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

Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – April 2020

Coronavirus/Covid-19
Current government advice is for everyone to try and stop unnecessary contact with other people – ‘social distancing’. We have decided to cancel all meetings that are currently scheduled. We will use technology to agree decisions. The office is closed to the public until further notice. We will keep our website up to date as far as MPC meetings are concerned.

Melton Primary School – governor needed
I recently mentioned that Melton Primary School was hoping to recruit some new governors. Unfortunately, no-one from Melton came forward. The school is a very important part of our community and it would be a shame if we could not provide it with a local governor.  Please offer your help if you can, the school is a central part of Melton life and after all is the future of our community. If you would like to know more please contact the head teacher Alun Davies in the first instance. The school contact details are Telephone: 01394 382506  Email: admin@melton.suffolk.sch.uk

Annual Parish Meeting
The Annual Parish Meeting (APM) scheduled for 29th April has been cancelled along with all the other meetings. At that meeting I usually make a presentation to somebody in Melton who has made a contribution to the local community. It is simply called The Melton Annual Award so look out for the next issue of the Melton Messenger to find out who the 2020 winner is.

Road Chaos
The first bit of chaos stemmed from the dangerous chimney on a house in The Street that resulted in a road closure lasting some days to be then replaced by traffic lights. There were some unpleasant incidents, thoughtless drivers and of course the effect on local business like McColls.

The confusion then spread to Melton Road where signs proclaimed a 5 day closure from the 9th March. Our staff chased up SCC Highways department and Triio who knew nothing of the proposed closure. It turned out the signs should have been put in Turnpike Lane and they were eventually moved.

The building work is progressing opposite the garage in Melton Road, it is due to be completed by Easter. I think they have done a good job in trying to keep the vans parked on the other side of the road. It’s just amazing how many people are involved.

Springside shop
I have heard that the much loved Springside shop is to reopen which is good news. We must try and use it where possible. This keeps local people employed and reduces car miles.

Latest on the divestment plots of land
The divestment of the first tranche of the land is now in hand with both sets of solicitors, but will not be completed by the 1st April as originally planned. I am sure it will be sorted out soon.

St Audrys Club
The St Audrys Sports and Social club would like more members. A lot of good work is done by the cricket and football clubs that are both thriving in Melton.

17 Riduna Park
Part of the plan to justify the purchase of the office at Riduna Park was receiving an income by letting out the upstairs office, as we have bought a duplex unit. I am pleased to report the signed tenancy agreement has now been completed. The tenancy finally completes the business case for the acquisition of Riduna, a matter which was doubted by some members of our community. The interest we pay is fixed for the life of the loan so we know exactly what the repayments will be as we proceed.

Crime Reporting
Melton is a comparatively safe area but if crimes are not reported then sometimes a pattern of low level crime can’t be established. 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: www.suffolk.police.uk/contact-us/report-something or report incidents when they happen to the Police through calling 999 if it is an emergency.

Tree Warden Report
A planting opportunity was identified at the Burness Rooms and Transition Woodbridge were notified, who keenly took it up as part of their ‘Scattered Orchards’ programme. 60 small trees have been requested (free of charge) from the Woodland Trust for delivery in November 2020. These will be useful if the hedge alongside Turnpike Lane fails to recover from the builders’ works this spring. One Saturday last month, 6 volunteers turned out to do maintenance on the surviving (90 out of 105) saplings alongside the ditch in the recreation ground and to fit further green tubes which we have managed to acquire. Hopefully they will have established good roots by now and will prosper this year! One of the tree warden’s volunteers has expressed interest in becoming the Tree Warden in 12 months’ time. In the meantime Lindsay Dann is happy to carry on.

Melton Fete
It is with regret that the 2020 Melton Fete scheduled for Saturday 18th July has been cancelled due to the ongoing issues with the Coronavirus and other circumstances outside our control. We are sorry for the disappointment this will cause. A lot of local groups rely on the funds raised at the fete to keep themselves going. There is a possibility a smaller event maybe staged later in the year.

Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – March 2020

In the middle of January I walked from Melton Station and then down Melton Road with a delightful lady from Suffolk County Council Highways and David Steptoe who is a friend of the council and a retired highways engineer himself. You know people mean business when they have a clipboard and Julia was suitably armed with one. The footpath from Melton Station to the traffic lights is in a grim condition with overhanging branches and bushes obstructing the route. The path is made much narrower by the encroaching grass and soil. At one point the tarmac path disappears under a mound of rotting leaf litter. She aims to get this sorted out. We also found quite a few loose kerbstones, wobbly (noisy) drain covers and other items for attention.

