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Current Issues

This page provides more details on some of the hot topics the Council is currently working. If you have any comments or suggestions then please contact our Clerk

Current Issues are:

Three Cocked Hat: Felling of Lime Trees

Traffic: Congestion, Speed, Accidents and Sizewell C

Finance: Setting the 2021/22 Budget

Websites: Why does Coddenham have multiple websites?

Planning:  The Dukes Head  and Pipps Ford 


Three Cocked Hat: Felling of Lime Trees

Last Updated: 18th April '21
Regular inspection of trees on land within the ownership of the Parish Council revealed serious concern in respect of three lime trees on the Three Cocked Hat all of which showed serious signs of rot towards the base of their trunks. Earlier this year a single tree was felled and on 17th April two further trees were removed. Both trees were seriously affected by decay and rot in their trunks as shown on the photographs below. The large trunk shows a “V” shaped stain line above which the entire trunk is dead wood constituting about 75% of the cross section. The second smaller tree had very extensive more advanced rot along the entire length of the trunk.
  
Three Cocked Hat Trees 5 Three Cocked Hat Trees 6
The Parish Council take their responsibility both towards the environment and public safety very seriously. We are fully aware of the need to take great care when felling trees to ensure that no wildlife was present or nesting in any part of the trees and that the felling would not affect adjacent trees which do indeed contain rooks nests. The Council’s Professional Contractor and a Parish Councillor had been surveying the trees for several weeks before felling took place to ensure that that there was no disturbance to wildlife. Both trees were immediately adjacent to the B1078 with safety in this case a significant priority.

Traffic: Congestion, Speed, Accidents and Sizewell C

Last Updated: 27th March '21

Congestion

Those that live on, or near, the High Street and Church Road will be aware of the increasing problems of congestion, particularly when there is a problem with the main roads, or the Orwell Bridge, and our parish becomes a cut-through. Some of you will be aware that earlier this year an ambulance on the way to an incident was stuck in the High Street and couldn't reach its destination, more recently Police cars were also blocked and had to turn around.

Over the years the Council has been very active, however it is not a simple issue to solve. The High Street is notorious for congestion problems which have a knock on effect on Church Road and School Lane. We know that cars parked are being hit and there have been a number of accidents. The Council is in regular discussion with Suffolk Council Leader Matthew Hicks, Mid Suffolk District Councillors Tim Passmore and John Whitehead. Tim is also Police & Crime Commissioner for Suffolk.

In December '20 some of our Parish Councillors met with Matthew Hicks and a range of improvements were discussed. As a result Matthew Hicks has sent on our requirements, with his endorsement, to Suffolk County Council Highways. It will take a few months before we hear a response back but this will continue to be reviewed by our "B1078 and Highways Working Group" chaired by Cllr John Peecock as well as the full Parish Council.

This is timely because of a review of the effectiveness and the routes for the Suffolk Lorry Route Network (LRN). The LRN is designed so that HGV lorries should not come down the High Street and are only allowed to go up-hill. We are part of the Lorry Watch Scheme however we have reported that it is not effective and despite raising examples the LRN is Suffolk, run by Trading Standards, have not taken action against a single offender.  Useful link:  https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/lorry-management/

Congestion is clearly not an easy issue to resolve in Coddenham, it has not been solved despite it being a priority for many years. It is going to take a significant change to make a difference, such as a bypass around Ipswich so that we are not a rat-run for access from the A14 to the coastal side of our county (particularly an issue with Sizewell C coming). When transformational options have been previously put in front of residents there has been strong objections, and therefore the congestion, and associated risks to property, injury to people and impact on property prices continues to be a major issue with no apparent solution.

