Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – December 2019

On Remembrance Day, the Book Behind the Name was finally published. Thanks to all involved and I hope everyone has had a chance to see the results. There is one in Woodbridge Library available for public reference. This is a very impressive tome covering the whole village and its production demonstrates how Melton punches above its weight!

More good news, after a joint town & parishes bus meeting on 29th Oct I’m pleased to say that our request for a way forward for the 71 bus service was listened to and taken seriously and a new service will start on Monday 18th November. All credit to First Bus and SCC for making this happen. Please note that the new service will operate differently to its predecessor, see the First Bus website for details.

It is almost Christmas; so it is a time to discuss gifts, well this month I am going to talk about land that East Suffolk Council (ESC) intend to give to Melton Parish Council (MPC). Clearly they are doing this to save money but also because we have been asking them to divest certain pieces of land for ages for the benefit of the village.

They have come back to us with an offer of 21 pieces of land. It is a take all or none scenario, we were not given a chance to pick and choose. So what’s involved? Well as you can imagine, quite a lot. Ownership of the land would be transferred in two batches in 2020 & 2021. ESC will give us a grant of £5000 towards the conveyancing and legal costs. We will have to cover the rest. The ownership of the land will be properly registered at UK land registry so it should be a simple process.

There are two main advantages with MPC taking on these parcels of land, firstly they will be protected from unwanted development and secondly we can use Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funds & other funds to improve these green spaces, which have been rather neglected till now. For example we might be able to fit some play equipment at Hall Farm and make the area around Winifred Fison House a landscaped space available for car parking – both of which are things we aimed to do through the Neighbourhood Plan. This would also provide extra car park spaces near McColls which is always a problem area for short term parking. MPC can’t do any of this unless we own the area.

The 21 parcels of land that would become the property of the village are:-

1. Fayrefield Road Area of land between railway line and river.
2. Open space in Riverview Melton
3. Land adjacent to 5 St Friars Court
4. Land adjacent to 20 Friars Court
5. Sports Ground, Hall Farm Road
6. Public Open Space Hall Farm Road
7. Public Open Space in Winifred Fison Close
8. Public open space in Saxon Way
9. Public open space between 1&3 Coppice Close
10. Public open spaces Area 1 Love Lane
11. Public open spaces Area 2 Love Lane
12. Land to rear of Saxon Way
13. Land corner Coppice & Saxon Way
14. Public Open space in Beresford Drive North
15. Land Area 3 to South Beresford Drive
16. Land Area 1 to South Beresford Drive
17. Public Open Space adjacent 31 Bury Hill
18. Public Open Space adjacent 19 Bury Hill
19. Public Open Space between 19, 21, 31 & 33 Bury Hill
20. Public Open Space between 25, 29, 37 & 43 Bury Hill
21. Land north of Bury Hill

We have completed a land survey and have confirmed that there will be a need to fund ongoing maintenance from cutting grass to sorting out old trees in all areas, plus some areas will need additional works to make them safe. The costs of developing parking outside Fison House will also be costly, but we believe this is the right thing to do to improve and protect the facilities within Melton and these days it is now down to the Parish Council to do these things because no-one else will fund it.

In order to maintain the extra land assets we have had to look at the parish council budget accordingly. Melton receives a proportion of the council tax, known as the precept, each year. Melton’s precept is extremely low when compared with surrounding town & parish councils such as Woodbridge, Martlesham and Rendlesham. For example, based on a band D property, Melton residents pay £44.71 per year which is less less than half of what you would pay if you lived in Woodbridge and less than a third if you lived in Rendlesham.
We can fund capital expenditure on the new land from CIL or other funds we can tap into but we will have to pay increased maintenance costs each year As a result, we are considering putting up our share of the precept by the rate of CPI inflation (estimated at 1.7% but subject to change when the CPI rate is confirmed) plus an additional amount to cover some of the increased maintenance costs. We think that an increase of £3.00 per year for a band D property would be enough to mitigate some of the extra maintenance costs in 2020/2021. This is an increase to £47.70 per year, or 25p per calendar month or 30p per month if you pay in 10 monthly instalments per property. The overall charge would still remain significantly lower than Woodbridge, Martlesham or Rendlesham. Melton would still be 13th in the list of local towns & villages. The table below show the 2019/2020 Band D precept comparisons.

No Name Precept per Band D Comparison with Melton
1 Leiston £166.83 3.73
2 Rendlesham £145.38 3.25
5 Framlingham £103.72 2.32
6 Woodbridge £99.97 2.24
7 Wickham Market £73.67 1.65
10 Martlesham £62.41 1.40
13 Melton £44.71 1.00
19 Grundisburgh £30.09 0.67

The increase would be used to pay for the extra work that would be needed to manage our green spaces and we hope that residents will support us in our plans to secure these public open spaces for the future. We have in the past always been very careful not to raise the precept by more than the minimum necessary, but we believe this small increase will reap big benefits for all residents and so for once we feel it is worth it. It is also worth mentioning that while Melton’s maintenance costs will increase, ESC’s revenue costs will reduce by a similar amount and help to ease their council tax rate for 2020/21. So in theory it is a transfer of cost from ESC to MPC.

