As we move to the end of the calendar year, I am sitting here, reflecting on the amount of work Melton Parish Council must get through in the rest of this financial year and beyond. Engagement with EDF on Sizewell C; engagement with the Love Woodbridge and Melton project; reviewing and updating of the Neighbourhood Plan; engagement with other local town and Parish Councils about the increasing traffic in the area especially on the A1152; and rebuilding of the Beresford Drive Play Park are just a few of the key projects we have on the go. Alongside this we have the usual ongoing maintenance and management of our land and buildings.
For a small Parish Council of volunteers and three part time staff, it never ceases to amaze me how much we are expected to do and how much we get done. Without a Parish Council working with the larger local authorities, quite simply, Melton and its residents would get overlooked, despite having East Suffolk Council (ESC) on our doorstep. So, I would like to pass on my thanks to all those who get involved and help us remain visible when it comes to making decisions about what happens in Melton. We will be advertising for two new Councillors shortly to Join Melton Parish Council. Please do give it some thought? We need committed and passionate people who feel they want a say in what happens in Melton. We would particularly like to hear from anyone living in Longwood Field or Hall Farm estates as these areas are not currently represented. Give me a call via the office if you want to know more.
We were disappointed that both the meetings for the Love Woodbridge and Melton events in Melton were cancelled by the Project Team. Cllr John Bann is about to join the Project Board along with Cllr Nicoll and our Parish Clerk, so we will be well represented, but at this stage, there is very little change proposed for Melton. Thank you to all those who have taken the time to give your opinion. We expect to receive the new proposals early next year and these will be shared with residents as soon as we have them.
MPC successfully campaigned to get the speed limit on the Wilford Bridge Road reduced to 30mph up to the Sutton Hoo Roundabout. We have allocated the funds and we are now waiting to hear when the work will be scheduled. This could take a while as it’s not necessarily a priority, but I’m glad this is now in the pipeline.
Cllr Brown has been meeting with a number of representatives from other local villages about the amount of traffic currently using the A1152, Woods Lane and Wilford Bridge Road and going on through to Bromeswell, Eyke and Rendlesham. Almost all the traffic passes through Melton crossroads. Much of it is associated with new housing developments beyond Melton and traffic associated with the Bentwaters Industrial estate. This working group of local parish councillors managed to arrange a meeting with the new East Suffolk Council (ESC) Chief Executive, Chris Bally. As a result, Cllr Nicoll reported that a workshop is planned between ESC Planners, Highways and Parishes to discuss the issues. It’s early days yet, and these things move at a glacial speed, but at least we have opened a door to look at what might be needed to help manage increasing traffic for the future.
Staying on the theme of traffic, we are glad to say that we were able to help the Bredfield Road residents buy banners and wheelie bin stickers to say that 20 is plenty in that area. The residents have been campaigning for some time now. MPC has placed the smiley face traffic speed indicator on the road periodically to remind drivers to slow down given the proximity to houses and children travelling to the nearby schools. It has helped but there is always more to be done. So, if you pass that way, keep an eye out for the local requests to watch your speed and keep it down.
We are now receiving quotes from companies bidding to replace the equipment in the Beresford Drive Park. The quotes will be scored against a matrix to find the best in terms of functionality and value for money and I’m pleased to say that some children from Melton Primary School will be involved in reviewing the designs.
Two more Councillors introduce themselves, so you get to know the Parish Councillors:
My husband and I retired and moved to Melton in 2016 around the time the Neighbourhood Plan was being finalised. I joined the Parish Council in November 2019 and attended my first Full Council meeting which unbeknown to me at the time would be my first and last until we returned to full meetings after the covid epidemic lockdowns.
I am Deputy Chair on the Planning and Transport Working Group. I am also on the Fete Working Group and my role is to find and engage with sponsors and collect raffle prizes. This event takes up to 6 months to organise and is supported by all Councillors, staff and their partners to make it the success it is.
During my working life I was an Occupational Therapist for Rochdale MBC and assessed people’s disability, providing adaptation and equipment to enable independence. Using these skills, I also attend the Suffolk Coastal Disability Forum representing MPC, considering issues which may affect disabled residents. I am the main carer for my father who lives in Woodbridge and this role keeps me busy.
The role of a Parish Councillor is voluntary and we receive no payment. We do it for the love of our village in a hope to make it a better place to live.
Councillor Deborah Darby
I was elected to the Parish Council in May 2023 after moving to Melton the previous year.
I hail from Greater Manchester (what used to be Cheshire), am married with two children, and a grandson, who all live abroad. My wife and I wanted to retire to the country and be near to the sea. Friends who moved to Bury St Edmunds recommended we check out Suffolk, which we had never visited. We were bowled over by the County, and fell in love with Woodbridge.
I have now retired but worked as a transport planner for a variety of local authorities up and down the country during my career, including Gloucestershire, York, Gateshead and Sheffield. My last job was leading on the delivery of a £20m programme of walking and cycling schemes in Nottingham. As a result, I am taking a keen interest in Suffolk County Council’s Love Woodbridge and Melton Project. I am the Parish Council’s lead on this scheme and will be representing Melton on the Project Board.
Councillor John Bann
Finally, next year’s village fete will be held on Saturday 22nd June 2024. We already have a number of confirmed bookings and we are hoping to have the return of the dog events. Parking will be made easier thanks to a group of volunteers who will be managing the arrangements, and it promises to be another great day already. Last year’s fete raised nearly £2,800. Costs were higher than normal at just over £1,500 which means that after keeping back a sum to pay for next year’s fete, Melton Primary school, St Andrew’s Church and the Burness Parish Rooms have received a donation of £150 each. Thanks again to all of you who helped. We look forward to seeing you all again next year, plus hopefully, many more new faces.