Ahead of the Parish Council meeting on the 20th January please find below a statement regarding the B1078 and Crown Corner, and a response to the Coddenham Centre CIO regarding funding.
19th January 2022
This Parish Council has spent a great deal of time and effort in trying to identify ways of ameliorating the considerable local impacts associated with traffic on the B1078 through the village.
Councillors have continued to report, through Lorrywatch, numerous infringements of the HGV restriction westbound through the village. Suffolk County Council Trading Standards administer the enforcement of the weight limit with no tangible success.
We have prepared and submitted substantial objections to the Planning Inspectorate concerning the potential impact of the likely generation through the village for many years.
We have also prepared and submitted detailed reasons why the review being conducted by Suffolk County Council (SCC) into their Designated Lorry Route plan should exclude the identification of the B1078 through Coddenham as a preferred route for HGV movements.
We have constantly complained about the lack of any enforcement of the 20mph limit.
We have recently been encouraged to submit to SCC suggestions for possible actions by that Council, to ease congestion, assist highway safety to protect buildings from vehicle strikes, and, in particular, to try and improve pedestrian safety. We have put forward a number of ideas including improving road markings, the installation of bollards to protect buildings and at Crown Corner to help pedestrian safety where numerous vehicles mount the kerb.
One of the items on our list was investigating the possibility of improving visibility for pedestrians attempting to cross the High Street by having a short length of double yellow lines ON THE INSIDE OF THE CROWN CORNER ONLY. Any one attending our regular meetings would have heard the discussion concerning these ideas which included clearly expressed concern that any measures should not have any adverse impact on the village shop. We did not suggest that any restrictions should be considered or were necessary on the northern side of the road or anywhere near the shop.
Our suggestions, which are still under consideration, were met by the comment from County Councillor Matthew Hicks that any scheme should include the lines on both sides of the road as indicated on the Newsletter plan delivered to every household in the village.
It was extremely distressing that an unnamed surveyor should have offered any comments at all to parishioners when he was simply surveying the area and before the Parish Council had any suggestion that the limited scheme was apparently unacceptable to the Highway Authority.
To repeat, the Parish Council has been working hard to try and improve highway conditions for parishioners whilst protecting the interests of the shop and are dismayed at the misinformed comments and inaccurate speculation on what is actually being suggested.
Any measures would be the subject of informal consultation by the Parish Council and in respect of any Traffic Order, by SCC.
It remains a mystery as to why the shop should have reached the conclusion that Parish Councillors did not support the enterprise when a more informed approach would have revealed that is far from the case. The Parish Council strongly suggest that attendance at meetings would have helped as matters relating to the B1078 have been on the agenda as a repeat item for months.
PROPOSAL: That the Council inform SCC that the scheme suggested by them that includes parking restrictions on the northern side of The High Street or anywhere in proximity of the shop is unacceptable, and that the original more limited scheme should be reconsidered for Parish consultation. In the event that SCC do not change their position, then the proposed scheme should be abandoned in its entirety.
17th January 2022
Thank you for seeing me on Saturday morning when I was able to advise you that the Parish Council’s Finance Working Group (FWG) have recommended to Council that a Grant of £4,750 be given for the year 2022/23 to The Coddenham Community Centre CIO.
At the Council’s meetings we are always pleased to hear in your updates of how well The Centre is performing especially in these challenging times. You are to be congratulated for continuing throughout the last period when so many similar locations have been closed and therefore enabling events to take place and for the significant growth in usage as stated in your recent reports. Council would however appreciate a recognition in your reports of the significant contribution the Parish Council makes to The Centre that has enabled it to thrive in these difficult times including retaining the debt which stands at £93,000 in addition to the £25,000 contribution to reserve funds on transfer and the annual financial support to date.
When setting the 2022/23 budget the council is aware of the financial challenges placed upon all parishioners. The Parish Council’s aim is to not increase its proportion of the council tax and to maintain the Parish Council’s precept at the same level as 21/22. It should also be noted that the 2022/23 precept will be supported by the exceptionally kind gift that will fund the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) debt. It should be pointed out that the donation was accompanied by the desire and wish that the rate payers of the parish should benefit. It was thought that there were tough times ahead for at least 2 years. How true it has turned out to be.
I hope this explanation has the effect of answering Ray’s question ‘why cannot you raise the precept ‘.
In 2022/23 the Council needs to address the significant risk that we have been running with the reserve fund below the 50% of precept benchmark recommended by the National Association of Parish Councils. Sentiments I feel sure you can readily empathise with as you share similar objectives.
As you are aware the annual repayment to the PWLB is £13,152. 00. Remaining at this level until 2027/28. This debt is retained by the Council. The transfer of the Council’s assets to the Charity was not saddled with any form of debt. This debt is huge for a Parish of our size and one that Council feels that it is prudent to smooth out for as long as possible in an attempt to reduce the impact of a return to full repayments into the year 2024/25. The last repayment will be December 2031.
The grant of £4,750 when compared to your request will, we recognise, come as a disappointment to you. I do acknowledge your comments at our meeting that this could dent your aspirations for future personal achievement.
At our meeting I did not have some relevant financial figures at my fingertips. If your original request was factored in, the precept would be increased by 16.83% which would represent 28.77% of the total precept. If we were to factor in the full repayment to PWLB ie. No gift aid. (this will be the position in 24/25 ). The total support to The Centre would represent 46.98% of the total precept. That is a total of £24,245 per annum.
