Interim Management Committee Meeting – 17th June at 2pm

The next Interim Management Committee (IMC) meeting will take place via teleconference, as part of the Council’s response to COVID-19, on the 17th June at 2pm. The agenda and papers will be available in the Interim Committee section of the website.

If anyone has any comments to make please email them to clerk@melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk by 12 noon on 17th June.

Members of the public are invited to listen to the meeting by phone:

  • Dial 0 33 33 66 11 11
  • Enter Conference Code 296983  followed by #
  • Enter the PIN: 2969 followed by #

If any member of the public wishes to make a comment during the meeting, in response to what is being discussed, please email finance@melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk

Fire Safety – Safer Home Visits and Duty Officer Service

Fire Safety 
Representatives of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service and East Suffolk Council Building Control met in March 2020 to consider Suffolk’s response to the first phase of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. The Committee made a number of recommendations, one of which was to encourage all county, district and parish councillors to publicise amongst their constituents:

  • the fire safety assessments (safer home visits) that Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service provides to residents
  • the duty officer service that Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service provides to tenants or anyone concerned about a fire risk in Suffolk.

More details about these services can be found here:

Fire safety assessments (safer home visits)

Duty officer service

The minutes of the meeting, which include details of all the recommendations and the reasons for them can be found at this link: Committee Minutes

Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – June 2020

Playpark Maintenance
As the playpark has been closed due to the restrictions, we have taken the opportunity to give some of the equipment a fresh coat of paint and it looks really great now.

Play park equipment

Painted play equipment

Transport Safety & Social Distancing
Suffolk County Council has received a few queries from Parish Councils and individuals about the possibility of increased provision of safe space for walking and cycling during the current Covid-19 crisis. As we return to a ‘new normal’, our transport strategy will support people to make journeys by foot, bike or public transport while continuing to observe social distancing.

The Government has very recently provided guidance in relation to funding for emergency walking and cycling measures. Following the success of the temporary road closure to vehicles along Ipswich Waterfront, Suffolk County Council is already making plans to change road layouts and put in measures to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. This will include closing off sections of roads to motorised vehicles, widening existing footpaths and cycle lanes, providing temporary footpaths and cycle lanes and changing traffic signal timings to reduce waiting times for pedestrians and cyclists. I am yet sure how this will affect Melton but it will certainly affect us as we travel around Suffolk and eventually as we travel further afield.

Local History Recorders documenting the Covid-19 pandemic
Our Local History Recorders; Mary Burgess and Claire McBurney, have been asked to document information about their locality during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Melton old village is always very friendly but exchanges now often include offers of help and the wish that everyone should “stay safe”. Once the lockdown started, residents quickly began to reclaim the streets. Although families are sometimes seen cycling through Melton village, the children are usually confident, competent riders. Now younger, less experienced riders are out cycling with adults as the village streets are almost traffic free. There are a lot of people walking, sometimes with backpacks for shopping. The local footpaths are much busier than usual, mainly with walkers. At first, families tried cycling along the footpaths and taking children in pushchairs but this proved very difficult. There is a hopscotch court chalked on the pavement in The Street.

McColls put social distancing measures in place very quickly and remained open. There is often a short queue outside the shop but any boredom is alleviated by the opportunity to watch the sparrows that nest under the tiles flying back and forth with their beaks full of nesting materials and insects to feed the young. The swifts returned increasing the bird watching opportunities. Our other local businesses, such as the podiatrists and hairdressers have, sadly, needed to close for the time being. The Little Free Pantry closed temporarily but has recently reopened. Also the fish and chip shop has just reopened with a well-planned strategy (pre-ordering) and social distancing markings.

One very significant difference is the marked improvement in air quality. This is often the subject of brief, appropriately socially distanced exchanges in the streets. People are feeling better and enjoying the smell of blossom and spring flowers.

Many houses have “Rainbow” tributes to show appreciation of NHS and key workers. The Thursday clapping for everyone helping during the pandemic is enthusiastically observed. Quite a few musical instruments have been heard playing tunes like Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Many residents have benefited from the work of the GNS volunteers. Let’s hope some of the positive bits of this crisis stays with us after it is over, this won’t happen on its own, we will have to work at it.

Meetings during the Pandemic
An Interim Management Committee has been meeting monthly by telephone conference call. This is a good method as you don’t suffer the issues with speech lost due to internet data packet buffering. We have tried Zoom meetings but not all of us have Broadband speeds that allow it to work. Our meeting on the 27th May will allow members of the public to listen in to the discussion. Full details are posted on the website. We have had no security problems but Woodbridge Town Council had an intrusion of a graphic of a sexual nature. This caused a deal of embarrassment, this is what can happen when you use remote access technology as a means of public participation.