Further details of the current precepts charged by towns and villages can be found on our website accompanied with the reports on the state of the land we are proposing to take on. If you have any questions or want to comment, please either write or email to the Parish Council using the contact details available on our website

Karl Savill; the manager at Thurlow Nunn Standen in the Street are sponsors of the Melton fete. They are having an open evening on Thursday 5th December 3pm-7pm. Come along to meet the team & see their vast range of products. There will be special offers on the day, as well as prize draws and refreshments. There is plenty of free parking on site and everyone is welcome.

We are receiving Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) money from the building work that is ongoing in Melton. We intend to consult more widely next year on other projects but I thought I would get the ball rolling. The idea is to build a pedestrian crossing or a refuge in Melton Road. Somewhere between the Coach & Horses and the entrance to the Recreation Ground. We estimate the cost to be around £50,000. This work would normally be Suffolk County Council responsibility but they have no funds for this work. The level of traffic makes it very difficult to cross the road easily and safely.
If you agree that this is a good use of our CIL funds then please tell us by email or letter to me or to our office. I know we have to get Suffolk CC Highways on board but the sooner we start the sooner we can get things done. At this stage I just wish to gauge the level of support for such a project.

Lastly, I have to tell you that John West; who was a former MPC Councillor and Vice Chairman passed away on 12th November. We intend to mark his time with us by planting a tree with a plaque somewhere suitable in the village, we will also plant one for Jim Bidwell I think it is an enduring way of commemorating people who have made a significant contribution to life in Melton. These two gentlemen will be sorely missed by all those who knew and worked with them on behalf of Melton and its people.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Cllr Alan Porter
Chairman – Melton Parish Council

Tree planting at Orchard Close

The tree warden has planted some new trees at Orchard Close. Three wild cherries and one rowan have been planted  at the end of the close, parallel to the bollards separating the close from Bury Hill. A further four cherries and one rowan are alongside the path of the larger grassed area. We will be looking at carrying out some planting along the boundary of the playing field/Melton Road where we recently had to remove a diseased white willow tree.

Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – November 2019

The Melton Messenger editorial team were mortified that they had failed to spot the words “oops late again” that had been printed at the top of my article last month. It certainly was not typed by me and nor was I late. I don’t know how they got there, in fact when my MM arrived I never even spotted the words. I am sure it referred to something else. The Melton Messenger is put together by volunteers who work really hard to make the content interesting and varied. It is another jewel in the crown of Melton, long may it continue. If you see an appeal for volunteers in the future then please consider getting involved.

Melton Parish Council has been in contact with the Suffolk County Council Passenger Transport Team and revised timetables have been procured and have been installed in the various bus timetable cases on bus stops and on the Parish notice boards as well. There will be a link to the timetables on our new Melton Parish Council website which is now in service. We are doing all we can to help local bus users to access bus information despite the fact it is not really our job. We have even put laminated timetables on the bus stops that don’t even have a timetable case.
Woodbridge Town Council is trying to rally support from the other parish councils to try to get some improvements in the bus service that has been cut so dramatically since September 1st with more cuts to follow on 2nd November. At least it’s a great effort to get parishes working together and is something that has not been tried for a long time. I went to the meeting today (15/10/19) and there is a great spirit of co-operation not seen before. We will meet again on the 29th October when First Bus managers will also be there.

I was too late for a stop press with the October edition to say that at the last minute the planning application for the St Audry’s bowls green was withdrawn. This now makes three controversial planning applications that have been withdrawn: the bowls green, the Carter site near St Andrew’s and the former SCDC offices site (cheese wedges). I suppose some or all may well be resurrected so we will have to keep a lookout for them. On the 22nd October the former SCDC site planning application came up again at East Suffolk Council. The officers recommended approval and indeed it was by all of the committee with only one vote against despite all the objections. Those people at the meeting are askance at the decision despite so many well-reasoned arguments by many eloquent objectors. I wonder what will happen next, I am sure this saga has more twists to deliver.

