Holidaying Couple Come Home To Burnt Out House

Wednesday, September 19, 09.00

A Shotley couple have returned home from holiday to discover the extent of a fire which destroyed the roof of their home over the weekend. 

Gloria and Malcolm Bellhad been holidaying abroad when fire ripped through two semi-detached houses at Lower Harlings at just after 1.00am on Sunday morning.

Home owner Keith Taylor was woken by neighbours as the blaze took hold, and had to be held back from trying to fight the fire.

 A family of four on the other side had to be evacuated with two young children taken in by friends, while the father moved cars away from the danger zone.

Decking in the back gardens also caught alight and three properties suffered damage in the devastating inferno.

One witness described how: "It was raining fire onto the houses next door. It was very frightening. There was little we could do and it seemed an age before the fire crews arrived.

“Everyone has been fantastic though, helping out in every way they could.”

Fire crews from Ipswich and Holbrook raced to the scene and quickly brought the blaze under control. It is understood the fire may have emanated from an oil tank. 

Mr and Mrs Bell were contacted via their daughter Amy who was also away at the time and came back on Tuesday.

Mr Taylor is staying with family and has posted via social media, saying he is fine, has everything he needs and thanks all well-wishers for their concern.

*Peninsula News held off reporting details of the fire until now at the request of neighbours who did not want Mr and Mrs Bell to see the extent of the damage to their home on the internet and we respected those wishes. Contact us here...

Lots Of Money Raised At Auction

Monday, September 17, 10.30

Nearly 200 items were sold by auction as Andrew Coulson brought has gavel down on bargains galore. 

A fridge freezer went for £2 and dozens of other items were bought for crazy prices.

Shotley Village Hall Committee raised £515 for vital maintenance work at the community hub used by hundreds of villagers. 

As always, a great deal of hard work was done by a number of volunteers to make this happen.

It is anticipated the next auction will be held next February or March.

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Beach Clean Volunteers Tyred Out

Monday, September 17, 10.00

A set of four large tyres was among rubbish collected by small group of volunteers at Shotley over the weekend.

Young and old got stuck into clearing up along from dinghy park next to Admiralty pier and past the picnic area as part of the Great British Beach Clean Up.

Thousands of people have joined in the huge clear up, with plastic waste a huge problem to the oils; rivers, seas and oceans.

Other villages throughout the peninsula have held litter picks through the year collecting tons of rubbish.

All these efforts are supported by Babergh District Council, who made sure the rubbish would be collected and disposed of.

Ganges Plans Going Ahead - Despite Rumours

Monday, August 10, 18.30

Concerns the building of 285 homes, a care home and other properties, on the former HMS Ganges site is not happening have proved to be unfounded. 

District councilor Derek Davis confirmed the development is going ahead as planned, despite rumours to the contrary.

A letter sent out by Babergh notifying people an application made by the developers was invalid, and had never been valid, inevitably sparked the belief the plans had been scrapped.

However, the letter was part of a technical process and refers to other applications made by the site owners Haylink, and not the one which received permission in 2015, which was upheld by the High Court. 

Cllr Davis, Babergh ward councillor for Shotley Erwarton, Chelmondiston, Woolverstone and Freston, and a cabinet member, explained: “Notification was sent out saying the application to build 285 homes, retail units, community buildings, a care home and a small hostel, was invalid and that, understandably, sent the hares running.

“The truth is the application referred to was an erroneous piece of paperwork that was superseded but never properly dealt with.

“While looking at a recent application by Haylink to discharge certain conditions, an efficient planning officer spotted the discrepancy, among other things, and carried out a thorough housekeeping exercise on the whole application.

“I have been assured everything is fully in order and the applicant is looking to start actually building houses as soon as possible.

“There are a couple more things to be overcome, which is normal on a development of this scale, but the first phase, which includes adding a spine road, will soon be started.”

 The developers have completed much of the heritage work required and will soon be advertising for labourers to help complete the site clearance.

Permission has been given for Haylink to remove the mast so it can restored fully to its 143ft high glory, complete with rigging, while other ceremonial and important heritage aspects are being protected.

Almost £6million of staged payments will be made as part of an S106 agreement, which will be paid over nine phases until completion.

Some buildings will be handed over for community use, and public open spaces are part of the plans.

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Bowls Club Miss Out In Two Finals

Monday, September 10, 10.00

Shotley Rose Bowls Club missed out in two finals of the Samford Competitions, run by the Ipswich & District Federation Bowls League on Sunday. 

Shotley lost out to Felixstowe & Walton in the Millennium Cup final, by just four shots on aggregate.

Paul Catchpool, Simon Whitney and Scott Moir won their block, but Wednesday's team captain Len Haines, along with Andrew Coulson and Ian Lord were squeezed out in their game.