The FWG cannot justify increasing taxes on parishioners to support the full extent of the application. The scrutiny of available financial information gives confidence to the FWG that funding of this extent is not required and therefore the financial burden does not need to be passed on to parishioners who will be facing considerable increases nationally in their taxation levels.
The charity has funding opportunities, having charitable status (the council does not) and is able, as you have successfully demonstrated, to secure further funding should it be required for specific purposes, being one of many transfer reasonings.
The FWG congratulate The Centre on the financial performance this year. However, it is noted in the budget forecast for 22/23, that even accounting for seasonality, the revenue forecasts are significantly lower than that has been achieved in the current year.
We do not underestimate the considerable energies, from all sources, that are necessary to be effective in creating a successful undertaking. Especially when all this energy is created from voluntary input. Should it become desirable that you seek amalgamation with another Charity, we trust you will keep Council informed. I sincerely hope this does not become necessary.
During our meeting you did float the idea that you may seek a contribution of £40,000, from the Parish Council, being your estimated value of inherited problems. I feel sure that Council would vigorously contest this assertion and, as you rightly point out, should your assertion succeed there would be no doubt that it would have to be sought from the parishioners in some form. I agree that there would be confrontation and polarisation. The Council has no Money tree. I did suggest it should be possible to effect payment at the beginning of the month of payment. I do not recollect that this was annually.
As I indicated at our meeting it is not possible for us to give any guarantee as to future payments. Council is not permitted to set budgets in advance for future years. Whilst I appreciate that you would like the confidence of having the comfort of a minimum income, I regret that it is not possible, as I see it, for this to be achieved. I would hope that all future funding applications would take into account the spirit of the original transfer agreement, and this would be of paramount importance.
I note that you wish to inform your ‘stakeholders ‘. Who are they and what do you classify as such? We have already received an email on this subject matter. Do you mean the public at large?
In conclusion could I suggest that, despite disappointments, all parties seek to achieve cordial relationships.
After all we are all working, pro bono, for the best interests of the same people.
Best wishes for success in calmer waters during 22/23
Allan Fowler Chair : Coddenham Parish Council.
Our objections to the lorry route through Coddenham have been published in the local East Anglian News
We have delivered the latest newsletter to every house in our parish. The newsletter has the very latest updates on the current news and issues that affect our parish. An electronic version is available from this website by visiting our newsletters section.
Highways England will be carrying out essential barrier and drainage replacement work on the A14 between junctions 50 and 52. Once complete, the road will be able to better disperse surface water and will be less prone to flooding.
The plan is to complete the work over 9 weeks starting on Monday 6 December until Friday 4 February 2022, weather permitting.
To carry out our work safely, the A14 will need to be closed at various locations. All closures will be overnight between 8pm and 6am on weeknights only. No work will happen between 20 December 2021 and 4 January 2022, although traffic management may need to be left in place if it’s not safe to remove it. Drivers will be diverted off the A14 to follow a well signed diversion route as follows:
For safety reasons, speeds will be restricted on the A14 to 50mph during the day and a lane 2 closure will remain in place on the opposite carriageway.
How to find out more
To find out more about road improvements we’re carrying out across the East of England, please visit our website at www.highwaysengland.co.uk/our-work/east/. If you would like more information, please contact us on 0300 123 5000, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
St Mary's churchyard is the responsibility of the Parish Council. Everyone in Coddenham, and our many visitors, know how special it is, and this year we have had two experts praising the churchyard.
Ecologist George Peterken contacted Suffolk Wildlife Trust, following a two week visit to the area, to say he is full of praise for what he saw at Coddenham, he sites it as "the best in his fortnight’s visit". In fact, he puts it in a national "100 best churchyards, not just for the wealth of flowers but also for the obvious interest in managing for them".
Also Martin Sanford from Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service, who advises us on flora in the churchyard, contacted us recently to say:
"I happened to stop at Coddenham for lunch today and just wanted to let you know the churchyard looks magnificent. It is a credit to the village and you should be very proud to have kept it in such splendid condition."
The churchyard is a credit to all the volunteers over many decades who have made it what it is today. The Parish Council particularly wish to thank Cllr John Peecock for his continued hard work.
If you come across any local issues, please report them. Issues other than roads and grit bins can be reported directly to the District Council. This includes a wide range of issues including anti-social behaviour, graffiti, flooding, alleged breaches of planning, abandoned vehicles and even dead animals. To do this please visit the Mid-Suffolk District Council Reporting website. If the issue relates to the roads/highways then you can report it directly to Suffolk County Council Highways team. This includes any problems with blocked drains, flooding, heavy goods vehicle incidents, grass cutting, signs, road markings, potholes, pavement defects, public right of ways, street lighting, trees or hedges that affect the highway and more. Please visit the Suffolk County Council Highways website. If you discover a grit bin that has run out of grit please contact the Parish Clerk because Suffolk County Council only refill bins if it is reported by a Parish Council.
Coddenham was the largest settlement in Suffolk during the Roman occupation of Britain. Situated on the B1078, 2 miles to the east of the A140 and 8 miles to the North of Ipswich in the heart of Mid Suffolk.
This website provides information about the formal business of the Parish Council. This includes a record of meetings, details of Councillors and the work they do, Parish Council newsletters, links to public consultations and an events calendar showing future meeting dates and other local events.
Coddenham has a wide range of local community groups, including St Marys Church, a Community Shop, a Community Centre for sports and leisure, a History Club and a Country Club for drinks and events. Please click on Community Links to find out more.
Information about the Coddenham Community Response Group, can be found on the Coddenham Community Response Group Link Page