The battle for Row Heath



Over the past 11 year years I have had the honour of representing my community on Suffolk County Council and as elections approach I start my campaign full of beans.  After 11 years on a council it might seem that you might have done everything but far from it, Local Government is changing and resident’s expectation of the services they want and need is also changing. On the one hand, there is considerable less money in Local Government that there used to be, in the past 7 years Suffolk County Council has saved over £200M yet delivers more services that ever before. We done this by being business like in our approach to the way the council runs.

People want faster better services such as road repairs and want to know that Children are protected, we have prioritised Children Services and protected the budgets with which hard working teams go about their business, and this is recognised by OFSTED who rate our Children services as good.  For older residents who can’t afford their own care, we make sure they are looked after with love and dignity, and quite right to, we do this by making sure we have a robust relationship with providers of services, holding them to account, ever mindful we are the holders of the public purse.

Locally, housing for our younger people so they can start to get on the housing ladder is vital, as is new schools and school places. As the housing arrives we want better facilities in our communities and we also want to know that if we reach a stage in life that we can’t use a car that our lovely rural villages do not become traps.  On all these fronts, I try to be a strong voice for Row Heath advocating locally, in Ipswich and nationally for our area. Today for instances I am in Cambridge meeting senior officials about the future of RAF Mildenhall a set of decisions that will affect the economic prospect of Row Heath for years to come.

We have a number of plans we will be putting forwards in our manifesto, all careful costed out.  Labour Finance Spokesperson on the county council Len Jacklyn is on record as saying ‘It is predicted that finances should improve over the next four years and spending now on statutory costs will begin to pay off in 2020’. A truly scary comment as they have been to all the same conferences I have been and at not one of them did it predicted that the finances will improve much.  Their Financially Dangerous Manifesto makes promises they could not hope or maybe even be allowed to fulfil or maybe Labour have some Corbinista moneytree nightmare where he takes power and removes the Council Tax cap and they can go back to the good of days of treating your hard-earned money as their personal piggy bank.  It’s well worth having a look at their bizarrely already published Manifesto it is truly Financially Dangerous.

So, what a contrast we have spent the past year working on our manifesto, carefully costing it every step of the way. And I can’t wait to get it launched and be out their explaining to residents how we are going to take Suffolk forward.

In the meantime, as I am out and about I am asking residents to fill in my survey or do it on line.  The one for my Division Row Heath is please do click through and take the survey, as I am very keen to hear your views.


Speeding in our villages

Showing Matt Hancock MP and Geoffrey Van Orden MEP the speed of traffic entering Lakenheath along Station Road

Showing Matt Hancock MP and Geoffrey Van Orden MEP the speed of traffic entering Lakenheath along Station Road

During the course of the last 4 years I have tried to survey every village in my Row Heath Division and along with Council Tax costs one of the other top issues is speeding through our villages. The other day I was out canvassing with Matthew Hancock our MP and joined by Geoffrey Van Orden and his wife Fanny and I took the opportunity to show then one of the issues we face in Lakenheath on Station Road.This road is long and straight and traffic does enter the village too fast, I think in most cases it’s not a case of drivers being anti-social it’s just that we all forget form time to time what speed is appropriate for which environment we are travelling in.

But I also think it’s fair to say for many people the 30mph speed signs are the point at which they slow down. This is particularly true on another of my Division’s roads as you enter Tuddenham St. Mary from the Higham end but the Highway code says it is the speed you should be doing as you come up to the signage, not the braking point!

Equally sometimes drivers use the sight up the road of the national speed limit signage as they exit a village to speed up, usually the signage is placed where it is to make sure at junctions as with Woodlands along Station Road in Lakenheath the speed is appropriate to make the junction safe.

Showing Matt Hancock MP and Geoffrey Van Orden MEP the speed of traffic in Station road, Lakenheath

Showing Matt Hancock MP and Geoffrey Van Orden MEP the speed of traffic exiting Lakenheath at the Woodlands junction

We have tried, over the years, many things from gateway signage to red road patches on the roads with 30mph painted as you enter our villages; all are effective for a time but over time, we all get used to them and ignore them. What is more effective is Police and community speed watch enforcement which we need to expanded equally it is the occasional nature of this type of activity which makes it so effective.

That’s why I am delighted to have been a part of the Suffolk County Councils Cabinet’s decision to purchase as series of new mobile warning signs that give you your speed as you approach, these will move from location to locations across Suffolk and I have already booked them for the known speeding entrances to many of our villages. They will come for a period of time remind people and just as drivers get used to them move on and reappear again a few months later, the best evidence is that this in conjunction with the other measures we have in place this will have an effect of slowing the average speed in our villages

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