Council Praised After Roadworks Postponed
Tuesday, June 12, 10.00
Potentially disruptive roadworks along the Strand have been postponed to avoid clashing with Suffolk Day and other planned events in the area.
The section along the B1456 along the front of Suffolk Food Hall near the Orwell Bridge was due to be closed for repairs from June 18 until June 22 between 09.30 and 16.30.
Residents and businesses along the stretch of road were originally told the work would be carried out overnight and were surprised to be given just five days' notice of daytime closures.
However, after representation made by local businesses and residents Suffolk County Council have changed the scheduled work and the council’s co-operation has been praised.
Oliver Paul, owner of Suffolk Food Hall, said: “I’m heartened that Suffolk County Council Highways have listened to businesses and resident regarding the disruption this would cause.
“We understand that these works have to be carried out but five days’ notice was not really long enough for us to plan for this.
“We have a number of events planned, including celebrating Suffolk Day so this would have been something of an own goal for the county.
“Credit has to go to the deputy leader Mary Evans and our local county councillors David Wood and Christopher Hudson, who understood our concerns and got involved to make these changes happen.”
The closures would have also affected the re-opening of the Boot at Freston, which has been extensively renovated and is due to open next week.
Delight As Second Caravan Is Removed From Freston Lay-by
Wednesday, May 16, 08.00
The entrance to the Shotley peninsula is looking a whole lot better now the second vandalised caravan has been removed.
Babergh’s Environmental Health team organised removal of the unsightly, and potentially unhealthy caravan, after contacting its owner, who is in prison.
A previous caravan was removed six weeks ago after an enforcement notice was issued.
Both caravans had caused outrage after one was dumped in the lay-by next to Monkey Lodge, and the second was left unattended, with both being damaged and soiled inside.
The area will be cleared once again of all litter and detritus by Babergh waste team.
District councilor Derek Davis said: “It is a wonderful result and lovely to see the area cleared and our gateway to this beautiful peninsula is no longer marred by these caravans.
“It has taken ages as officers have had to follow due process but everyone worked hard to get this result and we got there in the end.
“Now both locals and visitors can enjoy the area.”
Homeless Bus Returns After New Site Falls Through
Sunday, April 15, 11.30
The hunt is still on for a new site for Tiffers’ the Homeless after a bid to relocate over the weekend fell through.
Gareth and Sarah Jane Brenland who run the the project, thought they had found an ideal spot tucked away at the top of Bourne Hill, Wherstead.
But the land, which it was believed to belong to Suffolk County Council Highways, turned out to be privately owned and they requested the bus leave.
Mr Brenland said: “The owners asked us to be gone by 5pm, which we did.
“We do not want to cause anyone any trouble and it was a genuine mistake, thinking it was part of the highway.
“Our search for a suitable site continues, and if anyone knows of somewhere please let us know.”
The double-decker, which has been converted to temporarily house rough sleepers, has returned to the lay-by at Freston, which Mr Brenland ageed was not ideal.
He said: “It is a bit sad that we have had to return here, although I have to say the vast majority of the community have been very supportive.
“That said, we know we have outstayed our welcome somewhat. I promise we will carry on looking for a new site and continue to care for the area we are in.”
Guests of the homeless bus, under Mr Brenland’s supervision, recently completed a litter pick along the B1456 and around Freston crossroads, as part of a wider initiative.
Tiffers, which was named after one of their daughters (pictured in the middle, left) is currently home to five guests, with another referral joining them in May.
Since the project started last autumn, one guest has been successfully re-homed to an Essex address. Three others have found part-time work, with another one now a keyholder and assistant manager in the charity shop run by the community interest company,
Another double-decker, which he plans to renovate, in a different area off the peninsula, with guests helping out in order to learn new skills as part of their rehabilitation.
“Our shop already helps a number of people from different areas,” said Mr Brenland. “This new bus could also be used for emergency provision for people in other areas, once converted.”
Homeless buses are springing up around the country, since the first one was converted on the Isle Of Wight. In Milton Keynes the homeless project there was once used as the touring bus for pop stars, including Robbie Williams and Elton John.
One Caravan Gone - One More To Go
Friday, April 13, 14.00
As promised by Babergh one caravan has been removed from a Freston lay-by.
Contractors Whip Street Motors removed the first of the two vandalised vehicles and that will be scrapped.
The other, is still technically in the ownership of a person whois currently serving a prison sentence, but has insisted it it still his home and intends to live in it again one he is released.
