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