Impact of Sizewell C

Of significant recent concern are the plans for Sizewell C. Having reviewed this development the Council has written to the Planning Authority to express our serious concern about the lack of infrastructure to support this development and the direct impact we expect on our Parish. For more details please read our response letter by clicking on Parish Council Response Letter: Sizewell C

As part of its response to EDF Energy’s latest community consultation on its application for Sizewell C, Suffolk County Council (SCC) has welcomed the energy provider’s movement towards reducing the number of additional heavy good vehicle movements on Suffolk’s roads and increasing the use of rail and marine freight deliveries during site construction. SCC has urged EDF Energy for many years to maximise freight deliveries by sea and rail and significantly, being of the view that the transport proposals were not sustainable, so it welcomes the proposals for an additional Beach Landing Facility on Sizewell Beach to bring construction materials in by sea, as well as an additional night-time rail delivery of materials to site. In its response, SCC also reflects that many of the proposals offered still lack vital elements in detail and assessment at this stage – such as impacts of the proposals on the coastline or night-time disturbance of residents living close to railway lines. SCC would welcome the opportunity for further dialogue with SZC C to better understand details of the current proposals, and the evidence base which has led to them.It is encouraging to see that EDF Energy has begun listening to the concerns raised by SCC and Suffolk’s communities include the input from our Parish Council. Recognising the need for further detail, SCC does welcome the principle of the changes proposed by EDF Energy, as they begin to address some of the concerns repeatedly raised. However, there still remains work to be done if the scheme is to be acceptable to SCC and local communities - not least in the area of further eliminating, minimising, mitigating, or compensating for the impact of the scheme on Suffolk’s unique natural environment.

Speeding

A 20mph speed restriction was introduced a few years ago to help reduce speeds in Coddenham. Unfortunately, Suffolk Police has stated that exceeding speeds in a 20mph area will not be enforced.

The Day Foundation has provided the Council with a speed indicator device which you can see on School Road. Many thanks to Colin Hardy for managing the speed indicator device and providing the results.

The pie chart below shows the most recent data from traffic in both directions along School Road. The data shows 60% of traffic at or below the 20mph limit and 98% at or below 30mph

Speeding Pie Chart

Traffic Speed Results – School Road

The Parish Council welcomes any suggestions or comments from parishioners as to how to reduce traffic, reduce accidents and reduce traffic speeds through our parish. Please contact us via the Parish Clerk


Finance: Setting the 2021/22 Budget

Last Updated: 28th January '21

During October to January each year, all Parish Councils set their budgets for the next financial year (which runs from April to March). This is important because it directly affects the amount of Council Tax we all have to pay, this is because part of the Council Tax bill is for the Parish Council (called the "Parish Precept").

The amount you pay to the Parish Council through your Council Tax bill is based on the total Precept divided by the number of houses, and the council tax band of your property.

For Coddenham, the Precept is broken down into four main areas, plus a general reserve fund (for emergencies).

One of the biggest parts of the Precept is the payment of a loan dating back to when the Community Centre was first built. This costs the Parish ~£13,000 each year. For the past three years the Day Foundation has very kindly paid this loan payment, but unfortunately they recently decided they couldn’t continue their support. We are very pleased to announce that in response to our Autumn/Winter newsletter, benefactors from within the parish, who wish to remain anonymous, have offered to pay the loan payments for the next two years. On behalf of all parishioners, the Parish Council have expressed our thanks for this act of extreme generosity.

The Precept for the current financial year (2020/21) was £37,810 in total, which works out at £136 per year for a Band D home. We were going to have to increase the precept by £17,000 to cover repaying the loan as well as a business rate demand for the Community Centre, taking it to over £50,000 (around £200 for a Band D home). However, this very generous gift, combined with careful financial management of our budgets, has meant that the precept in total will be dropping to £32,227 (£117 for a Band D home). Overall, this means that the Parish Council precept within your tax bill will drop by 14% for the year 2021.

The graph below shows how careful financial management has reduced the expected precept from over £50,000 to £45,227, and the generous gift has reduced the precept further to just £32,227.

 

Precept Graph Updated January 21

How Council Budget Is Made Up

The main groups of costs are summarised below. Please note that Mid-Suffolk District Council use Band D homes as the average, so the costs per home quoted are based on Band D and therefore costs will be greater if you live in Band E or higher, and lower if you live in Band C or lower.

