After years of waiting Lodge Farm Lane and St Audry’s Lane have been designated as Quiet Lanes. There is no enforcement, but the signs just ask road users to be a bit more considerate of walkers, cyclists & horse riders. This completes another project for Melton Parish Council but I shudder to think how many years it took.
Meetings of the Council
As you know at MPC we are always looking for ways to do things more efficiently. We have decided that the current system of having formal committees for Finance, Planning and Recreation issues is too cumbersome and leads to matters being considered in committees and the Full Council meetings. Each additional formal meeting that we have requires work from our Clerk and Assistant Clerk to service those meetings and Councillors giving up personal time. There have been occasions where there are as many as three formal meetings within the same month.
We now intend to deal with all formal business in the Full Council meetings. There are planned to be ten of these each year and the public is welcome to attend any or all of them. The agenda will be split into sections for the various areas Planning, Finance, Recreation etc. and we will be flexible in amending the running order if there are items that members of the public wish to see dealt with first. Should a very important and urgent issue arise between scheduled Full Council meetings an extraordinary meeting could be called. If there are some items on which an in depth study is required to develop a recommendation for Full Council, for example formulating the annual precept or a complicated Planning issue, informal working parties of councillors can meet between the formal meetings.
This will be a new way of doing things and no doubt we will have a few teething problems on the way but we believe we can better deploy our resources to service the Melton Community rather than spend too much time on meetings and paperwork. I’ll keep you informed as to how we are getting on.
By the time you read this we will already have started the process so please check the website for meeting dates.
The Melton Pavilion
Now that the snagging work has been completed on the Pavilion and given the weather is improving, Melton Parish Council will be formerly opening the Pavilion on Saturday 25th March.
Those involved in the development and delivery of the new Pavilion have been invited to a small gathering at 12.30. Residents will be welcome to join us from 2.00 onwards. We plan to close the Pavilion at 5.00 or a bit earlier if it is quiet.
There will be an exhibition by the WI Photography Group of the local area along with an exhibition from Melton School. Melton Parish Council will also be exhibiting a storyboard of the construction of the Pavilion from demolition through to the more recent activities.
Light refreshments will be provided and I will be unveiling a commemorative plaque.
Currently the Pavilion is being booked by local groups and is proving to be a popular venue. The fully accessible public toilet is open from 8am – 4pm in the winter months and will be open until 8pm in the summer.
I hope to see as many local people as possible on the 25th to see the facilities on offer at our new building.
Budget & Precept 2023/24
Regular readers of my column will know that Melton Parish Council is very active in working on behalf of Melton and developing its amenities. Following on from last year’s building of a new car park and improving the tennis courts, we have built a new Pavilion with a public toilet and improved the parking near Winifred Fison House. The transfer of land from East Suffolk Council continues to bring additional costs in respect of woodland maintenance, tree planting and footpath improvement.
Before Christmas, I mentioned that the Parish Council has incurred additional costs as described. In planning next year’s budget, we have struck a balance between mitigating some of the cost pressures and increasing our income through the council tax precept. At our January Full Council meeting to set the budget for 2023/24, an increase in the council tax precept was agreed of 10 pence per week for a Band D property. It remains the case that Melton has the third lowest council tax charge out of the 19 medium-to-large Parish and Town Councils in East Suffolk. To illustrate the point, Melton Parish Council’s council tax charge is about half that of Woodbridge Town Council. It is also significantly lower than those for the other nearby councils of Wickham Market, Framlingham, Aldeburgh, Saxmundham, Rendlesham and Leiston.
A list of projects and events we have completed was in the last Melton Messenger and will be presented at the Annual Parish meeting.
Local Elections 4th May – Voter ID
As you will be aware, voters will be required to show photographic ID at polling stations from 4 May 2023. This is a new thing this year and the easiest way round it is to have a postal vote.
However if voting at a polling station, here are some of the acceptable forms of ID:
- UK or European Economic Area Passport,
- Photo driving licence,
- Biometric immigration document,
- Blue badge,
- Older person’s bus pass.
The full list of acceptable ID and how to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate (VCA) (for those without any acceptable ID) can be found here: https://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/voter-photo-id/ The last date to apply for a VCA is the 25th April at 5pm.
All elections information will be published on the East Suffolk website here: https://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/east-suffolk-council-parish-elections-thursday-4-may/
If you are interested in standing for election as a Melton Parish Councillor please contact the office for more information or visit the ESC website. Nominations open from the 16th March and close on the 4th April.
Councillor Alan Porter
Chair – Melton Parish Council