Melton Messenger – A Note from Alan – May 2021

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that a version of this article appears in the In-Touch magazine.  From next month a shorter version will also appear in the Flyer.  This while the Melton Messenger is just an online magazine.

This month rather than looking forward I am having a look at what the Council has done over the last twelve months.  I have to do a report for the Annual Parish Meeting, which is an event I always look forward to; meeting people, some light refreshments and a chat afterwards.  Of course all that is not possible at the moment so yes you’ve guessed, it’s another Zoom meeting!

Every year I present an award to a local person in recognition of things they have done in Melton.  This year has been a tough one for all of us and I asked for nominations.  I received three nominations and rather than go for one or the other I thought “Why not make them all winners?”

The winners are:-

Photo of Marie-Therese Ind
Marie-Therese Ind
Photo of Emma Needs
Emma Needs
Photo of Maggie Porter
Maggie Porter
  1. Marie-Therese Ind – she has been a constant source of support for the Parish Council especially when we have had joint events with the church like the fete.  She also works very hard within the community as part of the seniors’ lunch clubs, the church’s good neighbour scheme, Mothers Union, Flower Guild and the Free Little Pantry. Finally, she had been going in to listen to children reading in the school pre-pandemic. 
  2. Emma Needs – This year Emma has volunteered at the EACH (East Anglian Children’s Hospice) shop in Woodbridge and helped them when they were preparing to re-open after the first lockdown.  Emma has supported Melton Primary School as a volunteer. Prior to Covid-19, Emma was involved in renovating the boats for the new school allotment and she also helped put up and paint fences for the new area.   Emma is secretary, committee member, and volunteer coordinator for the Melton Good Neighbour Scheme.  Emma has been one of the main contacts for volunteers and volunteered a huge number of hours since the scheme was launched. She has also ensured the MGNS systems were in place to support our community effectively.
  3. Maggie Porter – Maggie Porter who has done 5 years’ service as a key player on the committee of Melton WI as Treasurer.  At the recent Melton WI AGM set up by Maggie via Zoom, members had nothing but praise for Melton WI’s efforts to stick together and keep going through the pandemic.  Many of the members are from an older demographic and quite a few live alone so the WI has become even more important for them this year.   Maggie has done a great job of keeping everyone in contact and her sense of fun and “we’re all in this together, ladies” attitude has made a difference.  Maggie is a real asset to the Melton community. I see first-hand all the good things she does as of course she is my wife.

The winners all receive a framed signed certificate and a voucher to spend on something they like.

New tennis court fencing
New tennis court fencing

Here are the highlights from 2020 – 2021. A busy year despite the virus!

  1. The office is well established and is an asset to MPC rather than squandering money on rent
  2. There obviously was no fete in 2020 or this year, however we are hoping to have a fete in 2022.
  3. The speed indicator (SID) was purchased and after some initial teething troubles is now working.  We intend to buy a second one that will be solar powered to live permanently in Woods Lane.
  4. Some new benches have been fitted in the recreation ground.
  5. The process of divesting the 21 pieces of land from East Suffolk Council to has now been completed.
  6. This year we gave small grants to 3 local organisations.
  7. Two new dog poo bins were installed.
  8. The Melton Road Recreation Ground now has CCTV to try to reduce anti-social behaviour.  We have replaced the tennis court fencing and I think it looks great.  Also the car park is due to be slightly enlarged and resurfaced this year.
  9. Over the years the vegetation had crept out from the hedge bordering the park.   We have had the footpath cleared back so it is wider. 
  10. The Melton Village sign 2012 roundel was vandalised. A replacement is made from stainless steel now so it should last indefinitely. 
  11. Two new roundels were fitted to the Beacon to commemorate the men and women of Melton who served their country in World War II. 
  12. Following public consultations, we have Suffolk Highways working on designs for two island crossing points in Melton Road and looking at protecting road junctions with double yellow lines. 
  13. We started work on designating two local roads as Quiet Lanes these are Lodge Farm Lane and St Audrys Lane.
  14. The Pavilion project is underway and the planning application to replace the existing building has been submitted.

Hopefully meetings will start to get back to a more normal footing with some of us at the office meeting room with others Zooming in.

Alan Porter

Chairman – Melton Parish Council

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