Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – March 2021

England Coast Path
Melton Parish Council has submitted a response to the consultation on the Felixstowe to Bawdsey stretch of the England Coast Path, which runs through Melton along the river wall.
Whilst Melton PC supports the improved coastal access represented by this plan, Councillors are concerned about the increasingly heavy use of the coastal path through Melton and the impact on sensitive, designated sites.

Deben Monitoring Post
We have agreed with the Deben Estuary Partnership to site a monitoring post on the river here in Melton. We will take photographs regularly and they will be uploaded to the D.E.P. Facebook page. The team will be able to keep a close eye on how the coastline is changing and whether there is any need for more interventions to protect the saltmarsh, an important habitat.

Quiet Lanes Consultation
You may have noticed the green Quiet Lanes signs on some roads in other local parishes and now Melton has nominated two roads for this scheme. Once a route has been designated as a Quiet Lane, it means that walkers, cyclists and equestrian users take priority over motorised vehicles. The two roads we have selected as suitable are Lodge Farm Lane and St Audrys Lane. Both have been well used by walkers during the recent Lockdowns. Taken together they form an arc between Yarmouth Road and Saddlemakers Lane and connect to several footpaths, making a circular route round the village. The cost of the new signs will be covered by grants available to councils supporting the scheme. All residents are invited to give their feedback by emailing the parish council office by 30th April. We will be delivering leaflets to surrounding houses soon.

Traffic levels in Melton
We have been raising concerns to Suffolk County Council about the volume of traffic in Melton. Despite the pandemic, traffic volumes remain similar to previous years which infers that once the pandemic is over traffic volumes will be even higher. It is a difficult situation compounded by HGV traffic to and from the Bentwaters, the state of the ‘kinked’ level crossing and the addition of the container site near Riduna Park. It appears that the traffic volume around Bentwaters is nearing its maximum permitted capacity. A group of parish councils has got together and is lobbying Suffolk County Council to take some action.

Last year Suffolk County Council instigated a review of lorry routing in Suffolk. This review comprises two parts; the first is a technical review looking at changes to the network for example the capacity of bridges, the location of new residential and business development and a review of all existing weight restrictions in the county; the second part is a community consultation which will commence in June this year. The community review will provide parish and town councils the opportunity to provide evidence of concerns about HGV movements and routing in their area. The team will then consider this alongside the technical review and propose recommendations for changes to the lorry route network and identify any other changes that might be needed to address issues. This county-wide approach is essential, as there is a need to consider the impact of implementing a change in one area/community on those communities that would then take the HGV traffic, to avoid just moving the problem. This will be a very difficult task however, and it is important that the local issues are understood. They say they understand and empathise with the concerns we have relating to HGV traffic in Melton Parish, but it is important that these are considered across a wide area. In advance of the community review they would like to offer a meeting with us to discuss our concerns. So let’s see what happens.

Grants
We advertised as far as we could for applications for small grants.
Two applications were received by the due date and both have been paid
• Melton primary School (contribution of £500 towards the cost of Covid-19 related expenditure of c£5k)
• Patients Participation Group at Framfield House Surgery (contribution of £158.99 to cover 100% cost of a portable ECG machine).

Tennis Court Fencing
The tennis courts are a well-used facility in Melton, but the fencing has been deteriorating over the years and this has been made worse by some miscreants cutting holes in the fencing. We have continually been patching it up but now consider total replacement is the way to go.

Recreation Committee, at its meeting on 6 January 2021, considered quotes for replacing the existing tennis court chain link fencing. Three companies were originally approached to quote for replacing the existing chain link with more robust, vandal resistant panel fencing. Funding is being sought from the PlayPot, which is held by East Suffolk Council.

Recreation Committee considered the quotes and felt that the level of detail and the specification contained in one quote made it the preferred option. The decision has been agreed by East Suffolk Council and will be funded by the PlayPot. The PlayPot funds were put in place before Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) was introduced. So no cost for this project comes from our own funds. This project should be taking place in March and hopefully will be finished in time for when restrictions are lifted and tennis is allowed again.

Melton Road Crossings Consultation
Melton Parish Council has carried out several consultations with Melton residents on how money received from Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) should be spent. The request for road crossings along Melton Road, to enable safer passage across the road and to help reduce speeding, has received much public support. We hope to have two crossing points installed.

Three areas were identified as being natural crossing points: Melton Playing Fields/Melton Produce, The Spar/John Grose Garage and New Quay Lane/Turnpike Lane.

Working closely with Highways, two locations have been suggested that combine a useful crossing point with the least loss of parking spaces along Melton Road. The crossings will be island refuges in the middle of the road. Full details can also be seen here: www.melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk/melton-road-crossings/

If you have any questions or feedback about these proposed crossings please contact the Parish office before the 15th March 2021. Leaflets have been distributed to residences along Melton Road/Melton Hill and adjoining roads.

Pavilion Replacement Project
Following the recent consultation period, here is a summary of the main concerns raised and the answers given.

  • Footprint – the new building will be no bigger than the current footprint.
  • Parish Room – It is not a new Parish room or village hall. It is emphatically not designed for meetings but for informal events linked to and used as an adjunct to outside space.
  • Loss of facilities – The only ‘facility’ that will be lost is changing rooms. However the current ones are not used and nor are they needed. The new Pavilion will bring additional facilities – a public WC that is fully accessible, flexible community space, better storage, better shelter for users of the park and playing fields and the ability to have a pop-up café.
  • Loss of green space – the path will be slightly widened, and the car park squared off which will result in a very small loss of green space.
  • Risk of vandalism – brick and HardiePlank are as vandal resistant as possible but no building is entirely resistant. Roller shutters and CCTV will be installed. We will work with the police to design out crime as far as possible. The externally accessible toilet will be open at set times.
  • Environmental considerations – solar panels, water reuse are being considered.

A big thankyou to all those Melton residents who took the time and trouble to give their feedback. At the Full Council meeting on the 17th February it was decided that the colour scheme for the pavilion will be a mix of grey and red.

Snowy Weather
The bad weather came as a bit of a blow on top of all the other problems we all face, having said that here’s a photo to gladden the heart. Thanks also to the Melton Good Neighbour Scheme who helped clear ice and snow for some residents.

Burkes Wood in the snow

A lovely shot of Burkes Wood