News From Erwarton

New Local Needs Homes Get Green Light

Thursday, February 21, 18.30

Eight new social homes will be built in Shotley after planners gave the go ahead. 

Five two bedroom houses will replace two dilapidated buildings at Queensland, while three more two beds will go up in place of one old bungalow further along the street.

All three of the new homes at the site of the former number 16 house (pictured right)  have been allocated as ‘Local needs’ which means priority will be given to those with strong Shotley & Erwarton connections, cascading out to Harkstead and Chelmondiston then to the wider peninsula.

The other five have been designated as ‘Babergh wide needs’ which would allow residents from across the district to apply.

Both developments were passed unanimously by the 13 Babergh members of the planning committee, which heard the application at Endeavour House on Wednesday.

 One neighbour aired her concerns at the proximity of the new builds to her home in Queensland but said she supported the scheme in principle.

The plans were supported by Shotley Parish council and district councillor Derek Davis who successfully argued the case for Shotley & Erwaton residents getting priority for allocation.

“I’m delighted these new two-bedroom homes have been given the go ahead.” said Cllr Davis. “They will help our housing need in Shotley & Erwarton, and then wider.

“A lot of work was done by Babergh’s housing team to get this scheme together, with the support of Shotley parish council and Erwarton’s parish meeting.”

Concerns were raised by Suffolk Highways regarding access at number 16 but developers were able to show it would be safe.

One suggestion made at the hearing by Cllr Davis, after speaking to some of the neighbours beforehand, is to apply to Highways to make Queensland a one-way street, following full consultation.

It is expected the eight new homes scheme will be completed before the end of this year.

Anyone interested in applying for the two-bedroom home sin Queensland will need to be registered on Gateway to Homechoice. Gateway Website

Or contact Cllr Davis - derek.davis@babergh.gov.uk for more details.

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Staying Alive Crew Need People To Respond

Saturday, February 16, 10.30

A vital life-saving service is down to just two volunteers and is looking for more people to step forward. 

Community first responders are volunteers trained to attend certain types of emergency calls in the area where they live or work. Their aim is to reach a potential life threatening emergency in the first vital minutes before the ambulance crew arrives.

Their role is to help stabilise the patient and provide the appropriate care until the more highly skilled ambulance crew arrives on scene to take over the treatment.

“We really need new people now as we are down to just me and Dave (Mills),” said first responder Wendy Corness. “We did have as many as 15 at one point with some using it as a stepping stone for other things, such as becoming a paramedics. That means they can't volunteer with us because they are doing it as a full time job, which is brilliant, but leaves us a bit short.”

The CFR scheme covers Shotley and Shotley Gate. It is a group of volunteers who meet, usually on a monthly basis, to sort out a rota, support each other and to keep skills up-to-date.

Mostly, response is to 999 calls for breathing and heart problems. The group has a full kit which includes a defibrillator and oxygen. Full training and skill assessment is provided by the Ambulance Service to new volunteers.

While the group aspires to providing 24/7 cover, the rota depends entirely on volunteers providing what cover they can around their usual commitments.

If you interested in supporting our community to provide emergency medical response assistance until the emergency services arrive then this is the group for you.

* Member sf the first responders are holding a commercial first aid training course on Tuesday, March 12, at the Shipwreck, Shotley Marina. £25 per place with 25% donated to the group. (see poster for more info)

For information on first responders, or to book on the first aid course: Contact Dave Mills, Co-ordinator - 07941 228029 or Wendy Corness - 07979 382500

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HMRC Arrest Warrant Threat Scam Warning

Monday, February 11, 1800

A concerned tax-payer from Erwarton has warned people to be on their guard after getting a scam call from an aggressive woman claiming to be from the HMRC. 

The caller claimed a warrant for Caroline Outhwaite’s arrest for non-payment of tax had been issued and police would be calling within 48 hours. 

Mrs Outhwaite was also told over the phone bailiffs had twice called at her home and would be returning to seize good if she did not pay £3,500 immediately.

Although shaken, frightened and upset, Mrs Outhwaite refused to bow to the pressure and insisted she wanted to check first as she knew she did not have any outstanding tax.

HMRC confirmed the caller was bogus and they were aware of the scam taking place nationwide.

It appears the scammers are targeting people who have received some sort of disability benefit and Mrs Outhwaite is concerned they could be a soft touch.