The main thrust of the walk was to identify 2 or 3 locations along Melton Road where refuge islands could be fitted and I think we found three. These refuges bolt to the ground so can be moved during resurfacing works. They also don’t need mains power. We intend to fund these by using Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funds. Melton Road is difficult to cross and these will certainly help. Of course like all these things it will take time but I am hopeful it will be done before too long.

Neighbourhood Plan/CIL projects

We held two Open Consultation Events at our office on the 7th and 8th February for Melton residents to give their views on updates to our Neighbourhood Plan (NP), which is now 2 years old, and the spending of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funds. For it to be effective the NP needs to be refreshed every couple of years. There is more information on the NP website. Many thanks to the residents who visited the drop-in sessions and gave us their feedback about the new NP and those sites within the village that need protecting from development. We will be displaying the results in the council office before the start of each committee meeting.

We will also be giving further opportunities for residents to give their views online and by filling in forms, through our online survey. Quite a few have responded already so please join in and make your voice heard. It can be completed at https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/meltonnp/.

VE/VJ Day

We have asked Simon of SBD Limited to engrave the Beacon in the Recreation ground and produce a new roundel to commemorate 75 years since the end of WW2. There will be celebrations all over the country in May. Jim Bidwell gave us some money and we need to use it by end of March. It will all fit in with Simon’s previous excellent work on the village sign and the Beacon. Although the war in Europe finished in May 1945 it actually dragged on until August 1945 in the Far East and due to the number of troops from East Anglia that served there, we should also have a roundel for VJ day.

Residents have claimed a new footpath around the bowling green at Melton Park, previously St Audry’s. The group would like to hear from anyone locally who remembers visiting the Bowling Green and using the path which joins up with Yarmouth Road.

I think it is fitting after all the recent research done by Melton Heritage Group that our WW1 War Memorial has now been listed as a scheduled monument by Historic England. You can visit the memorial in the grounds of St Andrew’s Church where it has stood since 1920.

Melton Good Neighbour Scheme

An email has been sent to people that kindly volunteered to help with the Melton Good Neighbour Scheme. Anyone else wishing to help or would like more information should email meltongns@gmail.com

Land Divestment

In the Melton Messenger for December and February, I reported that news of the land being divested by East Suffolk Council (ESC) to the Parish Council had been well received by the people of Melton and that our precept would rise next year because of the extra woodland maintenance costs. Even with this increase, Melton’s new precept would remain significantly lower than most comparable councils. The solicitors for both MPC and ESC are now engaging with each other and the conveyancing of the parcels of land that are to be transferred this year is now under way. We do understand the huge increase in the responsibilities of the Parish Council but we also see the opportunities they present.

ESC’s proposed budget for 2020/21 explains the bigger picture on land divestment. ESC has an efficiency strategy that includes the transfer of amenity and community assets to Parish and Town Councils. The stated aims are to achieve ongoing savings to the ESC’s 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. For 2020/21, around 70 assets have been transferred to local Town and Parish Councils, including Waveney Meadow to Beccles Town Council, a boating lake to Southwold Town Council, allotments to Felixstowe Town Council and Oak Meadow to Kesgrave Town Council plus, of course, the land transferred to Melton.

Melton Spring Clean

We will be doing litter picks in Melton as part of the Great British Spring Clean campaign so please come along on the dates given if you would like to join in:

Sunday 22nd March 10 am-12pm Meet at Melton Riverside car park: Rubbish Walk. To help pick along the river path :(note this is Mothering Sunday). Many volunteers will be most welcome.

Friday 27th March 10:00 am Meet at Honey and Harvey, Riduna Park. Litter picking around St Andrew’s Place/The Street/Station Road.

Sunday 5th April 10am –12pm Meet at Melton playing field
Melton Playing Field, Pick and Play family event – bring your children too.

The long term aim is to do a litter pick once a month with combined help from Transition Woodbridge, Rubbish Walks and local volunteers. Please send an email  Councillor Peter James if you are to support any of these Litter pick events: cllr.james@melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk

Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – February 2020

Christmas and New Year are over and now for the long struggle through January where for many there is too much month left at the end of the money, although I get the feeling that people have not been spending as much as they did in the past. However you spent the festive season, I do hope you had a great time. For me, December is a month where I don’t have to write this article so now that January is upon us I had better get cracking.