However, Babergh's environmental health team have carried out an assessment and will be contacting the owner once more with their views after seeing the state it is now in.
That could lead the that caravan being removed under an enforcement order, but due process has to be carried out first.
District councillor Derek Davis said: "I was delighted to see Caravan A hard been removed when I drove past earlier today. We are working on the second and soon this beautiful gateway to the peninsula will be cleared off this blight, and all the litter will also be cleaned up."
Dumped Caravan To Be Moved This Week
Tuesday, April 10, 08.00
One of the abandoned caravan at a lay-by in Freston will be taken and destroyed this week.
Babergh environmental health officers will also inspect the other to assess its state, and whether that can legally be removed.
An enforcement notice was issued on the first caravan in January, and the issue was passed to public realm department, but due to the state of the vehicle, it had to be handed to the environmental health team, who have instructed contractors to remove it this week.
Legal issues over the ownership of the second caravan, with the owners serving a prison sentence, has meant that one can not be moved.
However, as it has been so badly vandalised, it could be that the council can take action.
District councillor Derek Davis said: "After a frustratingly long wait, and an amazing amount of emails, it appears we may have got somewhere on the caravan situation at the Monkey Lodge lay-by, Freston.
"This has taken far longer than I would have liked but we are making progress.
"The area along from the Strand and up Freston Hill, including the historic Mnkey Lodge is the gateway to the Shotley peninsula.
"We have many beautiful attractions for visitors and locals alike, so this ugly eyesore needs to go.
"I'm delighted our teams are working to achieve this."
The homeless bus, Tiffers, parked further along the B1456, is parked legally and now enforcement action can be taken.
Freston Boot Opening Week Set
Friday, March 23, 07.00
A 300-year-old peninsula pub is weeks away from opening its doors once more.
The Freston Boot is on track to re-open in mid-May, according to the pub’s manager Mike Keane.
Speaking ahead of a Freston parish council meeting at the village hall, Mr Keane explained how the Boot’s renovations were going well..
""We are aiming to be open by the second week in May," said Mr Keane. "We have built a new kitchen at the back of the pub which has been totally renovated throughout.
"The kitchen garden has been planted,and we hope to get some crops this year, but more next year. The fencing is up for the paddock."
The Freston Boot is free of tie, with the building owned by Robert Paul, who issued a use it or lose it warning.
Mr Paul, from Wherstead, said: "This will not be a case of third time lucky. We lost the pub once and managed to get it back. This is the second time the Boot has been saved but if people don't use it and it fails then it will not come back a third time."
There are plenty of reasons to use the Boot, which will serve classic pub grub, on smaller plates encouraging customers to try a range of the menu.
Real ale, ciders and lagers will be on tap, with kegs and casks, and there will be stools at the bar.
In addition to the refurbishment inside, the Boot is building a 15-seater cinema in an outbuilding, with screenings planned for two nights a week.
Theatre seats from Lowestoft, Southwold and Felixstowe will add an authentic feel.
Almost a million bees will provide the honey for mead and honey beer brewed on site.
Freston Fury Over Great East Run
Thursday, march 22. 06.30
Frustrated Freston parishioners last night vented their fury at plans for the Great East Run to run through their village once again.
Colin Grogan, sport, health and inclusion manager at Suffolk County Council, patiently listened to a long list of complaints from the 25 villagers at the meeting at Freston village hall, ahead of the bi-monthly parish council meeting, and promised to take the concerns back to the Great East Run organisors.
Mr Grogan heard how rubbish was strewn along the route along the Strand, up Freston Hill and then down the Street and past the church.
He also heard how runners urinated in a field in the village, plastic water bottles were hurled into hedges and an aggressive ‘bouncer’ prevented people walking along roads closed to traffic.
Business owners complained about how they had lost trade last year and did not want a repeat this year, when the run returns in September, with more than 3,000 runners already signed up.
Robert Paul, who breeds cattle at the family-owned Suffolk Food Hall, which is owned by Oliver Paul, was angry at being forced to close for much of the day after notices were put up saying the roads would be closed from 6am
"You are shutting businesses down and that is not acceptable “ said Mr Paul, “It is not just an inconvenience it is a trading loss.
"We are expected to pay our business rates for a whole day when we can not open.
"The organisers also told people that Suffolk Food Hall was fully supportive - that was a complete lie."