“What worries me is someone more vulnerable, maybe an elderly person,” said Mrs Outhwaite. “The woman was so convincing. She even used the HMRC which came up on my caller ID.

“She was very aggressive and kept telling me to be quiet and just listen.

“She told me I was going to arrested, how a warrant was out for me and how bailiffs had already been to my house twice when I wasn’t in.

“It was an awful experience and I’m really worried other people will get these calls and I want to warn them not to send any money.”

Suffolk Trading Standards are aware of the scam and have sent out warnings on social media.

A Trading Standards spokeswoman today told Peninsula News: “Our advice to anyone receiving these call is to hang up. Locate the number of HMRC, or then wait 10 minutes before calling them, ideally use other phone line if possible.”

HMRC advise that it it is important to note that you’ll never get an email, text message or phone call from HMRC that tells you about a tax rebate or penalty or asks for your personal and payment information.

If you receive such a call or feel that there is something untoward going on, the advice from GOV.uk is to search on their website to find official government services and phone numbers.

This will give you a clearer idea of whether the phone number is legitimate.

You can also report any misleading website, email or phone number to Action Fraud, the National Fraud & Cyber Crime Reporting Centre.

More information on HMRC's guidance on recognising scams can be found here.

To report a scam call: Action Fraud, the UK national fraud office
Online via their online fraud reporting tool
Telephone: 0300 123 2040

Man Bitten As Husky Attacks Terrier

Friday, January 25, 1700

Police are investigating after an Erwarton man was bitten by a Husky dog as he bravely tried to protect his small terrier. 

Graham Coleman needed hospital treatment for his injuries to a wrist and hand, which was left bleeding.

His pet dog, a small West Highland White terrier, was shaken but not injured in the attack as they out for  a walk in Erwarton.

Mr Coleman managed to get hold of the Husky’s lead and return it to the owner, who was already holding two other large dogs.

Mr Colman’s wife Gloria reported the attack on Sunday, and police contacted her today to confirm they would be investigating the incident.

Mrs Coleman said: “It was really nasty and there was blood from the bite.

“I’m really concerned this could happen again. It would be awful if anyone else was bitten, especially if it were a young child.”

 A Suffolk Police spokesperson said: “Police can confirm that a report was received on Sunday 20 January at about 9.40am of one dog attacking another dog.

“In an effort to separate the two animals he was bitten on wrist and hand, sustaining bruising to the wrist and went to hospital to be checked.”

It is against the law for an owner to allow its dog to be out of control in a public place if it injures someone or:makes someone worried that it might injure them.

A court could also decide that your dog is dangerously out of control if either of the following apply:

  • it attacks someone’s animal
  • the owner of an animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal.

Latest Peninsula news...

Cash Boost For Erwarton From Builders' Levy

Wednesday, January 16, 1600

Erwarton parish has a potential cash boost of more than £10,000 heading its way. 

The money comes from Erwarton’s share of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and can be used by the parish for projects within the village.

Two developments due to be built in Erwarton are eligible for CIL, with nine houses built on land on Queens Road eventually paying £5,700 and two new homes on the Street bringing in a potential £4,369.

Babergh District Council adopted the CIL policy in 2016 and are the first authority in the country to produce an easy to use link, using software by Exacom.

The district council have already allocated more than £850,000 within the district, after officers collected more than £2m from a potential £9.4m.

CIL is a set payment made by developers to support the infrastructure for communities and is split into three pots.

One is 15% of the total due paid to parishes from the neighbourhood pot, unless they have a Neighbourhood Development Plan when 20% is then payable to the village.  

Another pot, called the 123 list, which is the percentage paid to the district and open for anyone eligible to apply for. This includes parish councils, community groups, the NHS, and the county council for education and infrastructure, including highways.

The third is the amount paid to Babergh to administer the scheme.

Derek Davis, Berners District Councillor, said: “Parishes on the peninsula are beginning to see the upside of development with this levy being paid directly for the benefit of neighbourhoods.

“This money is for Erwarton residents to make the most of for community projects to make our lives better today, and in the future.

“The wider pot can also be applied for and again it is something I would encourage parish councils and community groups to do.

“Please feel free to get in touch with me or the CIL team at Babergh if you would like to know how this CIL can help you.”

Cllr Davis is the cabinet member responsible for the Exacom project which is the first in the country of its type.