Land Divestment
The news of the 21 pieces of land being divested by East Suffolk Council (ESC) has been well received by the people of Melton. I am now pleased to report that the proposals previously agreed by MPC have now been passed by ESC, subject to the formality of call in for scrutiny which is unlikely to be an issue in this case. The legal formalities will be able to start shortly. The Heads of Terms will come to Full Council in March. We do understand the huge increase in the responsibilities of MPC but we also see the opportunities they present. I mentioned in December’s Melton Messenger that Melton’s precept will rise next year because of our extra woodland maintenance costs. On the other hand, ESC’s costs will reduce by a similar amount and help to ease their council tax rate for 2020/21. Even with this increase, Melton’s new precept would remain significantly lower than most comparable councils.

Melton Primary School
Jane Reed (Interim chair of governors) at Melton Primary School wants to recruit new governors from the local community to strengthen its small but committed governing body. If you would like to know more please contact the head teacher; Alun Davies in the first instance. The school contact details are 01394 382506 and admin@melton.suffolk.sch.uk. Alun will be happy to meet you and show you around the school. While people with a variety of skills would be welcome they would be especially interested to hear from those with a financial background. Please offer your help if you can. The school is a central part of Melton life and after all is the future of our community.

On the 13th December I held a little gathering at the office for people who were involved in the fete. Melton Folk played some music and Alun Davies brought some talented children along to sing and play musical instruments. The event was topped off by a visit from Father Christmas with gifts for the children. I am so pleased that the office purchase has all worked out so well and we are back in Melton with a tenant upstairs.

With all the rain we have had since October I am very glad to report that the lower end of the recreation ground is still easy to walk on. If the drainage work had not been done the field would have been a quagmire by now.

Before the January Full Council meeting, our East Suffolk District Councillor Rachel Smith-Lyte held a Councillor Surgery at our office on 15 January, 2020 between 5:30 pm – 6:15 pm. This is the first time this has ever been done in Melton. Some people did come along, so if you would like to talk to her about things that involve issues at ESC level then pop in and see Rachel at her next session on the 18th March. The details will be on the MPC website.

I have been told that some people are not clearing up after their dogs, apparently The Street and Station Road are particularly bad. I must say the playing field hasn’t been too bad recently. Please clear up after your dog.

2020 is set to be yet another hectic year for Melton Parish Council. We have a meeting set with the Highways department to see about getting some crossing points installed along Melton Road. Of course all these things take time and although the speed of delivery often appears to be glacial, in the end things do get done.

I have already reported on the reintroduction of the solitary Orford – Ipswich Bus service 71, at least as far as Martlesham Park & Ride. From the same date (17th November), minor changes to services 70, 70A, 72 and 972 were made, presumably to release a bus for the 71. We continue to meet with First Bus to press for improvements to local services.

Our Parish Tree Warden, Lindsay, has been in post for almost two years and would like to hand over to someone else in the not-too-distant future. This voluntary post can be just as demanding or undemanding as the jobholder decides and could appeal to someone who enjoys fresh air and helping the environment. Lindsay would be pleased to talk to anyone interested and can be contacted via the Parish office.

We now have Recorders in Melton, they are Claire McBurney and Mary Burgess. Basically it involves keeping a record for posterity of notable things going on in Melton, of which there are quite a few! I think they will be writing a few words for the next Melton Messenger so we can look forward to that. I would like to thank them for taking on the role.

Sizewell
Just before Christmas, EDF published a summary of the public responses to its Stage 4 consultation on Sizewell C (SZC). The headline messages were:
• Most respondents didn’t express views of outright support or opposition to SZC;
• Concerns were again expressed about environmental issues and the adverse impact on tourism and communities;
• Transport strategy – There were concerns about traffic/congestion under each of the transport options and concerns about rail noise at night;
• There was general support for the 2-village bypass;
• Only 10% of respondents offered a view on the pylons;
• Jobs & Training – views were split on the value of the jobs generated by SZC and people were sceptical about how many jobs would be sourced locally.
EDF did not announce any plans to change their consultation proposals materially. That said, EDF has formed working groups with representatives from Wickham Market and Leiston to work on traffic and parking issues. EDF also said it may consider “minor re-alignment” of the 2-village bypass following the Stage 4 consultation responses.

