"The Cowlinge Annual Village meeting held in the Village Hall on ... - DOC"
1 The Cowlinge Annual Village meeting held in the Village Hall on Monday 21st April 2008 Wine and refreshments were served on arrival to the 40 people who attended Apologies were received from Christina Robson and later from Sgt Ireland that no Suffolk Police representative could be present due to an unexploded bomb found at Felixstowe which meant all Officers were seconded there The minutes from last year’s meetings on 14th May and 24th September were approved Matters arising: There were no matters arising from the minutes of last year's meeting New National Air Traffic Services stacking proposals and new Stansted runway: Linda Scott presented all the information that she had been able to assemble. There was a considerable discussion on this and an alternative of stacking over the sea was suggested. Some Parishioners said that this overflying was going to be inevitable due to the general increase in air travel and that the new stacks would have to go somewhere. There was a vote to ascertain the views of the meeting on whether these proposals should be accepted. 29 voted against the proposals and none for. There was a template available to send in objections but it was suggested that individual letters would be better. St Edmundsbury Borough Council – new Local Development Framework Core proposals: Robert Clifton-Brown said that he favoured development in villages that want it and that there was a deadline date of 9th May for comments on this. There was a comment that more houses in the village would mean more traffic which was worse than aircraft noise. There was considerable discussion on this and it was eventually agreed that Option 3 which favoured development in Haverhill should be the preference. Proposed Post Office closure: Pam Bowers said that the numbers of people using the facility had dropped to 8 per week and that half of those were members of her own family. The meeting accepted that this was not sustainable. Pam was thanked for the approx 30 years that she had run the Post Office. Suffolk Police/Neighbourhood Watch: David Wedgwood said that in the absence of the Police at the meeting he would give information regarding the Police. He said that coverage by the Police had reduced under the new Safer Neighbourhood Teams which, by general consensus, was designed and worked better for the towns and not the rural areas. However, there was an advantage in that we had a dedicated Inspector and 2 Sergeants. They do their best within the limited resources they now have. Despite his best efforts David accepts that telephone directory deliveries are no better and he now advises everyone to take in neighbour’s directories that are seen on doorsteps. Bogus callers are still around and people should still be on their guard. There is a NW Forum on 12th May at Whepstead to which everyone is invited. Suffolk County Council: Jane Midwood reported: ‘Thank you for inviting me to give my annual County Council report. Council Tax and the Budget 2008 The Council Tax increase of 3.75% for this financial year was decided in February. Suffolk County Council received a disappointing 3-year grant settlement from the government (6.8% last year, 4.9% in 2008/09 and 4.4% in 2009/10 - given the predicted rate of inflation over the next two years this effectively means a virtual freeze in our government grant. Nowhere in the East of England is there a lower tax increase. 2 The County Council budget focuses on our main priorities — care and support for the elderly, vulnerable children and families, community safety, road and pavement maintenance and public transport. Energy from Waste In October last year the decision was taken to press ahead with the development of a facility to deal with the tons of waste that can't be recycled. A suitable site has been found at Great Blakenham near Ipswich and it will serve the whole of Suffolk. However, with modern technology moving so fast this decision cannot be cast in stone and if a better site or a better technological solution can be found they will be considered. MEPs have recently made an important decision in respect of the Revised Waste Framework Directive. They have agreed to reclassify Energy from Waste as a "recovery" operation instead of its earlier status as a "disposal" operation. This means that Energy from Waste will count as part of the recycling system - and consequently count towards the important targets that we must achieve. Schools Organisation Review Last year I spoke to you about the SOR and now we are into the Statutory Notice period for the Haverhill schools involved in phase 1 of the implementation. All Middle Schools, and those Primary Schools involved in the changes, have now been served their notices. I am bitterly disappointed that SCC's Cabinet chose to ignore the wishes of the majority of parents, teachers and children in following their intention to close Clare Middle School, which I believe would make an ideal rural 11-16 Upper School. NATS Proposals Many of you will have seen the reports in the local press of the proposed new aircraft stacks for Stansted Airport which will have an impact on our local area. On May 8th there is to be a meeting in Kirtling Village Hall for local Parish Councils to discuss the proposals. There has been a great deal of discussion about this at all the Parish Council meetings that I have attended recently and St Edmundsbury Borough Council had it on the agenda for their recent Development Control Committee meeting. Unitary Authority Status In December the Government changed their minds about Ipswich Borough Council being granted Unitary Status and in February the Boundary Committee began to examine the possibility of one or more unitary authorities in the county. It will make its recommendations to the Secretary of State in December. Suffolk County Council is in favour of one unitary for the county but is very aware that there are other proposals including those being discussed by St Edmundsbury Borough Council. Locality Budget This year Cowlinge has received two grants from my Locality Budget - £2000 for repairs to the Village Hall roof and £200 for the pull down projection screen. The new printer to be shared with Great Bradley PC came out of this year's Locality Budget too and totalled £280 each. Very best wishes to all in Cowlinge and please don't hesitate to get in touch if you think I may be able to help.’ Reports from Village Organisations: Village Hall: Pam Bowers said that they were ticking over but needed more funds. The next event was an afternoon tea on 27th April and contributions of cakes, raffle prizes would be welcomed. W.I.: Valerie Woodman said that she was pleased to say that they had had a good year with very interesting speakers and trips out. There was to be an open day on 24th May at the village hall to which all are welcome. There are to be free refreshments. Valerie said that where there was felt to be an interesting evening speaker, the meeting would be open to all non-members (including men) at a nominal cost of £2. 3 St Margaret's Church: Jo Wreathall said that they were finally coming to the end of all the building work. There had been grants from various bodies. The new incumbent is due to start in September Keep Fit: Pam Bowers thanked the Parish Council for their donation to keep fit. They had been able to only have a few meetings since Christmas but they hope to be up and running again in a few weeks. Clay Pigeon Club: Mark Reed said that 4 of them returned to France but no one turned out to play this time! One of the junior members came 3rd at the Quy Fair Carol Singing: Linda Scott said that the two Carol singing evenings raised £331.23 and thanked everyone for their assistance, contributions and most generous hospitality. Bell-ringing: David Wedgwood said that the work on the bells at Stradishall (their other bell-ringing venue) was now finished. The Bishop of Dunwich held the service of dedication. They have managed to take on a recent recruit but they would still like to have more. Cowlinge Chronicle: The thanks of the meeting went to the editor Christina Robson who continues to produce excellent editions. Christina sent a message to say thanks to all contributors and that she had been the editor for 8 years now and feels it is time to hand it on. Senior Citizens Christmas Party Fund: Sylvia Bitten said that due to circumstances they were unable to hold the final party last year but she hopes to be able to organize it later this year. Parish Council: The Chairman, Diana Bowie reported: ‘The Parish Council has had another busy year with 8 meetings and 2 Village Meetings. In addition some Councillors and the Clerk have represented the Council at various meetings in Ipswich, Bury, Haverhill, Horringer, Ixworth, and Lidgate. I would like to thank as always on your behalf all our Parish Councillors who, it should be remembered, are all unpaid volunteers working for the benefit of the village. Over the year there have been 16 planning applications that have been dealt with, some large some small. Information was also passed to the enforcement section on an unauthorised structure. An on-site meeting was held at Tillbrooks Hill with a safety engineer from Ipswich Highways to discuss ways of improving the exit/entry signing. The new lining works should be completed shortly. A dangerous open well-head near a public footpath was referred to the landowner and it was rectified very quickly. The Parish Council colour laser printer is shared with Great Bradley for the production of the Cowlinge Chronicle and the Great Bradley Bugle. The printer broke down last year and was uneconomic to repair. Our County Councillor came to the rescue and very kindly funded completely a new and even better printer which makes the job of printing them very much easier and just as economical. The old allotment at the top of Trotting Horse Lane has been brought back into use again for the use of a Parishioner. The Parish Council organised the litter pick as usual this year. The first date had to be postponed due to poor weather. However, the next date was most successful with several public spirited folk 4 both young and older helping to collect many bags of rubbish and a surprising number of tyres! Others for whom the date was not suitable have kindly said they will clear different areas at a later time. Our thanks to all these people who help keep our village clean. As usual we had a welcome warm up in the village hall afterwards and a good spread of refreshments after our exercise in the fresh air. We would like to thank David Wreathall for his efforts on keeping the verges cut in between cuts by Highways and to Jim Deeks for keeping the verge and hedge cut back from Tillbrooks Hill to the Three Tuns Thanks to everyone who continues to use the recycling paper and bottle banks. The village received £258 (up from £174 last year) which was mainly in glass. Our usual thanks must go to the editor of the Chronicle, Christina Robson, for the continued excellence in the editions. We all owe Christina a huge debt for spending so much time on this. She has had a major computer problem recently which was why an edition was missed. Thanks must also go to David Wedgwood for all his usual hard work over the year on NW. There has been a major shake-up in the way Policing is organised with new Safer Neighbourhood Teams. David has been to meetings on our behalf on this and tries to ensure that our voice is heard. The Council’s thanks go to Don Nelson for cutting the Greens and footpaths over the years. Don feels it is time that he gave this up now so we are in the process of looking for a replacement. I will just mention the Parish Finances. You will all have a copy of the end of year budget review which shows that we are in very good shape. The biggest bill last year was the grant for the Village Hall roof repairs which the Parish Council had underwritten. However, it is very pleasing to be able to say that on top of the £4,595 from St Edmundsbury Borough Council, County Councillor Jane Midwood agreed to give £2,000 from her Locality budget for use on the roof repairs. I said at last year’s meeting and I quote ‘that this would help to considerably reduce the total amount that the Parish Council has to finally pay and this will be reflected in next year’s Council Taxes’. Well the Council Tax this year is £24.51 for a band ‘D’ property whereas last year it was £38.81 and the previous year was £30.19. So we have fulfilled our promise.’ Forthcoming events: In addition to the events above the following event was notified: Lunch at Sylvia Bitten’s 11th August in aid of church funds. Any other ideas/problems: David Wedgwood suggested that in light of the lower turn out for the litter pick this year perhaps it might be an idea to have those who are willing ‘look after’ an area all year round. There are oil drums thought to be left over from road repairs near Bridgelands. Pam Bowers thanked Diana Bowie and Meg Ward for clearing the leaves in the village hall car park. She also said that a notice had been put up asking people not to park in the village hall car park other than patrons when the hall is in use. It is hoped to eventually have a chain across the entrance to prevent unauthorized parking. There was no further business and the Chairman thanked everyone for coming and closed the meeting at 9.15 p.m. Signed Chairman