Melton Trust helps out
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Melton Trust very much for their speedy response to an appeal for a grant for one of our parishioner’s referred to the Melton Good Neighbour Scheme. The resident was suddenly unemployed due to the Covid-19 lockdown and is having to wait 5 weeks for universal credit to be paid. The Melton Good Neighbours Scheme arranged for a food parcel to be delivered by the Salvation Army food bank and to provide a ready cooked meal.

The Melton Good Neighbours Scheme was able to help to fill out an application form for a grant to help through this period before the universal credit starts and within 24 hours had provided a grant for the individual to pay for essential bills and personal needs.

It goes to show that there is help from the Melton Trust, MPC, Melton Good Neighbour Scheme, ESC and Community Action Suffolk for our more needy folks in the Melton Community.

Gatherings in the park
I have been asked to remind people that large gatherings shouldn’t be taking place in the park, please not to have BBQs and clear up after afterwards etc. There seems to be a minority that don’t follow the social distancing rules no matter what we say. No doubt the offenders don’t read the Melton Messenger online so this is probably a waste of time ranting about it. Recently there was a lot rubbish left and spilt BBQ coals had burned the grass. It is such a shame. Despite this; our new green space contractor is doing a great job and the park looks better than ever this year.

Tennis courts
The tennis courts are open once more following the guidance from the government. Keys are disinfected by the Spar staff between uses. There is a possibility that a tennis trainer may block book the courts for a couple of hours on weekdays. I don’t think this will upset regular users who play later on in the day. Also the Spar will be closing at its regular time of 9pm so tennis can be played a bit longer in these lighter evenings.

MPC activities
The main focus of our recent meetings has been to ensure that our finances, budgets and documentation are all sorted ready for our annual audits. This is something that I am very proud of at MPC as we have improved our financial management by leaps and bounds over the years I have been a Councillor.

The main concern at the moment for us all is that if we drop our guard then the virus could peak once more. Stay safe!

Cllr Alan Porter
Chairman – Melton Parish Council

Extra support now available for small businesses

East Suffolk Council is now processing the discretionary business grants for local businesses provided by the Government in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

On 2nd May 2020, the Government announced that extra funding would be made available to local authorities to enable them to support small businesses outside the scope of the existing business grant fund scheme.

East Suffolk Council has been allocated £3,866,250 to fund the discretionary business support grants, and eligible businesses can now apply for grants of up to £10,000. Due to the limited funding available and the need to assist as many businesses as possible, the Council will not be paying grants above £10,000 initially, however, this may be reviewed as the scheme progresses.

The Council has identified six areas as priorities at this stage, aimed at businesses which were not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund, in line with the Government’s requirements. These are:

  • Businesses in shared spaces, such as within larger businesses units, office parks or incubation units, where their lettable space would have the equivalent of a rateable value of less than £15,000
  • Permanent market traders on a market in the East Suffolk area
  • Charities that were previously ineligible for support under the Small Business Grant Fund because they receive mandatory charity relief, rather than Small Business Rate Relief, and were not eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Scheme, but have premises with a rateable value of less than £15,000
  • B&Bs which pay Council Tax instead of business rates
  • Businesses that have significant premises costs and which are crucial to the local and regional economy
  • Additional small and micro businesses with fixed costs

Eligible businesses must have less than 50 employees, have been trading on 11 March 2020, and be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop in income as a result of the COVID-19 restriction measures.

Cllr Craig Rivett, East Suffolk’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “We know it has been exceptionally tough for those businesses which have been ineligible for any grants or funding so far.

“While this money is very welcome, it is limited, and we know it will be a lifeline for many small businesses. Therefore, we have taken the decision to cap grants at £10,000 initially to ensure we are able to help as many businesses as possible. This may be reviewed as the scheme progresses, but right now our main priority is to get this much needed financial help to our small businesses as fast as possible.”

The online form and full details about how to apply with full eligibility criteria can be found at: https://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/business/covid-19-business-grant-funding/

Further information on other support packages available can be found at East Suffolk Means Business

Best regards

Melton Road Park/Playing Field Car Park – Gates to be locked overnight

From Sunday 24th May, the gate to the car park will be locked between 8pm and 7am until further notice. This is following police advice after recent antisocial behaviour. Apologies for any inconvenience.

