Woodbridge Swifts – Latest News

Looking back to 2020
Around the town, swifts in Woodbridge surpassed our expectations last summer. Despite the slow start, by July we were able to see and hear screaming parties at a variety of sites at different times of the day. On our ‘socially distanced’ swift walk from the car park in early July, we started with swifts in Brook Street, then observed them entering under the pantiles of a house at the back of Thoroughfare. We followed this by watching them enter roofs in New Street near the Old Mariner pub and then by The Bell and Steelyard.

Our records of nests in the town are most pleasing. We have 43 nests in 32 roofs, and 17 occupied nest boxes, giving us a total of 60 nests.

Swift interest in our boxes, especially those in groups of 3 or more and with a swift call sound system has been much increased. Swifts are attracted by the sounds of other swifts calling and we have several records of swifts entering boxes with call systems – appearing to ‘try them out’. So, we should be optimistic for this year.

We were awarded an AONB grant in March 2020, just as the Covid restrictions began, for the purchase and donation of nest boxes and swift call sound systems on suitable buildings in Woodbridge. In spite of the limitations, we have found places for 30 nest boxes and 4 sound systems. The Riverside Cinema and the Deben Rowing Club on the river wall Woodbridge have six each of these and a sound system. These will be installed as soon as restrictions permit. There are already boxes on the Deben Leisure Centre, Whisstocks, the Cruising Club and the Tide Mill, so these will provide a real opportunity for swifts to nest near to the river and water meadows.

Swifts nest in colonies, so with the help of the AONB grant we have also been adding boxes and sound systems near to existing occupied boxes or nest sites in roofs on a number of properties around the town. This will give spare capacity for returning juveniles to enlarge the colony.

Looking ahead to Spring 2021 and the arrival of our swifts in May
You can install nest boxes for 2021, by contacting woodbridge.swifts @gmail.com. We sell boxes for £25.00 and you can collect them in Woodbridge by arrangement. Swifts will be returning by the end of the first week of May so there is plenty of time. But for new boxes, the critical time is June and July when screaming parties of juveniles will be seeking suitable nest sites, to return to next year.

Sound systems are available from: Peak Boxes: https://peakboxes.co.uk/

Nest box cameras
For many of us, this is the next step, especially if you suspect that swifts are visiting or nesting. You really want to see what is going on inside the boxes. They do fly in and out so quickly that they are difficult to spot. For details of camera supplies and use see: https://www.green-feathers.co.uk/products/wifi-bird-box-camera

Follow the links to News: Swifts on Screen – https://www.rspb.org.uk/groups/woodbridge

Please report to us any observations you make of swifts entering roofs under tiles or soffits, they may well be nesting. Also any occupied nest boxes.

Jenny James: woodbridge.swifts@gmail.com

Eddie Bathgate SOS Swifts: swifts@suffolkbirdgroup.org

Yarmouth Road Closure – 26th April

Anglian Water need to close Yarmouth Road from the junction of St Audrys Lane to the junction of Station Road to carry out essential repair works on the sewers. The road will be closed from 9am on Monday 26th April for up to three weeks.

We are in touch with Highways about mitigating the impact on adjoining roads eg Saddlemakers Lane, St Audrys Lane and Lodge Farm Lane.

Reporting Anti-Social Behaviour

East Suffolk Council and police work together with other services to stop anti-social behaviour in your area. If anti-social behaviour is affecting your quality of life – REPORT IT!

You can report anti-social behaviour online https://www.suffolk.police.uk/contact-us/report-something


Or calling Suffolk Police on 101 or in an emergency 999


Volunteering Opportunity: British Red Cross International Youth Volunteering Programme

We have the opportunity for volunteers to join the International Youth Volunteering Programme (IYVP) in Iceland and Portugal from September 2021. As part of the European Solidarity Corps scheme, we offer young people aged 18-30 residing in the UK the chance to volunteer overseas with our partner Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. All of our placements are fully funded, with travel, accommodation, health insurance costs covered, and volunteers receive a small monthly allowance to cover additional expenses. 

