Posts Tagged 'Haughley'



Broadband Progress

At the Suffolk Better Broadband conference in Bury St Edmunds earlier this month (two years after the need for better broadband was recognised), we were updated with the progress of the bid to provide decent broadband speeds across the whole of Suffolk.  I was assured, by political leaders, county council executives and project coordinators, that the hard to reach areas with little or no service (such as Old Newton and Haughley Green) would be dealt with first.

Overall the plan is for the contracted supplier to begin work by the end of this year and entire project is expected to be completed by March 2015.  The conference heard that the hard to reach areas would be addressed within the first six months of the contract (ie: by June 2013 at the latest) and the other easier to reach areas would follow.  We were told the coverage would be a combination of technologies and may involve existing providers.

More immediately, residents of Haughley may have noticed work going on in the village including the installation of a new telecoms cabinet on Windgap Lane.  This is part of the upgrade to the Stowmarket exchange that will, in the next few months, lead to an improvement in fixed broadband services in Haughley and hopefully beyond.  We are told that this work has been brought forward due to local pressure.

When the upgrade is complete, retail providers will be advised and will then contact their customers with news of any changes or upgrades in service.

The Suffolk Better Broadband team are still asking if residents could complete their survey (www.suffolk.gov.uk/broadband ) as the more people that complete this, the more the suppliers will see the demand and want to invest in the project.  If you haven’t already completed it, the deadline is 31st March.

 

November news

There has been much discussion in the media lately on the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) especially in relation to the issue of retaining the countryside for its own sake.  Other issues raised include keeping the provision to build on brownfield land first, before considering greenfield sites, and providing a better definition of sustainable development.  Mid Suffolk has submitted its response to the consultation but there is concern that the Framework, overall, is skewed towards urban centres and does not fully consider impacts on rural areas.

The Big Tree Plant (www.thebigtreeplant.direct.gov.uk) is a campaign by Defra and The Forestry Commission to plant more trees in England over the next four years.  Funding is available for local groups who wish to plant trees in their community.  For communities that want to do this Mid Suffolk’s tree officer has offered to give help with completing the application form and giving general advice on tree-planting.

Little progress on broadband

A year on from the broadband conference held in Ipswich, another conference was held this week, this time in Beccles, to look at how to address the issue of poor rural broadband.  Disappointingly, not much has changed in a year – although Suffolk MPs are now getting involved.  Choose Suffolk is about to put in a bid for funding from central government for a Suffolk-wide solution and a decision on this is due at the end of May.  If this isn’t successful we will need to look at alternatives as we can’t wait for another year with no improvements.

News for April

A joint Chief Executive is about to be appointed for Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Councils.  The next stage in progress towards a potential merger will be the public poll occurring in May after the District and Parish elections.  All households should have received information about this poll from Mid Suffolk.

The bid to take over the old Haughley Picnic Site from Suffolk County Council is going ahead, supported by local groups, Haughley Parish Council, Harleston Parish Meeting and Mid Suffolk District Council.  If anyone wishes to be involved in this please let me know.

From the community litter picks in Haughley on Saturday 12 March we collected over 20 large bin bags of rubbish plus a TV and a couple of tyres.  Thank you to everyone who came along to help – it is appreciated by everyone.  By the time you read this we will also have had a litter pick in Wetherden, hopefully as successful.  On another positive note, two individuals have recently been fined for fly-tipping in our area so please report any fly-tipping you see as it can have a result.

News for March

Mid Suffolk is continuing its progress towards a potential merger with Babergh and the position of a single Chief Executive for the two councils has been advertised.  It is hoped to appoint someone by June.  The public poll to consider the potential merger is now expected to occur in May with the result to be announced on 6 June so as not to conflict with the District elections on 5 May.

Suffolk County Council is “divesting” itself of the old Haughley Picnic Site and has asked community groups who may be interested in taking it on to come forward.  Several have already done so, including our local Scout group, and Mid Suffolk is keen to support them.  We would rather not see the site end up in private hands for commercial use and think it is a great asset for locals to use.  If you or your community group has a particular interest, please contact me as soon as possible.

News for January/February

Mid Suffolk’s central government grant has been cut by 15.8% (£0.931m) and will be cut by a similar amount next year.  With a freeze in council tax, and the loss of other grants, the total cut to the budget is expected to be just over £1m.  It is hoped that no frontline services will be affected but it will be a difficult budget to balance.  Mid Suffolk continues to work with Babergh to see what integration savings can be made.

Suffolk County Council is proposing to reduce the number of Household Waste Recycling Centres from 18 to 11.  The 7 to be closed have not yet been named.  Our nearest site in Stowmarket is very well used and I am concerned that the closure of any site will lead to an increase in fly-tipping.  I have expressed my concern to the County and will campaign against any local closures.

The Stowmarket Service Centre in Ipswich Street is closing on 31 March 2011.  Some services will instead be available via the Stowmarket Tourist Information Centre and also Stowmarket Library.

I have now also volunteered as a Governor for the primary school in Haughley and look forward to working with everyone there.

What next for broadband?

What’s been happening?

The good news is that the results of our broadband survey have helped persuade Mid Suffolk District Council to contribute some funds for investment in broadband with an acknowledgement that our area is a priority.

Mid Suffolk’s favoured approach is a short term fix using a new generation of wireless technology which should provide a more robust service than that currently available.  Longer term the aim is to deliver the more future proof “fibre to premises” solution although this will involve investment from BT and others.

Further funding for the short term may come from a bid for external funding submitted with Suffolk County Council and Suffolk ACRE, again helped by our survey.  The result of this bid will not be known until early 2011.

Separately Suffolk County Council has also been under pressure from businesses to improve the service.  Through the organisation Choose Suffolk (promoters of Suffolk as a business destination) they favour the “fibre to premises” solution which will not happen for at least a couple of years or when they can find the millions of pounds necessary.

What next?

Mid Suffolk are now waiting to see if the funding bid succeeds while also working at a county level to see if there can be an integrated solution.

We have made some good progress in getting access to funding.  What we don’t yet have is a firm plan for how best to use whatever money we might get.  I therefore think that the best next step is to form a group of people who can examine all the possible options.  If you are interested in being part of this group, please let me know.

Anything else?

BT has launched a “nationwide survey” to map demand for fibre broadband in the UK.  Following input from the public at www.bt.com/racetoinfinity the data gathered will influence BT’s plans and they will upgrade the five exchanges with the highest demand.  At least 1000 people from each exchange must register for that exchange to have a chance.

We need as many people in the Stowmarket exchange to register so we can send another message to BT that we need some investment here.  Please register if you can.

 

News for November

As you may be aware, Babergh District Council and Mid Suffolk District Council have agreed to progress towards a merger.  This decision was taken separately by each Council at their meetings at the end of September.  Financially this merger aims to save approximately £3.3m across the two councils and this would make a significant indent into the potential 25% (£7.2 million) reduction in costs over four years.

The earliest date of the merger would now be April 2013, not 2012 as originally proposed.  There will be a public referendum on this in May 2011, at the same time as the District Council elections.

The Council will also now be looking at which, if any, of Suffolk County Council’s services they can take on as a merged council as part of Suffolk County Council’s “divestment” programme.

Many residents have raised their concerns in the last few months regarding travellers in the local area.  The appropriate teams at Mid Suffolk District and Suffolk County Councils are continually working with the Community Police Support Officers to resolve the issues that this is causing and are aiming to provide a permanent solution by mid November if not before.


Contact me

rachel.eburne@midsuffolk.gov.uk tel: 01449 673311 or 07768 460 108

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