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.

Interim Management Committee Meeting – 27th May at 2pm

The next Interim Management Committee (IMC) meeting will take place via teleconference, as part of the Council’s response to COVID-19, on the 27th May at 2pm. The agenda and papers will be available in the Interim Committee section of the website.

If anyone has any comments to make please email them to clerk@melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk by 12 noon on 27th May.

Members of the public are invited to listen to the meeting by phone:

  • Dial 0 33 33 66 11 11
  • Enter Conference Code 296983  followed by #
  • Enter the PIN: 2969 followed by #

Letter from 54 Town & Parish Councils regarding Sizewell C

In response to a letter to EDF (dated 9 April) from Suffolk County Council and East Suffolk Council concerning its Development Consent Order (DCO) application for Sizewell C, a joint letter from 54 Town and Parish Councils, including Melton Parish Council, was sent to the Council leaders on 11 May. The key message was that examination of the planning application must be in public and not be digital-only. A copy of the letter is available to read as a PDF:

Town and Parish Council Letter – 11 May 2020

Tennis Courts to re-open at Melton Playing Field

Following the latest Government advice, the tennis courts are available for hire from the 13th May 2020.

You can play tennis with members of your household, or one other person while staying 2 metres apart.

To book these tennis courts please go to the John Grose garage/Spar on Melton Road. Keys will be disinfected between bookings but other surfaces at the tennis courts will not be, including the gates. Please remember to wash your hands/use hand sanitiser frequently.

At all times, you should continue to observe social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home, including ensuring you are 2 metres away from anyone outside your household.

The play equipment/play park remain closed until further notice.

Green Bin Collections Restarting – collection day could be different

Message from East Suffolk Council:

Following the suspension of the Garden Waste Service, due to the impact of COVID-19, we are now pleased to confirm that the service will resume on Bank Holiday Monday 25 May.

All collections will then be made during the subsequent fortnight, including – where required – on a Saturday. We would like to apologise for the inconvenience which the suspension has caused. We hope you can understand that this has been a difficult time for us all with the safety of our customers, our crews and their families always being of paramount importance.

The garden waste web page is now available for renewals and new subscriptions. All existing subscriptions have been extended by four collections. This takes into account those collections which were missed because of the initial suspension on 27 March 2020.

Your collection day may now change and details of your new timetable, will be placed on the website shortly and should be finalised no later than 5pm on Tuesday 12 May: http://apps.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/pages/bins/collectiondays.aspx

Replacement stickers will not be required for your bin. The crews have been informed that all valid household subscriptions have been extended by four collections; they also have access to “in Cab” collection technology within the freighters. Renewal invitations will be sent as before and, if renewed, a new bin sticker will then be issued.

If you have received a renewal invite prior to the suspension of service and have not yet renewed your subscription then please use the link below: https://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/waste/waste-collection-and-disposal/garden-waste/

For more information please read our frequently asked questions, using the link below: https://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/assets/Waste/Green-waste/Garden-waste-FAQs.pdf

This will enable you to determine your new subscription renewal date, or you can go to our website at www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk.

Melton Messenger – A note from Alan – May 2020

The Covid-19 Lockdown
I must admit I have been a bit slow in starting this month’s Melton Messenger article, time has been passing in a most strange way for us all in these unprecedented times.  Each day feels almost the same as the last.

I must firstly thank our local shops such as the Premier Store in Warwick Avenue, Melton Produce (Springside), the Spar shop at the garage and McColls in particular that are doing a terrific job in supplying the community with food and to the locals for keeping to the guidelines.

Also I must mention the exceptional work being done by the Melton Good Neighbour scheme and Melton Primary School.  In these difficult days, there has been a huge village effort to pull together and keep us safe.

So far Suffolk has seemed to have fewer cases than many other places but we must not drop our guard and let complacency creep in.  Let’s hope that things will return to normal in the next few months without taking undue risks.  I think the whole country is doing its bit so let’s hope that much of the good stuff will continue long after this dreadful phase is over.

