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Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – September 2021

Vacancies for Parish Councillors
We still have two vacancies for Parish Councillors.  Perhaps now that the Melton Messenger will be delivered from September some new volunteers will emerge.

So I am again asking you dear readers to consider whether you would like to be co-opted as a Parish Councillor in Melton.  We have a lot going on and as you have previously read much has been achieved in the last few years.  It would be really great if we could get some younger people on the Council but everyone is welcome.

Any new people would be co-opted at the Full Council meeting on September 22nd.

If you are interested in joining the Council then please contact me or the Clerk at the office.

Vacancy for Parish Clerk
After being with us for over seven years our present Clerk; William Grosvenor is leaving at the end of December and we are therefore looking to recruit a replacement.  We always knew that William’s time with us would come to an end and I must state here that Melton owes him a great debt of gratitude.  This council has become the envy of many others in Suffolk and William has been central to all our achievements.  Much has been achieved but there is plenty still to do.

The Clerk has overall responsibility for the Council’s administration, staff, finance, governance, management of the Council’s assets and for providing councillors with appropriate advice and support. Over the last seven years the Council’s activities have grown considerably. The annual turnover is now well over £200,000 and additionally over the next few years we are spending well over £500,000 on projects which will improve both amenities and safety for residents. We are looking for someone with a management background, who is strong on governance, financial and business skills. The experience could have been gained in either the private or public sector, but candidates will need to be able to demonstrate an understanding of public sector management requirements, with the significance it attaches to public accountability and community involvement. The Council is also looking to refresh its Neighbourhood Plan, so some understanding of the complexities of planning policy and law would be an advantage.

Hours of work are likely to be negotiable, based on 25 hours a week, with the possibility of working from home for one day a week. Salary on the basis of a 25 hour week will be approximately £22,000. An application pack will be available from early September and meanwhile anyone who feels they might be interested is invited to contact William the current Clerk clerk@melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk for an informal chat.

Hall Farm Road Sports Ground
The Assistant Clerk and a few Councillors met with some local residents on August 9th to discuss ideas for improvements to the Hall Farm Sports Ground.  On Saturday 25th September between 2pm – 4pm there will be a drop in session at a gazebo on the field where local residents can see the proposals and give feedback..  So if you live in the Hall Farm area then please come along. Information will also be available on the website and noticeboards and flyers will be distributed in the immediate area.

The Recreation Ground Car Park and Barriers
We have been paid quite a few compliments on the quality of the work and how lovely it looks now that the works are complete.  I must admit the issue of the car park was raised at a meeting I first went to when I first became a Councillor but we didn’t have the resources to tackle such a task.  I am very pleased with the end result.  The work was very professionally done and the car park has really good foundations so it should last a long time.

Crossing points in Melton Road
Following a number of local consultations we have finally agreed the locations for the two crossing points in Melton Road; one near the Coach and Horses and the other near Old Maltings Approach.  Once fitted they may have the added benefit of calming the speed of the vehicles on this very busy road.

The Pavilion
Now that the asbestos survey has been carried out the old pavilion can be demolished and quotes are being sought for this work.

Traffic speeds in Melton
At the Planning & Transport meeting on July 21st quite a few members of the public came to the meeting and are concerned about the speed of traffic these days.  Now lock down has eased some drivers seem to be driving faster than ever.

Our Speed Indicator Device (SID) has clocked one vehicle in excess of 130mph and about 30 vehicles over 100mph.  The speed indictor device does not display any speed above 60mph but it does collect traffic data which will prove useful in discussions with Highways and the Police.

Of particular concern is the speed of vehicles in Bredfield Road and we intend to put a pair of posts in that road where we can mount our moveable SID device.  Of course this is a Highways job and will take a while.

NHS Thank you day Monday 5th July 2021
Melton Parish Council and invited guests participated in the national commemorations to thank the NHS on their 73rd birthday. On this day, Monday 5th July 2021, Her Majesty the Queen awarded the George Cross to the NHS, a rare event and acknowledgement of the huge contribution of the NHS during the pandemic over the past year. Due to social distancing and the rules on group sizes still in force, we were disappointed that members of the public were unable to join us for any of the events commemorating this occasion.

At 10am, Emma Needs, Volunteer Co-ordinator for the Melton Good Neighbours scheme and one of three winners of the Melton Community Award 2021 raised the NHS rainbow flag for the first time on our brand new flagpole at Melton Playing Fields. We thanked all the NHS staff and frontline workers, including members of the armed services, teachers and carers. Our guests joined us from local schools, GP surgeries and charitable organisations, all wishing to pay tribute. Councillor Bryony Abbott thanked everyone for their support and presented Emma with a bouquet.

Father Paul Hambling led us through the Silence at 11am in a brief and solemn period of reflection for all those who lost their lives during the pandemic. Bugler Steve Smith played the Last Post and then Father Paul asked us to give thanks for the wonderful spirit of co-operation and commitment in Melton, including our Good Neighbours Scheme and all those who kept us safe and provisioned.

Guests, including children from local schools, wrote messages of thanks, some tinged with sadness, describing their experiences over the last year and these will be compiled into an online memory book of Melton during the pandemic.

At 8pm, bells rang out 73 times at both St Andrew’s parish church and Melton Old Church.

Thanks to all the team of organisers for a worthwhile day. Melton really does punch above its weight on these occasions.

Levelling of the Playing Field
There was some soil left over from the work on the car park.  We thought it would be a good idea to use some of it to level out the dip on one of the football pitches.  This has turned out to be more difficult than expected but was carried out in August

Antisocial Behaviour
You can report a number of non-urgent crimes including theft, retail theft, criminal damage, hate crime, anti-social behaviour, and traffic collisions through the Suffolk Constabulary website, by calling 101 or report incidents when they happen to the Police through calling 999 if it is an emergency.  The URL to report is https://www.suffolk.police.uk/contact-us/report-something

You should contact 101 to report crime and other concerns that do not require an emergency response. For example, if your car has been stolen, your property has been damaged, you suspect drug use or dealing in your neighbourhood etc. You can also give police information about crime in your area or speak to the police about a general enquiry.

Helping Local Residents
Here is some good news on another way that the Parish Council helps local residents. A resident contacted us regarding overgrown shrubbery on Woods Lane so we raised a Highways ticket. Highways said they had resolved the issue initially, however the resident told us that was not the case so the office chased up Highways who then carried out further work. Good news is that the issue was resolved.  Sometimes organisations are very quick to resolve reported problems on their systems without actually doing anything.

We also contacted Network Rail regarding the pedestrian gates that had been installed at Melton Boatyard, which were very difficult open – especially for those less physically able or pushing a wheelchair/pushchair. After persistent chasing by the office, Network Rail changed the gates at the end of July.

Pygmyweed in the pond
A Suffolk Wildlife survey we commissioned has revealed we have an invasive species of plant in the pond in Burkes Wood.  Work will be carried out to help reduce the spread although it is very difficult to eradicate completely. This will involve removing as much of the pygmyweed as possible and covering the affected areas with matting.

To help stop the spread please keep dogs out of the water. They can pick up fragments on their coats and even the tiniest fragment is capable of regenerating in other water courses.

Alan Porter