“The pilot has already attracted interest from a number of local authorities, and indeed, the Home Office,” said Cllr Davis. “It is an easy to use tool for all parish councils, and community group leaders, to see exactly what is available for a wide variety of infrastructure projects within communities.”

Babergh has already allocated more than £850,000 within the district, after collecting more than £2m from a potential £9.4m.

To check how much is CIL is due in your peninsula village go to the Babergh Development Link here…

Social Housing Boost For Shotley & Erwarton

Monday, November 19. 13.00

Eight new social homes have been put forward by Babergh council working with a housing association. 

Two set of plans have been submitted to demolish three houses in Queensland, Shotley to be replaced by eight two-bedroom homes for an affordable rent.

An application has been put forward to build five homes on a large plot of land, which used to house numbers one and three, and another three would be built where number 16 currently sits.

The two bungalows nearest the doctors surgery, with be related by two semi-detached bungalows, and terrace of three bungalows - all two-bedroom. There will be 12 car parking spaces for residents and visitors.

Number 16 will be demolished to make way for three bungalows, with parking spaces for six vehicles.

The application has been made by Babergh District Council, that will work in partnership with Haste Housing Association, but the proposals will have to be heard by a planning committee, that will make the decide to approve or refuse.

District councillor Derek Davis supports the application but wants a condition imposed which would mean residents with strong Shotley or Erwarton connections get priority when applying to live in the properties.

"It is important that those with a housing need from within our community have first choice on these new homes," said Cllr Davis. "They may not always be top of the Gateway Home Choice list in terms of points but more often than not, we have a need, and responsibility, to house young and old in the village, for a variety of good reasons."

The plans also have the backing of the parish council, that supports Cllr Davis' bid to ensure Shotley & Erwarton residents get priority.

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Controversial New Homes Plans Scrapped

Wednesday, September 20, 17.00

A controversial bid to build five new homes next to the historic Erwarton Hall has been withdrawn.

The plans submitted him VRH Veenbaas, owners of Erwrton hall Farm, requested permission to convert disused farm buildings into large family homes., however they faced fierce opposition.

Babergh planning officers received 15 letters objecting to the proposed development, with no letters of support. Suffolk Highways, the AONB, Historic England and other statutory bodies also objected.

The objectors included Mr and Mrs Kyle, who own Erwarton Hall and pointed to the detrimental impact the development would have on the historic building and traffic issues..

As part of their written submission outlining their reasons for opposing the plans, which they were not consulted before the application was made, the Kyles wrote: "With the proposed proximity of families with young members we also fear a little specifically for the safety of the Erwarton Gatehouse which for almost 500 years has stood, vulnerable and unprotected in this location, fondly regarded by antiquarians, the local community as a whole and many who come from far to see it."
 The outline application stated the L-shaped houses would become one three-bedroomed, and up to four four-bedroomed houses, with car parking spaces for 26 vehicles.

 Although Erwarton Hall is a Grade 2* listed c16 building, the outbuildings, on the left hand side of the Gate House and drive leading up to the hall, were built in the 1800s are not graded.

The owners have explored the possibility of converting the barns into holiday lets but this proved to be unviable.

Erwarton Hall was built by Sir Philip Calthorpe in the mid 16th century and renovated by Sir Philip Parker in 1572. His niece Anne Boleyn was a regular visitor and it is claimed she entertained King Henry VIII at the house.

It is understood a new application could be submitted if many of the outstanding issues can be resolved.

Full details can be found on the Babergh planning site under application: D/18/02062.

District Ward To Be Reshaped And Called Ganges

Tuesday, August 7, 08.00

Erwarton and Shotley parishes are to come under a newly formed Ganges ward in the Boundary Commission review of Babergh district wards.

The two villages are currently looked after by two district councillors as part of Berners ward, which also includes Chelmondiston, Woolverstone and Freston.

However, the new ward boundaries will reform after the Boundary Commission released its final recommendations, which will go before Parliament when MPS return from the summer recess in September..

Newly named Ganges, Stour and Orwell wards will replace the bulk of the current two-member Berners and one member Holbrook wards and overlap into Belstead and Tattingstone. 

The Local Government Boundary Commission For England (LGBCE) had originally looked at making much of the peninsula a three-member ward, but representations by Holbrook councillor David Rose, supported by Shotley councillor Derek Davis and a couple of parish councils, pointed out that would be unworkable and the panel agreed.

