilities taken very seriously. I didn’t realise that Woodbridge Youth Football Club use the playing field regularly but I also didn’t know that Melton has a thriving cricket club playing at St Audrys Club – this came from our District Councillor’s newsletter. Onwards and upwards Melton!”

Tree planting
Our tree warden is continuing to plant trees and will be putting some more in during the autumn months. Next year we intend to seek local volunteers to water them. We will be putting a list of the locations in a future Melton Messenger so watch this space.

Councillor resignations & vacancies
This month we have had 2 resignations from the Council.  Firstly Cllr Phil Groom has resigned for personal reasons.  Phil has been a very active Councillor and it was great to have someone from Longwood Fields (Woods Lane) on MPC.

Secondly Cllr Buffy Barrington has also resigned after 12 years on the Council.  Buffy was Chair of the Planning & Transport Committee for many years and she was the driving force behind the Neighbourhood Plan.  She has been beavering away working on the refresh to the plan which has to be done every couple of years.  Melton owes Buffy a great deal of gratitude for without her we would not have a Neighbourhood Plan.

Also Liz Ashford, who was a member of the public on the Recreation Committee, has also resigned due to personal commitments.

We are lucky that already I have a volunteer wishing to join. If you would like to join the Council then please contact me or the Clerk. We have a lot of projects on the go and despite the current restrictions we are still getting things done.

Village Sign 2012 Roundel
The 2012 commemorative roundel on the village sign is away for repair after the recent vandalism.  It is being made stronger in attempt to thwart future attacks.

Anti-social behaviour
We attend meetings of the local Safer Neighbourhood Team to represent Melton. We are fortunate that incidence is low but it’s not zero.

Reporting anti-social behaviour is important so that the Police can build up a picture of any problems in an area. You should dial 999 when life is threatened, or people are injured or there is a crime in progress and an immediate Police response is necessary.

Call 101, report online https://www.suffolk.police.uk/contact-us/report-something  or contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team if the offence has happened and the offender is no longer present.  You can email them at woodbridge.snt@suffolk.pnn.police.uk and find out more information at their website https://www.suffolk.police.uk/your-area/woodbridge

New Pavilion
We are in the process of drawing up plans to replace the Pavilion. A local architect has been appointed and once things are firming up the public will be consulted.  A central part of the project is the provision of toilet facilities.  The toilet will be accessible from the outside, probably only open during daylight hours, and there may be a charge for its use, potentially tap & pay with a phone or a card.  It is a critical balance between providing facilities but preventing anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

Neighbourhood Plan update
We are currently working on some minor revisions to the Neighbourhood Plan and we had some great feedback from our first Public Open Days at the beginning of February.  Despite setbacks due to Covid-19, we will do our next round of consultation with the local community on the proposed changes, drawn from the feedback we received.  You can see what that feedback is by looking at the 2020 Refresh page on the Melton NP website: https://www.meltonneighbourhoodplan.co.uk/

We obviously can’t have any more Open Days right now, but volunteers with the Melton Good Neighbour Scheme have kindly offered to deliver leaflets to every household in Melton.  When you receive this in the next month there will be opportunities for online responses to this via a survey, as well as sending your comments through on email or by letter.  In these social distancing times I think we are hoping for mainly online responses – but in whatever way you can, please look out for the leaflet and give your support by giving feedback as requested.

Well what with the Covid-19 restrictions it becomes increasingly difficult to come up with new things to write about in this column.  If you have anything you would like me to write about then please drop me an email.

The Melton Messenger will continue as an online publication for the foreseeable future so please let your friends know that they can read it online.

Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – September 2020

As you know if you are reading this then you are probably reading it via the St Andrews website or off our own Melton Parish Council pages.  I don’t think many people are bothering to look online so I think a lot of the effort is a bit in vain.  It takes a lot of work to put it together and my bit is just a small part.  Let’s hope that the physical delivered version of the Melton Messenger comes back soon.

Play Park reopens
We were pleased to be able to open the play park in July. We had to remove 3 swings, closed off one piece of equipment and placed lots of signs around the park reminding users to adhere to government guidance, maintain social distancing and to wash/sanitise their hands frequently. It appears as popular as ever.

The playground had its annual safety inspection with only a few minor points being highlighted and most have been fixed.  One issue raised was damage to the zip wire seat. By all accounts this damage was caused by a dog, with the owner actively encouraging it, and was witnessed by a local resident.  Very disheartening indeed.