EDF stated that its formal planning application is likely to be submitted by “mid-2020”. EDF reckons it is theoretically possible that the Secretary of State could make a decision on the planning application by late 2021.

Parking
Councils in Suffolk are ramping up activity in order to take on responsibility for local parking management from 6 April 2020. Parking patrols in Suffolk will soon be managed by district and borough councils, in a bid to improve parking locally and drive down nuisance and unlawful parking in towns and villages across Suffolk. Traditionally, roadside parking offences were a matter for the Police. However, parking has become a lower priority for them, so Suffolk County Council is transferring this responsibility to local district and borough councils under a process known as civil parking enforcement, or CPE. Moving the responsibility from the Police to local councils requires that statutory legislation is passed by the UK government. The parliamentary order should be made on 30th January. This legislation was previously held up by Brexit.

The upshot of this is that East Suffolk Council will employ parking enforcement officers (Traffic Wardens) who will be able to issue tickets. This is most likely to be taken on by NORSE. So from the 6th April be very careful where you park as this will no doubt prove to be a nice little earner for ESC that I predicted some while ago.

Refresh of our 2 year old Neighbourhood Plan (NP)
We are holding two Open Consultation Events at our office on Friday 7th February 6-9pm and Sat 8th Feb 9-12pm for Melton residents to give their views on updates to our Neighbourhood Plan, which is now 2 years old. For it to be effective it needs to be refreshed every couple of years. There will be more information on the NP website www.meltonneighbourhoodplan.co.uk but please do come along to one of these sessions to give your feedback. We will also be giving further opportunities for residents to give their views online and by filling in forms, through a survey and at future open events.

These sessions will also be seeking resident’s views on how we intend to spend our Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) income. We have a number of large projects in mind and we need to ensure they meet local needs and aspirations. This is very important, please try and come along.

Cllr Alan Porter
Chairman – Melton Parish Council

Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – December 2019

On Remembrance Day, the Book Behind the Name was finally published. Thanks to all involved and I hope everyone has had a chance to see the results. There is one in Woodbridge Library available for public reference. This is a very impressive tome covering the whole village and its production demonstrates how Melton punches above its weight!

More good news, after a joint town & parishes bus meeting on 29th Oct I’m pleased to say that our request for a way forward for the 71 bus service was listened to and taken seriously and a new service will start on Monday 18th November. All credit to First Bus and SCC for making this happen. Please note that the new service will operate differently to its predecessor, see the First Bus website for details.

It is almost Christmas; so it is a time to discuss gifts, well this month I am going to talk about land that East Suffolk Council (ESC) intend to give to Melton Parish Council (MPC). Clearly they are doing this to save money but also because we have been asking them to divest certain pieces of land for ages for the benefit of the village.

They have come back to us with an offer of 21 pieces of land. It is a take all or none scenario, we were not given a chance to pick and choose. So what’s involved? Well as you can imagine, quite a lot. Ownership of the land would be transferred in two batches in 2020 & 2021. ESC will give us a grant of £5000 towards the conveyancing and legal costs. We will have to cover the rest. The ownership of the land will be properly registered at UK land registry so it should be a simple process.

There are two main advantages with MPC taking on these parcels of land, firstly they will be protected from unwanted development and secondly we can use Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funds & other funds to improve these green spaces, which have been rather neglected till now. For example we might be able to fit some play equipment at Hall Farm and make the area around Winifred Fison House a landscaped space available for car parking – both of which are things we aimed to do through the Neighbourhood Plan. This would also provide extra car park spaces near McColls which is always a problem area for short term parking. MPC can’t do any of this unless we own the area.

The 21 parcels of land that would become the property of the village are:-

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

We have completed a land survey and have confirmed that there will be a need to fund ongoing maintenance from cutting grass to sorting out old trees in all areas, plus some areas will need additional works to make them safe. The costs of developing parking outside Fison House will also be costly, but we believe this is the right thing to do to improve and protect the facilities within Melton and these days it is now down to the Parish Council to do these things because no-one else will fund it.