Mr Grogan accepted there were many concerns and he could not affect what had happened in the past, but would take the lessons learned back to the race organisors.He said: "You can't run an event like this without some inconvenience.
"All I can do is look forward and see what we can do. I will take all these points back and we will look at them."
Other villagers complained of being 'trapped in the village' for up to six hours and asked for the route to be changed but were told that was not feasible as t had already been marked out for this year, although a tweak would be considered for subsequent races.
Mr Grogan pointed out the benefits of the race to Suffolk in general, and the peninsula in terms of attracting visitors and raising tourism awareness.
Last year's half marathon race raised £1million for charities, with many local good causes benefitting, while more than 10 charities have already agreed to be a part of the event this year, including Cancer Research UK, the Stroke Association, East Anglia Children's Hospices and Unique.
Event organisers and their partners Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council and Ipswich JAFFA Running Club, took the already established Ipswich Half Marathon event to the next level with a closed road course, taking in some of the region's most iconic sights.
Participants of the event head out from Russell Road, passing the prestigious Willis building in Ipswich city centre before heading towards the town's vibrant waterfront, which was one of the most popular spots for spectator support last year.
The route then goes past Felaw Maltings on the way out and back along Wherstead Road, where participants will pass twice under the Orwell Bridge.
On returning to Ipswich town centre, runners pass over the Wet Dock lock gates and continue along the waterfront for a second time before crossing the finish line in Ipswich Town FC's complex.
Entries for the Simplyhealth Great East Run can be found at: Greatrun.org/East
Financial Help During Cold Weather Snap
Monday, February 26, 12.15
Scores of families on the Shotley peninsula will be given an extra £25 a week after the Government triggered their Cold Weather Payment for this area.
The payments, for people on certain benefits come into effect when average temperatures drop, or are forecast to drop, to zero degrees Celsius or below.
With the so-called Beast from the East moving in, South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge today confirmed those payments will be paid, starting from February 23, initially for one week.
People in postcode area IP9 and CO11 are among those that will be paid, with payments made automatically with 14 days.
With Universal Credit being rolled out in this area shortly, others who will get the winter weather payment are those who are on pension credit, income support, income-based job-seekers allowance, and employment and support allowance
The winter weather allowance is different, and separate, to winter fuel allowance.
'Shame On You', Freston Tosser
By Joe Harvey Monday, February 12, 06.00.
A person from Freston was caught red-handed tossing litter into the lay-by currently used by Tiffers the homeless bus, last night.
The driver threw a copy of Saturday's EADT feature supplement into the hedge but was spotted and followed into Freston
The vehicle, described as a dark-coloured Dhaitsu was seen outside a house in the Street Freston but the occupant was not approached for safety reasons.
Sarah-Jane Brenland posted on social media: "We would just like to say to the resident in Freston who just came past Tiffers bus and threw Saturday's newspaper out of the window, and in to the layby, shame on You!!!!
"Not only was you seen but Gareth was still in the car, so he followed you back.
"We keep this layby as clean as we can, and for the record we don't get newspapers, so any that are found from here on in we will know it is a deliberate attempt to make the area we are residing in a mess." (sic)
Freston parish council chair and clerk Elizabeth Aldous, who is a neighbour of the alleged offender and has made a number of complaints about the homeless bus, was contacted but declined to comment.
Keep Britain Tidy recently promoted a new "Don't Be A Tosser' campaign first introduced by BBC Radio Suffolk's Mark Murphy, to try and prevent litter throwing throughout Suffolk.
Boundary Review Results Delayed
Monday, February 12 - 06.00
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has delayed the publication of its final recommendations for the Babergh review.
The commission is currently examining the electorate data and forecasts, which underpin all the recommendations and is expected to be able to make a further announcement about the completion of both reviews following its next meeting on 20 February.
The Shotley peninsula currently has three wards, Alton, which covers Tattingstone, Stutton and Brantham with Independent Alastair McCraw and Harriet Steer, a Conservative, the district councillors. David Rose, an Independent, is councillor for Holbrook, Lower Holbrook and Harkstead, while another Independent councillor, Derek Davis covers Shotley, Erwarton, Chelmondiston, Woolverstone and Freston, along with Peter Patrick, a Conservative that lives in Polstead.
The new ward boundaries under review would see Shotley, Erwarton and Harkstead become a single member ward, while Bentley would join with Chelmondiston, Woolverstone and Freston but stay a two-member ward, while Holbrook would go in with the current Alton ward.