One of our potential bigger projects is the Pavilion at the playing field. It’s not good enough to repair and something must be done about it. We want to replace it with a nice modern building that will be durable, vandal resistant and low maintenance. If you have any thoughts or ideas on what facilities you would like to see incorporated in any new building on the site contact the Parish Council by emailing

Melton Parish Council were invited along to Melton Primary School to meet the Puffins and Parrots classes which is years 1 & 2. They are finding out a lot of things about ‘My Melton’ and our visit was a part of that learning experience. For such a young group they were very attentive, well behaved and full of interesting questions which Councillor Katy Martin and I did our best to answer. Miss Charlotte Jones, one of their teachers, took some photos in the hope they would get published in the Melton Messenger. How could I refuse! The children are a real credit to the school which has improved greatly during the years I have been involved with the council. If these youngsters are the future of Melton then I think we are in safe hands. They really are a delightful bunch to be with and I came away very impressed with their level of interest on what could have been a dry subject.

There was a good turnout at the Melton Local History Society October meeting. A talk was given by Robert Blake about the history of St Audry’s. One of our councillors who lives there spoke about what it is like now- timely in view of the threat of development, as I have mentioned elsewhere in my article. What a pity the Local History Society is closing down after 3 active years. Their programmes were well supported and the committee have done a great job, but nobody has come forward to take it on for the next three years! Come on Melton, surely there is someone interested in continuing the work of the Society. Save our History Society!

The book Behind the Name: Melton in the Great War has been researched over the last five years, by three members of the Melton WW1 Heritage Group and is now at the printers. It does not just remember the men on the War Memorial but also those men that returned and the women who volunteered as nurses. It is quite a large book at 420 pages of print, photos and drawings by a Melton artist of some of the houses as they are now.

It has been decided that there will be a limited number of copies of the book printed, so it will be available on a first come first served basis. The book is to be launched over the 9th and 10th November at St Andrew’s Church, Melton. Quite a few people have already pre-ordered their copies and they can be collected either on the Saturday between 10:00 to 16:00 or on Sunday after the Remembrance Day service from the church. Anyone wishing to obtain a copy will be able to by donating £15 towards the printing costs. If anyone is unable to attend and wants to reserve a copy they should e-mail

Last month I mentioned the Deben Café on HMS Vale, I incorrectly said that the café would only be open at weekends once late autumn comes In fact it will be open for long weekends; Friday to Monday.

The first volunteering drop-in session took place at the beginning of October and we had a number of people express an interest in getting involved with volunteering at the school and the Good Neighbour Scheme. The second session was planned for the end of October and hopefully that will also have been a success. If you couldn’t make it to one of the sessions but are interested in getting involved please email Pip Alder at

As usual, I will attend the Remembrance Sunday service at St Andrew’s Church on November 10th and I will lay a wreath on behalf of MPC.

We have decided to move the notice board on Melton Road to just inside the gate by the car park in the playing field. We believe the new location will attract a wider audience.

Every year we receive applications for small grants. This year we received applications from the Burness Parish Rooms, The Village Produce Association (VPA) and the WW1 Heritage Group for funds towards the book “Behind the Name”. The finance committee are recommending a share of the £1000budget to all three organisations and this will be ratified at the next Full Council meeting.

One of our councillors resigned recently due to international work commitments, already I have a new volunteer wishing to join us & that should happen at the Full Council meeting in November. It is most gratifying that people see we are making a difference and wish to join in.

Cllr Alan Porter
Chairman – Melton Parish Council

Footpath between Saddlemakers Lane and Valley Farm Road has been cleared

Thanks to a group of Ramblers Association volunteers, footpath 22 – which runs between Saddlemakers Lane and Valley Farm Road – has been cleared and is now passable. They spent the day clearing brambles, nettles, bracken and softwood branches to create a path that runs from near the Community Farm on Saddlemakers Lane to the Happy Horse Saddlery on Valley Farm Road. The more who walk it the better as it will make it more accessible and prevent it becoming overgrown again.


Map showing location of footpath 22

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Melton Playing Field Tennis Courts

There are two tennis courts available to hire at the Melton Playing fields. The hire cost is £6 per hour per court. To book a court please visit the Spar shop at the John Grose garage on Melton Road.

During the Covid-19 pandemic please adhere to the latest Government guidelines. Please maintain social distancing and wash hands/use hand sanitiser frequently. Do not play if you are experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms.

Sizewell C

EDF Energy will now be running a Stage 4 public consultation exercise starting on 18 July 2019 and running until 27 September 2019. This will include a drop-in session at Woodbridge Community Hall on 26 July from 2pm to 8pm.

Sizewell C Stage 3 public consultation began on 4 January 2019 and ran to 29 March 2019. The new station would be located to the north of Sizewell B, and would have two reactors capable of generating enough low carbon electricity to supply around 6 million homes for 60 years.