This is the perfect opportunity for those interested in gaining valuable skills, having new experiences and giving back to the community. The personal and professional skills developed on these placements (independence, resilience, working with vulnerable people, etc), as well as the opportunity to travel around a new country and create connections with people from different walks of life are extremely beneficial for any young person looking to start a career in this sector or similar.  We are keen to hear from individuals, especially those who do not normally get the chance to volunteer overseas, who are passionate and motivated for this kind of work, but who also understand that these types of placements require adaptability and resilience, especially in the current challenging climate. Knowledge of the languages are not a requirement so are open to anyone who has the motivation for these roles.   

Iceland (3 volunteers for 12 months): https://ce0650li.webitrent.com/ce0650li_webrecruitment/wrd/run/ETREC107GF.open?VACANCY_ID=127668W1sv&WVID=772610007l&LANG=USA
Deadline: 5th May

Portugal (5 volunteers for 5 months): https://ce0650li.webitrent.com/ce0650li_webrecruitment/wrd/run/ETREC107GF.open?VACANCY_ID=405891W9bj&WVID=772610007l&LANG=USA

Deadline: 9th May

These will be our final volunteer placements as part of the European Solidarity Corps/Erasmus+ programmes, so we would highly encourage young people to apply as we cannot guarantee there will be similar opportunities of this kind in the future through the British Red Cross.

Woodbridge Library

Woodbridge Library is reopening for browsing on 13th April. A limited number of people is allowed to enter the library at any one time, everyone should wear a mask and adhere to the one-way system, and the library’s self-service machines should be used to borrow and return items.

Woodbridge library is open between 9am and 4pm on Mondays, 9.30am and 5pm on Tuesdays, 9am to 5pm Wednesdays to Saturdays and 10am-1pm on Sundays.

For those customers who are happy for us to do the browsing, the Select and Collect service will remain and of course you can visit our website to reserve from our catalogue as well as find out more about our digital services.

It is planned that groups and activities will return from 21 June when customers will also be able to stay in the library.

Items can be returned to Woodbridge Library outside opening hours via the book drop box. To contact the library, phone 01394 330855 or send an email to woodbridge.library@suffolklibraries.co.uk

All these arrangements are contingent on the government’s plans going ahead as scheduled. You can always get the latest information at https://www.suffolklibraries.co.uk/coronavirus

Suffolk Libraries eLibrary (https://www.suffolklibraries.co.uk/elibrary) can be used at any time, and you can also join in with online events (https://www.suffolklibraries.co.uk/live)

Please contact the customer service team if you have any queries. They are available Mon-Fri 9am-5pm,  closed bank holidays. Leave a message out of these hours.
– 01473 351249

Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – April 2021

Sizewell C (SZC)

The Examining Authority’s (ExA) Preliminary Meeting for its “examination in public” of EDF’s planning application for SZC is scheduled for 23 March 2021.  A second Preliminary Meeting, if required, is scheduled for 14 April 2021.

The purpose of the Preliminary Meeting is to enable views to be put to the ExA about the way in which the application is to be examined.  The Preliminary Meeting is not an opportunity for Interested Parties to put forward their views about what they like or don’t like about the application. The merits or concerns about the application will only be considered once the Examination starts, which is after the Preliminary Meeting has closed.

The ExA is under a duty to complete the Examination of the application by the end of the period of 6 months beginning with the day after the close of the Preliminary Meeting (Thursday 14 October 2021).

A recommendation by the ExA to the Secretary of State will be issued within 3 months of the examination closing. The Secretary of State then has a further 3 months to issue a decision on the proposal.

Up-to-date information about the project and the Examination can be obtained from the project page on the National Infrastructure Planning website (NI website) from which copies of all Examination Documents can be accessed by the public:


Parish Council Website
We will be updating the website in the next few months. The new layout will improve accessibility and functionality. Hopefully it will be easy to navigate and find the information you need.

Support for Local Food Project
The Finance Committee (FERM) agreed financial support up to a maximum of £350 towards the costs of printing leaflets for distribution in Melton.