1)    The “Ongoing Costs”

These are the costs for a range of services in the parish, this ranges from our Clerk's salary, street lighting, maintenance of the churchyard, tree surgery, ground maintenance to dog litter bins. For 2021/22 this will be £14,048 plus a provision of £1,000 to increase our emergency reserve funds. This means that the average Band D household will pay ~£52 a year for these costs.

2)    The Community Centre Loan

This is the cost of repaying loans, taken out when the Community Centre was first built, for the purchase of the centre and surrounding land. Unfortunately, the Council at the time (none of whom are now involved with the current Council) took a decision to decline an offer of financial support from The Day Foundation and instead took out a Government loan. These loans will be fully repaid by 2030. This decision has left the parish with a significant financial burden which is why the precept payments in our Council Tax payments are one of the highest in Suffolk.

For the last three years The Day Foundation has kindly been able to fund this loan, thereby preventing the need for it to be paid for through the precept payment. However the Day Foundation have notified the Council that they will be withdrawing their support. This would have meant having to increase the Precept by £13,152 to pay for the loan repayment, however, as mentioned above we are delighted that benefactors have come forward with the extremely generous gift of paying £13,000 each year for the next two years. This has saved a Band D home ~£49 a year.

3)    Supporting the Community Centre CIO

in 2019 the Parish Council transferred ownership of the Community Centre building, tennis courts, bowls green and the recreational area to a newly formed charitable incorporated organisation (CIO). The Parish Council has funded the Community Centre more than £30,000 for this year and last, in addition to providing £25,000 reserve funds. For 2021/22 agreement has been reached between the Parish Council and the Coddenham Centre CIO to fully support the CIO budget proposal of £13,136. This means that the average Band D household will pay ~£49 next year for these costs.

The Parish Council has funded the Community Centre CIO £15,286 for this year (20/21) and the same for the previous year (19/20), this is in addition to providing £25,000 reserve funds (a total of £55,000 in two years).

4)    Business Rates

Mid-Suffolk District Council is seeking business rate payments for the Community Centre, including the tennis courts and bowling green. Unfortunately, the previous Parish Council was advised that business rates would not be due and made no provision. This totals almost £10,000 for the past three years. In order to minimise the impact on the precept we have reached an agreement to spread the payment over three years and we are separately challenging the rateable value applied to parts of the premises. The outcome of our challenge will not be known until later in 2021.

Our Parish Councillor John Peecock is leading the review and the challenge of these charges. The payment in 21/22 will be £3,892 and this means that the average Band D household will pay £16 a year for these costs.

5)    General Reserve

In addition to the operating costs we also hold a ‘General Reserve’. This is used for when we need exceptional items of expenditure. A recent example was when the Church wall needed urgent repairs. The reserves have reduced over recent years to around £8,000 and we need to ensure we have sufficient reserve funds. The Parish Council identified this risk last year and included a £7,000 provision in the budget. As a result, we only need to increase the General Reserve by £1,000 in the 21/22 budget and this has been included in the Ongoing Costs £15,048.

 

If you have any questions or concerns please contact our Parish Clerk or join us at a Parish Council Meeting.

 


Websites: Why does Coddenham have multiple websites?

Last Updated: 12th February '21

For such a small community we have numerous websites. This is not ideal because it fragments local community information. Historically, the Parish Council website (a previous version to this one) included pages for all of the community groups. However, the community group web pages were not kept up to date, partly because editing the site was difficult and time consuming. The result was that in addition to the Parish Council website a separate village website was created managed by volunteers. Unfortunately, despite a lot of work, this too was difficult to keep up to date and was withdrawn a few years ago.

At the end of 2019 discussions were taking place to centralise all the community groups, including the Parish Council, onto a single website. In March 2020, in response to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a separate website was established for the CCRG (Coddenham COVID-19 Response Group). Later in 2020 the website changed to become the Coddenham Community Response Group providing a website presence for many of the community groups.