Despite warnings on signs and in the media, I don’t think that all users are taking heed of social distancing as perhaps they should be.  This led to other councils being afraid to open their playgrounds but in the end they seem to have capitulated and opened them up despite the risks due to public pressure.

Melton Road Footpath
Over the years the vegetation has crept out from the hedge bordering the park and it has made the path very narrow.  We are looking into getting the footpath cleared back so it is wider for pushchairs and passing.  The vegetation has crept out my about two feet so this will make a big improvement to the path.

CCTV
A while ago I reported that we were considering having an electric gate to stop vehicles getting in after dark. To that end we laid cable along with draw strings from the pavilion to the main gate.  In the end an electric gate would have been very expensive, problematic and perhaps not resolved the issues.  However with the duct & cable installed we decided to install CCTV instead.  It seems that level of anti-social behaviour has reduced but we don’t know if CCTV is the reason.  It gives very good quality images and would help us and the Police to identify any perpetrators who cause trouble in the recreation ground.

Pavilion
We had a meeting of 8 councillors and a local architect early in August to continue the process of replacing the pavilion which has come to the end of its survivable life.  We are looking for a robust building with a similar footprint to the old building.  We have come up with some basic requirements such as low maintenance, vandal resistant and with a toilet accessible from the outside which is a major request from our community.  Once we get some draft plans we shall share them with the community.

Meetings
We put together an Interim Management Committee to oversee the council’s affairs during the Covid19 lockdown.  We have had conference calls and Zoom meetings.  The last of these meetings was on August 12th. We are resuming our normal schedule of meetings in what I guess people are now calling the ‘new normal’ situation. The meetings for the foreseeable future will be via Zoom with details on how to join on our website.

Date Meeting
Wednesday September 9th Recreation
Wednesday September 16th Full Council
Wednesday September 23rd Planning & Transport
Wednesday October 14th Finance, Employment and Risk Management (FERM)
Damaged roundel on village sign

Photo by Cindy Price

Village sign
We were disappointed to see the damage done to the village sign opposite McColl’s. The roundel commemorating the 2012 Torch Relay had been vandalised. We took it down and will get it restored with the help of local company SBD who did the original design for us. Hopefully we will get it back up again soon. Sadly, there has been too much petty vandalism lately.

Why anyone would think it is appropriate to deliberately damage public property, especially something that marks what was a great day in the village is beyond me.  Mindless comes to my mind.

On the positive side, it did bring back memories of 2012. The attached photo shows the crowds of local people who came out to watch the Olympic Torch pass through Melton.  It was a great day and kicked off many village events such as the Fete which we had to cancel this year – hopefully it will be back up and running again next year. It may have to be on a smaller scale in these uncertain times but we intend to get everyone together even if it is just for a big picnic!

Olympic torch in Melton in 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sizewell C
The Sizewell C (SZC) planning process has progressed to the Pre-Examination stage, which will run from 8 July to 30 September 2020. This is not a consultation.  It is an opportunity for consultees and the public to read the planning application and register on the PINS website (using the Planning Inspectorate’s Registration & Relevant Representation Form) to become an “Interested Party” by providing a written summary of their views on the application.  A registered “Interested Party” will then be kept informed of progress and have the opportunity to put their case forward at the next stage: the all-important Examination stage.

The Parish Council will be submitting a summary of its views on the planning application and registering as an “Interested Party”.

All of the latest SZC planning application documentation can be viewed at https://sizewellcdco.co.uk.  EDF is forecasting that a Government decision on the SZC planning application will be made in summer 2021.

Neighbourhood Plan
Our Neighbourhood Plan (NP) is over 2 years old and in order for it to be 100% effective it needs to be updated.  We are working on this but we have been a bit thwarted by the application to build on just half of the Carter & Warburg site and also the fact that the District Plan is still not formally issued.  We are trying to plough on despite these issues.

SID Stalks
Who is Sid Stalks I hear you cry, well for those of us in MPC he is a very familiar ongoing issue. SID stands for Speed Indictor Device and ages ago I said we were going to purchase a Speed Indicator and move it to different locations around Melton, rather than having it stuck in one place.  6 sites were identified and Suffolk County Council were charged with the job of fitting stalks at the 6 locations so we can mount our Speed Indictor Device.  Well at last, all 6 have now been fitted so we are ordering the device now.  Besides showing the speed and a happy/grumpy face, the device collects traffic date in terms of speeds and volumes so we will have data to back up any issues we raise with SCC highways.

Football pitch markings
Our green space contractor used satellite technology to mark out the white lines of the football pitches and they have done a great job.  It looks very good and the football club will just have to refresh the markings now and again.

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 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 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