Ganges, named after the former Royal Navy Training Establishment, will comprise of Shotley and Erwarton and be looked after by just one district councillor.

Boundary commissioners took into account of development at the former Ganges site, comprising of 285 new homes, a small hotel, residential care home, a café, retail units and a number of community facilities, which would add to the electorate.

Stour ward, named after the mouth of the river, will also be a one member ward and will now take in Harkstead, Holbrook and Stutton, making it slightly larger than the current ward.

On the other side of the peninsula Orwell ward, will also be a one-member ward but will include Belstead, Wherstead and Tattingstone along with Freston, Woolverstone and Chelmondison.

Brantham will become a one-member ward as expected growth will also boost the electorate there.

The division of those four wards means the same geographical area will lose one district councillor.

In total Babergh district council will reduce the number of councillors from the current 43 to 32, serving 24 wards, with the changes coming into effect at the next district council election in May 2019. 

In its report the Boundary Commission explained how it changed its original recommendation of forming  three member ward to three single member wards after representations were made.

Cllr Davis said: "As a former HMS Ganges boy I'm delighted that the Shotley and Erwarton area will become known as the Ganges ward. I'm delighted the commission took notice of our suggestions and have adopted the three different wards, rather than one huge ward., which I believe would have been unwieldy.

“It is a difficult balancing act in getting the allowed variance in electorate numbers marrying up with geographical areas to comprise the number of wards needed.

“However, while the Orwell ward seems a little stretched with Belstead a bit out on a limb.

“It makes sense for one member to serve the area, rather than three trying to cover everything from Shotley to Belstead, especially if some councilors do not necessarily pull their weight locally.”

Cllr Alastair McCraw, current Alton ward member, added: “The best bit about the new ward structure is that the Peninsula will have four single member wards.

"Brantham & Ganges are two large population centres. There are some compromises in the centre, because equal representation is very important. I like the names of Orwell & Stour.

"The parish groupings follow the roads connecting them and should have similar concerns because of it. But every parish will have one councillor to deal with and to help them."

A little further afield, Capel St Mary, which is subject to some large scale development will also become a one-member ward, while Copdock and Washbrook, will stretch from Bentley to Hintelsham, but new-look Sproughton and Pinewood ward will become a two-member ward.

The LGBCE was tasked to reduce district council members but ensure they improved electoral equality by equalising the number of electors each ward councilor represents. They had to take into account community identity and provide effective and community local government.

Further information can be found on their website www.lgbce.org.uk

Five New Houses Could Be Built Next To Erwarton Hall 

Monday, June 4, 08.00

Five new homes will be built in the grounds next to the c16 Erwarton Hall if plans are approved by Babergh council. 

JRH Veenbaas, the owners of the farm next to Erwarton Hall, which is on the outskirts of the village and goes back to the early 1500s, has applied to convert disused farm buildings into large family homes.

The outline application states the L-shaped houses will become one three-bedroomed, and up to four four-bedroomed houses, with car parking spaces for 26 vehicles.

Although Erwarton Hall is a Grade 2* listed c16 building, the outbuildings, on the left hand side of the Gate House and drive leading up to the hall, were built in the 1800s are not graded.

The owners have explored the possibility of converting the barns into holiday lets but this proved to be unviable.

Erwarton Hall was built by Sir Philip Calthorpe in the mid 16th century and renovated by Sir Philip Parker in 1572. His niece Anne Boleyn was a regular visitor and it is claimed she entertained King Henry VIII at the house.

 Legend has it just before she was executed Queen Anne wrote that the best days of her life were spent in Erwarton and so her heart was buried in Erwarton.

In 1883 a velvet pouch with dust inside was discovered during renovation work at St Mary’s Church, Erwarton and is now buried below the church organ.

The Admiralty initially leased Erwarton Hall from the Berners family estate for the Commanding Officer and his family at HMS Ganges’ in 1905 until 1962, when it paid £11,000 for the red brick building, which is understood to have a tunnel linking the training establishment and the hall, although both ends were blocked off long ago.

The four-bedroomed hall and land was no longer used by the Royal Navy when Ganges closed in 1976 and is now in private use with the Veenabaases running a nearby stud farm on land near to the hall.

Comments regarding the application DC/18/02062 can be made until the June 21 deadline.

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