Signage for divested parcels of land
FERM agreed to:

  • Place signs on the more significant areas of land only e.g. the woodland adjacent to Burkes Wood, Hall Farm Road etc.
  • Ask the Council’s arboriculturalist for advice as to where signs might most usefully be placed
  • Put a map of all the Council’s land holdings on the website

Speed Indicator Device (SID)
The SID is currently located on Woods Lane and is working well and, from personal observation, it does encourage drivers to obey the 30mph speed limit on that road.  However due to traffic volumes we have decided to purchase a second SID with a solar panel which will be sited at Woods Lane and use the existing one for the other five sites we have in Melton.

Tennis Court Fencing
The tennis court fencing was replaced at the end of March. As a result, we had to temporarily close the car park from the 23rd to 30th March.

We have been wanting to do this for a long time as it has become quite tatty and numerous holes have been cut in it by various nefarious individuals.  The new fencing is much tougher and will look great.  The tennis courts have been very popular over the last year and it’s great to reinvest in this well used facility.

Burness Parish Rooms
Thanks to Colin Birkbeck, the Burness Parish Rooms have been made Covid-19 compliant with the necessary hand sanitizers and a one way system in place for entering and leaving. It has also had a new boiler installed and with the adjustments made to make it Covid-19 compliant, it is looking forward to greeting its usual customers once again when the rules allowed.

Playing Field Car Park
The car park is well used but the surface is in poor condition, it has been in need of resurfacing for many years.  We are taking the opportunity to square off the corners to get a few extra spaces without losing play space.  There will be a disabled designated parking space and the spaces will be properly marked out.  We are hoping the work can start soon.

Oak tree protected with rope ring

The Old Oak Tree
Our tree warden, Martin Wilks, and his band of volunteers were at the playing field in Burkes Wood recently. They placed a protective ring around the old oak tree at the entrance to the woods (from the playing field). I think it looks very good and makes the tree look even grander. We’ve had good feedback already.

Community Events
We have two dates for your diary. Firstly on Monday 5th July 2021 it is the NHS Thank You Day and various events are planned in Melton.  Watch this space for more details.

We are also planning on holding the Melton Village fete on Saturday 4th June 2022 which will coincide with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee long weekend – so save the date.

Annual Parish Meeting
This is usually a lovely event where I give a summary of the year and future plans are revealed.  We normally have some guest speakers and a few refreshments.  Of course, this year it will be a Zoom meeting but it will still go ahead on Wednesday 28th April.  The winner of the annual Melton Award will be announced.  Spoiler alert – this year there is more than one winner!

Land Divestment
After months of patiently waiting for the legalities to progress, I am pleased to say that the land divestment has now completed for all 21 pieces of land from East Suffolk Council.  The fact that one piece of land was actually on the land registry as two complicated matters further.  In order to ensure that we know what we have to manage, we have had a tree survey done for all of the land that we now own including existing assets.   We will be producing a schedule of maintenance to ensure public safety and the health of the trees.




New Grants to help businesses re-open safely

East Suffolk Council is preparing to process the new one-off Restart Grants to help businesses as they look to re-open.

The Restart Grant scheme, announced as part of the Chancellor’s budget, supports businesses in the non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure, personal care, accommodation and gym/sport sectors with a one-off payment to re-open safely as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

The scheme, which is available from 1 April 2021, will support eligible businesses with one-off grants between £2,667 to £18,000.


Easter weekend holiday health care advice

Please be prepared and know what to do if you or a family member feels unwell over the Easter holiday weekend

– If you use repeat prescription medicine please check you’ll have enough to last over the holiday weekend

– Be prepared by keeping the medicine cabinet essentials at home e.g. paracetamol and sticking plasters

– GP practices will be closed on Good Friday (April 2) and Easter Monday (April 5)

– Some pharmacies will be open over the holiday weekend. See the list of locations and opening times on the NHS website

– If you feel unwell visit the NHS 111 Online symptom checker or call NHS 111 for help and advice, open 24/7

– If you need mental health support contact First Response anytime on 0808 196 3494

And please remember that if you have the symptoms of coronavirus – a high temperature and new continuous cough – you should remain at home and not go to the pharmacy, GP practice or hospital and follow the advice on NHS 111 Online.