In order to maintain the extra land assets we have had to look at the parish council budget accordingly. Melton receives a proportion of the council tax, known as the precept, each year. Melton’s precept is extremely low when compared with surrounding town & parish councils such as Woodbridge, Martlesham and Rendlesham. For example, based on a band D property, Melton residents pay £44.71 per year which is less less than half of what you would pay if you lived in Woodbridge and less than a third if you lived in Rendlesham.
We can fund capital expenditure on the new land from CIL or other funds we can tap into but we will have to pay increased maintenance costs each year As a result, we are considering putting up our share of the precept by the rate of CPI inflation (estimated at 1.7% but subject to change when the CPI rate is confirmed) plus an additional amount to cover some of the increased maintenance costs. We think that an increase of £3.00 per year for a band D property would be enough to mitigate some of the extra maintenance costs in 2020/2021. This is an increase to £47.70 per year, or 25p per calendar month or 30p per month if you pay in 10 monthly instalments per property. The overall charge would still remain significantly lower than Woodbridge, Martlesham or Rendlesham. Melton would still be 13th in the list of local towns & villages. The table below show the 2019/2020 Band D precept comparisons.

No Name Precept per Band D Comparison with Melton
1 Leiston £166.83 3.73
2 Rendlesham £145.38 3.25
5 Framlingham £103.72 2.32
6 Woodbridge £99.97 2.24
7 Wickham Market £73.67 1.65
10 Martlesham £62.41 1.40
13 Melton £44.71 1.00
19 Grundisburgh £30.09 0.67

The increase would be used to pay for the extra work that would be needed to manage our green spaces and we hope that residents will support us in our plans to secure these public open spaces for the future. We have in the past always been very careful not to raise the precept by more than the minimum necessary, but we believe this small increase will reap big benefits for all residents and so for once we feel it is worth it. It is also worth mentioning that while Melton’s maintenance costs will increase, ESC’s revenue costs will reduce by a similar amount and help to ease their council tax rate for 2020/21. So in theory it is a transfer of cost from ESC to MPC.

Further details of the current precepts charged by towns and villages can be found on our website accompanied with the reports on the state of the land we are proposing to take on. If you have any questions or want to comment, please either write or email to the Parish Council using the contact details available on our website

Karl Savill; the manager at Thurlow Nunn Standen in the Street are sponsors of the Melton fete. They are having an open evening on Thursday 5th December 3pm-7pm. Come along to meet the team & see their vast range of products. There will be special offers on the day, as well as prize draws and refreshments. There is plenty of free parking on site and everyone is welcome.

We are receiving Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) money from the building work that is ongoing in Melton. We intend to consult more widely next year on other projects but I thought I would get the ball rolling. The idea is to build a pedestrian crossing or a refuge in Melton Road. Somewhere between the Coach & Horses and the entrance to the Recreation Ground. We estimate the cost to be around £50,000. This work would normally be Suffolk County Council responsibility but they have no funds for this work. The level of traffic makes it very difficult to cross the road easily and safely.
If you agree that this is a good use of our CIL funds then please tell us by email or letter to me or to our office. I know we have to get Suffolk CC Highways on board but the sooner we start the sooner we can get things done. At this stage I just wish to gauge the level of support for such a project.

Lastly, I have to tell you that John West; who was a former MPC Councillor and Vice Chairman passed away on 12th November. We intend to mark his time with us by planting a tree with a plaque somewhere suitable in the village, we will also plant one for Jim Bidwell I think it is an enduring way of commemorating people who have made a significant contribution to life in Melton. These two gentlemen will be sorely missed by all those who knew and worked with them on behalf of Melton and its people.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Cllr Alan Porter
Chairman – Melton Parish Council

Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – November 2019

The Melton Messenger editorial team were mortified that they had failed to spot the words “oops late again” that had been printed at the top of my article last month. It certainly was not typed by me and nor was I late. I don’t know how they got there, in fact when my MM arrived I never even spotted the words. I am sure it referred to something else. The Melton Messenger is put together by volunteers who work really hard to make the content interesting and varied. It is another jewel in the crown of Melton, long may it continue. If you see an appeal for volunteers in the future then please consider getting involved.

Melton Parish Council has been in contact with the Suffolk County Council Passenger Transport Team and revised timetables have been procured and have been installed in the various bus timetable cases on bus stops and on the Parish notice boards as well. There will be a link to the timetables on our new Melton Parish Council website which is now in service. We are doing all we can to help local bus users to access bus information despite the fact it is not really our job. We have even put laminated timetables on the bus stops that don’t even have a timetable case.
Woodbridge Town Council is trying to rally support from the other parish councils to try to get some improvements in the bus service that has been cut so dramatically since September 1st with more cuts to follow on 2nd November. At least it’s a great effort to get parishes working together and is something that has not been tried for a long time. I went to the meeting today (15/10/19) and there is a great spirit of co-operation not seen before. We will meet again on the 29th October when First Bus managers will also be there.