Melton Parish Council’s Responses to Consultations:

Stage 2 Response

Stage 3 Response

Flying of Drones or other Aerial Devices

For reasons of public safety, Recreation Committee at its meeting on 7 March 2018 adopted the following policy in relation to the flying of Drones or other Aerial Devices (including model aircraft on or above Council owned land:

Melton Parish Council Policy on the Flying of Drones or other Aerial Devices (including Model Aircraft)

For reasons of public safety Drones or any other Aerial Devices may not be flown from or above land owned by Melton Parish Council without permission. Permission may be sought and will only be considered where use of a Drone or other Aerial Device is required by a commercial body for a genuine business or professional reason and the body has the appropriate expertise to operate such a device with safety and possesses appropriate insurance cover to the satisfaction of the Council. Enquiries in respect of permission should be made by email to

Changes to Bus Services

Changes to Bus Services

Many of you will have heard that significant changes to First Eastern Counties’ services in the Ipswich area taking effect from Sunday 1st September. This is an extract from the ‘news item’ which appeared on their website in early August. First has also brought in a new local identity for their Ipswich depot. You may have noticed some buses in the new “Ipswich Reds” livery.

From 1st September we’re making changes to some of the times and routes of our buses around Ipswich. These changes are based on feedback from passengers, local stakeholders and our local driving team as well as extensive analysis of passenger journeys and punctuality of our services.

Our new ticket machines, introduced in May 2018, allow us to collect more detailed data on where and when people travel than has ever been possible in the past and we have carried out a detailed analysis of all of this information when designing these changes; many of which are intended to bring simpler, quicker and more direct journeys for the majority of passengers as well as ensuring the long-term sustainability of our network that is operated almost entirely without any sort of local authority subsidy.

Printed copies will be available from our Ipswich Travel Shop in Old Cattle Market Bus Station and all of our usual outlets around two to three weeks before the new services begin.

Despite the impression given by the news item, there has no discussion of consultation with East Suffolk Council or the many town & parish councils along the routes, nor with the local branch of the Campaign for Better Transport. By law, Suffolk County Council should have been given the full details on or before 5th July, but they too have neither informed nor consulted local councils.

View the new timetables and changes

The local services affected are:

63 Framlingham – Woodbridge – Ipswich.

An additional Mondays – Fridays journey from Framlingham to Ipswich, returning at 14:05. The current schooldays only journeys to/from Thomas Mills High School will remain.

64 Aldeburgh – Saxmundham – Woodbridge – Ipswich.

This will remain hourly, but after the Turban Centre they will run via Warren Hill Road & Old Barack Road direct to the Duke of York, omitting Drybridge Hill, Bullards Lane, Peterhouse Crescent & Naunton Road. After that, they will go straight down the A12, bypassing the Red Lion and Black Tiles; none will call at TESCO (but see 65 below). Early morning (e.g. 06:45 from Melton) and ‘late’ evening peak buses (e.g. 18:20 & 18:50 from Ipswich) will cease.

65 Aldeburgh – Rendlesham – Woodbridge – Ipswich.

The replacement for service 800 (see below) is four journeys Rendlesham – Woodbridge – Ipswich Mondays to Fridays (but only two from Ipswich) with just two each way on Saturdays. There will be an additional two starting from and finishing at Melton on Mondays to Fridays.

The good news for Melton is that all 65s will run via Station Road, Woods Lane, Bredfield Road & Pytches Road, but this will mean no buses along Melton Road.

The bad news for Woodbridge is that, like the 64, all journeys will omit Drybridge Hill, Bullards Lane, Peterhouse Crescent & Naunton Road. From the Duke of York they will follow the existing route via TESCO.

800 Copdock Park-&-Ride – Ipswich – Martlesham Park-&-Ride – Woodbridge – Rendlesham.

Will remain every 15 minutes, but the hourly extension to Woodbridge & Rendlesham will be withdrawn. See service 65 above.

Outside our immediate locality;

66 Ipswich – Kesgrave – Martlesham Heath.

The former Superoute 66 will omit Eagle Way, thus cutting off the many inhabitants of Martlesham Heath. 12% of the 1,440 households there have no car; it has a population of about 3,000 of which about 18% are aged 70 and older.

68 Kesgrave – Ipswich Hospital (Garret Anderson Centre) – Ipswich.

This recently introduced service, First’s response to repeated requests for buses to serve the specially built bus terminal within Ipswich Hospital grounds, will cease. So whilst all Ipswich Buses (the ‘green buses’) passing the hospital will serve the Garret Anderson Centre, none of First’s will.

Now that I’ve managed to build up a complete picture of the changes, I will finish updating the ‘new look’ Local Transport Guide, which was on the verge of publication when this news broke.

If you wish to complain about these cuts, please email or write to:-

Mr SA Wickers,
First Eastern Counties Buses Ltd.,
Bus Depot,

Please try to copy to your county and district councillors and Parish Clerk:

Cllr Rachel Smith-Lyte – District Councillor

Cllr Alexander Nicoll – County Councillor

William Grosvenor – Melton Parish Clerk


Geof Butterwick
Melton Parish Council
Local Transport Officer
22nd August 2019