The Parish Council had decided to change from its previous website provider, due to difficulties in editing, and it considered a number of website providers, including moving to the new website created for the CCRG. However, becoming part of a single website by using the same website as that created for the CCRG turned out to be not possible. This is primarily for three reasons:

1. Cost: the Parish Council has a responsibility, and accountability, to parishioners to manage what it spends, since the money comes from all of our council tax bills. The website platform created for the CCRG would have cost taxpayers >£600 per year, at least six-times what our current platform costs (just £100 per year).

2. Legal Compliance: Parish Council websites are required by law to publish certain information (such as minutes, agendas, finance reports) and to be accessibility compliant. The website platform created for the CCRG did not have the capability (without expensive development) to do this. Our current provider (Suffolk Cloud) are specialists in Parish Council websites which keeps costs down and ensures we are meeting legal requirements.

3. Editorial Management: because of the legal requirements on a Parish Council, unlike other community groups, strict control is required over editorial content. This control would not have been possible on the CCRG platform.

So, whilst it is not ideal to have multiple websites for such a small parish, the situation was unavoidable. This should not be an issue as both sites should be seen as complimentary; the Parish Council website is the site to visit for all council and COVID news and the CCRG website for local community and COVID news.

 


Planning Applications Update

Pipps Ford (DC/21/00487) - Parish Council Objection, Awaiting Decision from MSDC

Last Updated: 29th March '21

IMG 28

Planning Application - Change of use of part of land to use as a construction and agricultural training facility including new training centre and associated car park and hardstand, equipment/machinery store and scaffold area. Change of use of remainder of land to use for the grazing of horses and sheep including new stables and storage shed. Associated fencing and landscaping and alterations to existing access to site.

Location: Land Adjoining, A14 Slip Off To A140, Coddenham, Suffolk (Pipps Ford)

Full details of this application are available to view online by visiting https://planning.baberghmidsuffolk.gov.uk/online-applications/ and entering DC/21/00487 in the "Planning - Simple Search" box next to the "Search" Button at the bottom of the page)

On the 4th March the PC held a Planning Meeting which was attended by many of the parishioners affected by this application. The Council agreed unanimously to object in the strongest terms. The Council are very concerned that this is a residential area and particularly unsuitable for commercial development. It is designated as “an area of Special Landscape Interest”. The Council also has serious concerns about the traffic levels entering and exiting the Pipps Ford road on the busy A140/A14 roundabout and the lack of input from SCC Highways. It is also very concerned about noise and disruption. Overall this is an inappropriate site for this type of commercial development and there are many commercial areas in the vicinity that would be more suitable.

Please read the Parish Council formal response.

The Dukes Head: Consent to Convert to a House and Refusal for Development at the Rear

Last Updated: 30th March '21

 Dukes Head

Mid Suffolk District Council (MSDC) have refused a planning application (DC/19/01497) for the "erection of single storey sustainable pavilion style dwelling with new vehicular access created to north boundary (to private drive) to fund refurbishment of Dukes Head Inn." 

Please read the MSDC Decision

MSDC state that "the proposal is refused on highways grounds as the context and constraints of the track are such that it would not provide an adequate access for the proposed dwelling and, although the proposal would be likely to generate a fairly small number of vehicle movements, it would nevertheless be detrimental to highway safety."

The Parish Council are pleased with this decision because this planning application was being used as a reason to not progress with the development of the Dukes Head pub. Now a decision has been made, unless it is appealed, there is no reason to not progress with the Dukes Head development. The Parish Council will continue to lobby MSDC to speed up the progress of the Dukes Head.

The Parish Council has for many years been escalating the situation with the Dukes Head pub on the High Street, lobbying for action to be taken to reinstate it as a pub. In October '20 the owners were granted planning permission by MSDC to convert the building into a home. MSDC received only 4 comments from residents, 2 in favour of conversion, and 2 against.

There was also a five year “Asset of Community Value” period. This allows for other interests to come forward to try and activate community interest in the site. However, despite the very best efforts of some parishioners, unfortunately nothing was able to be resolved.

East Anglian Daily News article

Planning Approval for Conversion of the Dukes Head Pub