I was too late for a stop press with the October edition to say that at the last minute the planning application for the St Audry’s bowls green was withdrawn. This now makes three controversial planning applications that have been withdrawn: the bowls green, the Carter site near St Andrew’s and the former SCDC offices site (cheese wedges). I suppose some or all may well be resurrected so we will have to keep a lookout for them. On the 22nd October the former SCDC site planning application came up again at East Suffolk Council. The officers recommended approval and indeed it was by all of the committee with only one vote against despite all the objections. Those people at the meeting are askance at the decision despite so many well-reasoned arguments by many eloquent objectors. I wonder what will happen next, I am sure this saga has more twists to deliver.

One of our potential bigger projects is the Pavilion at the playing field. It’s not good enough to repair and something must be done about it. We want to replace it with a nice modern building that will be durable, vandal resistant and low maintenance. If you have any thoughts or ideas on what facilities you would like to see incorporated in any new building on the site contact the Parish Council by emailing finance@melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk.

Melton Parish Council were invited along to Melton Primary School to meet the Puffins and Parrots classes which is years 1 & 2. They are finding out a lot of things about ‘My Melton’ and our visit was a part of that learning experience. For such a young group they were very attentive, well behaved and full of interesting questions which Councillor Katy Martin and I did our best to answer. Miss Charlotte Jones, one of their teachers, took some photos in the hope they would get published in the Melton Messenger. How could I refuse! The children are a real credit to the school which has improved greatly during the years I have been involved with the council. If these youngsters are the future of Melton then I think we are in safe hands. They really are a delightful bunch to be with and I came away very impressed with their level of interest on what could have been a dry subject.

There was a good turnout at the Melton Local History Society October meeting. A talk was given by Robert Blake about the history of St Audry’s. One of our councillors who lives there spoke about what it is like now- timely in view of the threat of development, as I have mentioned elsewhere in my article. What a pity the Local History Society is closing down after 3 active years. Their programmes were well supported and the committee have done a great job, but nobody has come forward to take it on for the next three years! Come on Melton, surely there is someone interested in continuing the work of the Society. Save our History Society!

The book Behind the Name: Melton in the Great War has been researched over the last five years, by three members of the Melton WW1 Heritage Group and is now at the printers. It does not just remember the men on the War Memorial but also those men that returned and the women who volunteered as nurses. It is quite a large book at 420 pages of print, photos and drawings by a Melton artist of some of the houses as they are now.

It has been decided that there will be a limited number of copies of the book printed, so it will be available on a first come first served basis. The book is to be launched over the 9th and 10th November at St Andrew’s Church, Melton. Quite a few people have already pre-ordered their copies and they can be collected either on the Saturday between 10:00 to 16:00 or on Sunday after the Remembrance Day service from the church. Anyone wishing to obtain a copy will be able to by donating £15 towards the printing costs. If anyone is unable to attend and wants to reserve a copy they should e-mail meltonww1@gmail.com.

Last month I mentioned the Deben Café on HMS Vale, I incorrectly said that the café would only be open at weekends once late autumn comes In fact it will be open for long weekends; Friday to Monday.

The first volunteering drop-in session took place at the beginning of October and we had a number of people express an interest in getting involved with volunteering at the school and the Good Neighbour Scheme. The second session was planned for the end of October and hopefully that will also have been a success. If you couldn’t make it to one of the sessions but are interested in getting involved please email Pip Alder at finance@melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk

As usual, I will attend the Remembrance Sunday service at St Andrew’s Church on November 10th and I will lay a wreath on behalf of MPC.

We have decided to move the notice board on Melton Road to just inside the gate by the car park in the playing field. We believe the new location will attract a wider audience.

Every year we receive applications for small grants. This year we received applications from the Burness Parish Rooms, The Village Produce Association (VPA) and the WW1 Heritage Group for funds towards the book “Behind the Name”. The finance committee are recommending a share of the £1000budget to all three organisations and this will be ratified at the next Full Council meeting.

One of our councillors resigned recently due to international work commitments, already I have a new volunteer wishing to join us & that should happen at the Full Council meeting in November. It is most gratifying that people see we are making a difference and wish to join in.

Cllr Alan Porter
Chairman – Melton Parish Council