Some of the things going on are:-

  • Melton WI keeping in touch with all our members – my wife Maggie is keeping them all amused and updated with amusing emails
  • Tributes to all the NHS and care workers who live in Melton- applause for you all at 8pm every Thursday
  • Thanks to all those key workers keeping essential services going (including Melton Councillor who is working flat out – Phil Groom)
  • Melton MPC website is a useful source of information
  • Paul Hambling for on-line Melton Messenger and his work carried on over Easter despite the church being closed
  • Thanks to all our residents for sticking to the guidelines with courtesy and cheerfulness and neighbourliness
  • Chance to enjoy the spring sunshine, the weather has been kind to us etc.
  • Walkers out exploring and discovering new footpaths around the village
  • More composting as the green bin collection has been suspended by ESC

MPC Councillor Vacancy
Following the resignation of one of our councillors we now have a vacancy for a councillor at MPC.  Please consider joining us and let us know by emailing myself or the clerk – clerk@melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk.

MPC Interim Management Committee
Obviously we have been unable to have meetings on a face to face basis and won’t for a good while to come.  A new committee has been formed from the Chairs and Vice Chairs of the council and the committees.  We hold a telephone conference call every 3 weeks so that the business of the council can continue as far as we can in these difficult times.  The agendas and minutes are on our website.

Annual Parish Meeting
The Annual Parish Meeting scheduled for 29th April was obviously cancelled.  I have put the report on the council website, just search for Annual Parish Report and you can find it. Maybe we can have a gathering later in the year if it is safe to do so.

Pavilion Roof
I was walking in the field a few weeks ago and was amazed to see the felt missing from the pavilion roof. I first thought it was vandalism until I saw the felt wrapped around the play equipment.  Our village maintenance officer has done a great job in patching it up temporarily.  In the long run we hope to demolish and replace it but at the moment that is obviously on hold.

St Audrys Bowling Green and The Sports & Social Club

Hopkins Homes appealed the decision to make the former bowls green as asset of community value.  After a review that decision was upheld by the appeal.  We shall see what happens next.  Meanwhile St Audrys Sports & Social Club are also looking to apply for Asset of Community Status.

New Dog Poo Bins
Two new dog poo bins have recently been installed in Melton, one at Wilford Bridge and the other at Old Malting Approach/New Quay Lane. We are aware that someone cut through the metal straps attaching the bin at Old Malting Approach when it was first installed but it has now been reinstalled!

MPC Precept Comparison
Our financial wizards Cllr Bill Banks and Pip Alder have been looking at the precepts of comparable local towns and parishes as we thought it would be of interest, bearing in mind the larger than usual increase this year.  We still remain one of the cheapest around.  There are some notes below and the table of comparison follows that.

  1. To make the 2020/21 Precept/Band D comparison more relevant for Melton, the comparator group has been drawn from all medium to large parish and town councils in East Suffolk (the 2019 comparator group was limited to the Suffolk Coastal area and included some very small parishes).
  2. A “medium to large” sized council is defined as being one that has a precept of more than £60k.
  3. Melton is most akin, in spending terms, to councils that have a precept/net budget of around £100k.  This is because, although Melton’s precept is only £87k, its budgeted spend is about £15k higher.
  4. The comparator table shows that for 2020/21 Melton has the second lowest Precept/Band D rates in East Suffolk.  Beccles has the lowest Precept/Band D rate by a wide margin.  Examination of the Beccles budget shows that it benefits from historic property ownership/rights, resulting in zero office costs (apart from business rates) and property rental income of £70k+.  Its low precept is, therefore, down to exceptional circumstances rather than it being hugely more efficient (or lower spending) than other councils.
  5.  So to compare with Woodbridge Melton’s Precept per Band D is less than half of Woodbridge’s; in fact  Melton’s is only 45.83% of Woodbridge’s precept.  Less than half.

Ordered by Precept Band D

Precept (£)

Precept per Band D (£)

Population *

Beccles

116,852.00

36.44

10,357

Melton

86,948.17

47.71

3,965

Rushmere St Andrew

123,000.00

47.79

6,278

Martlesham

140,497.00

61.18

5,793

Kesgrave

302,000.00

63.07

14,823

Oulton Broad

213,981.00

65.83

9,616

Halesworth

116,641.15

67.83

4,942

Felixstowe

600,570.00

70.87

24,590

Bungay

124,997.00

76.61

5,122

Kessingland

119,688.57

83.82

4,332

Wickham Market

73,000.00

89.23

2,319

Woodbridge

325,828.00

103.45

7,863

Framlingham

157,196.00

105.31

3,705

Southwold

120,000.00

109.59

937

Aldeburgh

215,000.00

114.14

2,423

Saxmundham

224,500.00

143.28

4,483

Lowestoft

1,837,731.00

144.91

48,782

Rendlesham

146,637.00

156.09

3,312

Leiston

305,000.00

171.63

5,743

*2018 estimate taken from Suffolk Observatory