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During the course of the year the Parish Council produce and distribute to every household newsletters. Below you will find the most recently produced newsletter that was distributed in December 2018.

From the Parish Council Chairman
From the Parish Council Chairman This newsletter gives details of the Scouts Christmas Post which is helpful for sending local greetings, yet also raises funds for our young peoples’ activities. There are also details of Christmas services at Westerfield Church and Tuddenham Church.

We have had a glorious summer this year although our lawns have not looked as green as we have come to expect. We will probably have to wait till spring to see if they recover. The sunshine attracted many to the Church Fete and the ice creams were particularly popular. There were lots of games and activities together with various stalls for us to enjoy and nearly £2000 was raised for Church Funds. These are used to maintain St Mary Magdalene Church and grounds for the benefit of the whole village. Thanks to all who worked hard before and on the day.

East Suffolk District Council. The Boundary Commission confirmed proposals for the wards that councillors will represent. Westerfield will be in the Carlford and Fynn Valley Ward together with Bredfield, Burgh, Charsfield, Clopton, Dallinghoo, Debach Gt & Little Bealings Grundisburgh & Culpho, Hasketon, Otley, Playford, Rushmere Village, Tuddenham, Witnesham & Swilland, and be represented by two Councillors. Elections for the new Council take place on May 2nd 2019.

Development at Old Station Works. This brownfield site already has permission for commercial development and 35 housing units but a new planning application was received with proposals for 75 housing units. Although the Parish Council supported the proposal to include a community shop there was concern over the amount of additional housing being proposed especially as the sites currently approved or allocated in Westerfield amount to more than the number that the District Council considered suitable for the village. The Parish Council therefore opposed the application but hoped that development of this current derelict site could be developed with the smaller number of housing units. The District Council decision is awaited.

Suffolk Coastal DC Local Plan up to 2036
In August the District Council had just published the First Draft of the Local Plan. In order to meet national guidelines SCDC have identified the need to show provision of 12200 new homes across the district by the end of the plan period in 2036. Already there are 8600 under construction, with planning approval, or allocated in the current local plan. Suggested allocations in the new plan indicated that an extra 3600 homes could be located in the Felixstowe and Saxmundham areas. Westerfield is classed as a small village in the plan and does not have any new areas allocated. The Parish Council considered the contents of the Plan in detail and how it may affect the village and the surrounding area. A response was agreed taking into account views that had been made by residents and this was submitted to the District Council. Consideration of results from this consultation will be followed by the preparation of a final draft of the Plan to be submitted to the Secretary of State for approval in 2019.

Suffolk Constabulary Policing
The Chief Constable has restructured the use of Safer Neighbourhood Teams due to cost restrictions and the changing patterns of crime. More officers have been required to tackle cybercrime and fraud resulting in fewer personnel available for neighbourhood and rural policing. This has resulted in the loss of many PCSO’s who were the “ears and eyes” in local areas. A Community Engagement Officer has been allocated to our Safer Neighbourhood Team and has the role of visiting parishes to help assure residents that there is a police presence who knows something about the community

B1077 Level Crossing Engineering work by Network Rail on the Felixstowe Branch Line is in progress and will continue until Spring 2019. This work will include new full barrier gates at the Level Crossing. Occasional road closures will continue over the winter with a longer closure planned once the gates are in place and an integrated system provided to automatically control all signalling and level crossing gates along the whole branch line.

Broadband Speeds in Westerfield
In July we were told that the fibre cable to green Cabinet 60 near Mill Farm (for Main Road) and Cabinet 64 at the cross-roads (for Lower Road) was connected and “Customer Ready for Service”. Since then Internet Service Providers have been able to offer faster fibre packages to Lower Road houses. A few properties on other roads are getting higher speeds but most cannot get upgrade offers from their ISP. Our County Councillor has been seeking to get some progress and the Leader of the County Council Matthew Hicks is now involved in trying to get Open Reach and Suffolk Better Broadband to give firm details of why there is a delay and when the rest of the village can expect to be given the opportunity to obtain a faster service.
LATE NEWS – Just heard that Cabinet 60 is not yet “Customer Ready for Service” due to some problems and revised date for availability is end of December 2018

County Council Service Reductions

In seeking to save costs the County Council is considering reducing subsidies on Rural Transport, not cleaning road signs, reduced maintenance of verges, pavements and white lining, etc. The Parish Council have agreed to look at the cuts and consider whether there are local ways of offsetting any issues that become apparent as having a noticeable effect on our Community.

Village Traffic and Safety
Since 2006 the Parish Council have been asking the County Council to provide works to reduce traffic and/or improve pedestrian safety in the village. Many requested works have not been approved by the Highway Authority. The Parish Council have also expressed concerns on traffic and safety arising from Planning applications which do not appear to have been taken into account by the District Council. What has been achieved has been done at the expense of the Parish Council and further improvements would most likely also need to be locally funded through the Parish Budget and Community Infrastructure Levy on development schemes in the village.

Bridget Collett Educational Foundation offers grants to families in need; helping primary and secondary children to take advantage of opportunities not provided by the state system. They are also offered to students attending university or colleges offering formal instruction and qualifications. Grants are mostly limited to those resident in Westerfield, Tuddenham, Witnnesham, Henley or Akenham, or attending maintained schools in these villages. Grants vary with the age of young people and are fixed in the autumn for the following academic year. Aplication forms can be obtained from: The Trustees, Bridget Colltet, Hill Farm, Fynn Lane, Tuddenham St Martin. Ipswich IP6 9DB or from www.bridgetcollett.org.uk

Finally, the Parish Council wish you a very Happy Christmas and if there is a very cold spell and you, or a neighbour, needs help please let someone know. Help is available.

Peter Miller, Chairman,
Email PMiller357@aol.com