It was expected that the Boundary Commission review would have been completed now, but issues with Mid--Suffolk figures have set things back. The current administration of both councils want to dissolved Babergh and Mid-Suffolk and became one Heart of Suffolk council, although Conservative leader John Ward had promised a referendum would be held in Babergh, after previous poll resulted in 61 per cent of resident that voted going against the proposal in 2011.
Spare Room For Single Lodgers Call
By Joe Harvey (Tuesday, February 6, 06.00 )
Householders on the Shotley Peninsula are being asked to use their spare bedroom to take in single lodgers.
Solo Housing have linked up with Babergh Distrct Council to try and help singeltons struggling to find suitable accommodation.
The scheme works by matching a suitable single person, referred by the district council or other agencies, with potential landlords on the penisula, that have been vetted by Solo Housing.
Solo Housing will ensure the landlords’ criteria and accommodation suit the scheme, and will also assess potential lodgers’ circumstances and needs.
It could be the landlords are looking for help with bills, or would like the security and company of another person in their home.
The single people tend to be those either homeless, or close to becoming homelss. They may be on low inclomes, or suffering a break up of a relationship.
Solo Housing chief executive Carolyn Howell said: ‘It’s a very simple and successful model, Solo provides practical help and advice to anyone who has a spare room in their house that they would like to rent out.
“At the same time, we will use our assessment criteria to match suitable people to available rooms, providing advice and support to single people who may like to take up a lodging offer.
“The service aims to provide a simple solution for those who would like to rent out a room, perhaps to help them pay their bills, or for companionship, and at the same time provides a housing solution for a single person who may not be able to access other suitable affordable accommodation on their own.”
One of the first landladies to sign up for the Solo Housing Lodging Scheme was a lady called Joan, who lives in the Babergh District.
She said: “As an elderly female, who lives independently, I didn’t want to be alone, especially at night, so taking in a lodger that met with my requirements was very helpful.
“Solo met with the prospective lodger to make sure they were suitable for my circumstances and helped me with the paperwork. It all seemed very thorough.
“I really appreciate the company and social interaction and my current lodger helps with small jobs around the home.”
Derek Davis, Babergh District Councillor for Shotley, Chelmondiston, Erwarton, Woolverstone and Freston, said: "This is a sensible, proven scheme that can have very positive benefts for both parties.
“I know there are probably many people with rooms available. It may be they are being charged the empty bedroom tax or they would just like the company. Either way, once matched it is a win-win.”
Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils’ Homelessness Team took 227 homeless applications in 2016/17.
In addition to this, they prevented homelessness in more than 450 cases and are hoping this scheme will help to settle more people at risk of becoming homeless into permanent accommodation.
If you have a room available, or a single person looking for suitable lodgings, contact 0800 652 0155.
Fire Crews Called As Car Ends Up On Foreshore
Emergency fire crews helped free trapped motorists after a two car collision at the Strand this morning (Friday)
One car left the road and ended up on the mud flats on the foreshore under the Orwell Bridge.
Police and paramedics also attended and two people were treated for minor injuries.
There were minor delays on the B1456 following the accident at around 7.30am.
This sis the second accident to happen on the bends on the Strand between Freston and Wherstead, with a car going over the embankment off the road heading towards Ipswich on Tuesday.
Pictures courtesy of SPNF reader Arthur Hogg.
Dumped Caravans To Be Towed
Two abandoned caravans at the lay-by next to Monkey Lodge in Freston are set to be removed by the council.
Enforcements officers from Babergh District Council served notice on one caravan at the beginning of January warning the owner to remove the vehicle within seven days or it would be taken away by the council that would then pass on the cost.
One caravan was previously being used by a person needing a place to sleep but a second caravan was left next to it, upsetting Freston residents and those regularly driving past.
"It is an ugly blight on what is a beautiful area," said one neighbour who asked not to be named. "I understand, and do sympathise, if someone has become homeless or has nowhere else to say. "There is a man sleeping in the car there, and we know he needs help, but it is clear the caravans have just been dumped.
The Council have taken ages to sort this out, but I'm glad they are now doing something about it."
Babergh District Councillor Derek Davis said: "This is the gateway to one of the most beautiful parts of Suffolk and action is needed.
"Our team are taking action but at the same time not everything is always at is seems, so we all need to be a little bit patient.
"Things will get sorted and I'm confident the peninsula will soon one again be a place where tourists and locals will take pride and joy in being part of"
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