Lord was also narrowly beaten 21-19 by Waldringfield's C Coleman in the men's four wood final.

All the players celebrated/commiserated with a sausage supper at the Rose pub afterwards.

Norman Bugg, Rose Bowls Club stalwart, praised the players' efforts and the various team's efforts.

"This will be the court season in row we have won silverware, albeit as runners up this year," said Mr Bugg. "Someone commented to me that are the bridesmaids rather than the bride this year, although as I pointed out, 'That may well be, but there are many who didn't even get to the church."

The club fields two teams, on a Monday and a Wednesday and play on the green behind the Rose pub. Anyone interested in playing, or helping to maintain the green, should contact Norman on 787358, or Andrew 787304. 

*See more pictures here...

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New Era Starts For Shotley School

Wednesday, September 5, 00.01

A new era, starting with a new head teacher, begins for Shotley Community School, this week. 

Pupils return on Friday, as staff spend today and tomorrow acclimatising to working under a new authority with A Suffolk Schools Education Trust (ASSET) officially taking over. 

The school has undergone big changes behind the scenes, with Richard Dedicoat taking over as head teacher, with Lynette Allison as assistant head.

 Mr Dedicoat (pictured left) joins Shotley from the Willows School in Ipswich, which was part of the Orwell Multi Academy Trust, and previously worked at Whitton Primary school, a founding member of ASSET Education.

Mrs Allison has been involved with ASSET since its formation and is recognized for her leadership skills and experience in head teacher roles. 

The duo plan to hit the new term running although there have been staff changes, with some popular teachers leaving Shotley school.

Long-serving teacher Julie Packard has taken early retirement, while Sharon Taylor has also left to take up a specialised role elsewhere, along with Justine Hughes who is starting a full-time post at St Pancras Catholic Primary School.

Clare Flintoff, (pictured right) executive principal at ASSET Education, is confident the work done by interim head Alun Davies last term, and the new academy system will restore Shotley schools reputation and has already been delighted with the response from parents and children.

Mrs Flintoff believes the support the academy trust can offer Shotley in terms of back office oversight, training, resources and leadership will help progress at pace, and turn around after a negative OFSTED report.

“We note the OFSTED report but also recognise there are many positive aspects about Shotley school.” said Mrs Flintoff. “We have already met with the parents of the school and there was huge support within the community for the school.

“We recognise the desire for the school at Shotley to grow and we would like to thank the parents, the community and the staff at the school that have done an excellent job and we look forward to working with them in the future.”

 Derek Davis, Babergh district councillor for Berners ward, which includes the school’s main catchment area of Shotley, Shotley Gate and Erwarton, has a son who is a former pupil at Shotley and believes close co-operation between parents, the school staff and the Trust, will be key.

“I know from personal experience what a wonderful school Shotley is,” said Cllr Davis (pictured left at Shotley school with a prize-winning pupil and her parents). “Everyone, including the dinner ladies, support staff, teachers and administrative team, genuinely want what’s best for the children and that goes a long way.

“It is no coincidence that so many wonderful young people move up from this school and do well elsewhere.

“There has been a bit of a wobble at the school, but even then there remained many positive aspects.

“ASSET has a lot of experience in dealing with all types of primary schools and I’m sure they will enjoy making Shotley school an even bigger success.”

ASSET Education now has 10 schools within its Trust after adding Church of England schools 

The academy trust was formed in 2015 with three Ipswich schools, St Helen’s, the Oaks and Whitton joining forces and working directly with the Department of Education.

With a mission statement aimed at creating a group of schools in Suffolk which would be among the best in the country ASSET has been joined by Halesworth’s Edgar Sewter, and primary schools in Bungay, Holton, Wenhaston and Ilketshall, all in the north east of the county.

Funding is provided through Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and by pooling their buying power, ASSET can achieve economies of scale and negotiate keener contracts, with better monitoring.

Asset Education was awarded £176,000 earlier this year to bring the Power of Reading scheme to its 10 schools, which will provide training and resources for a programme of reading, from a DofE Strategic Schools Improvement Fund.

Fortieth Flower, Fruit & Veg Show Flourishes

Saturday, September 1

With a 98lb pumpkin, sensational sunflowers, outstanding onions, and rakish runner beans, Shotley and Erwarton's 40th flower, fruit and vegetable show was a blooming success. 

Gardeners overcame wild weather, including late snow storms, deluges of rain and then the hottest summer since 1976 to grow, nurture and harvest an amazing array of nature's finest produce.

Ian Palmer won first prize for his selection of vegetables, including excellent quality onions, marrows, carrots, potatoes and sweetcorn. (Pictured)

Fresh baked produce, including many cakes, was also on display, and art and craft lovers also exhibited their pictures or figures.

Norman Bugg , one of the show organisers, said: "It is a wonderful display and we are so lucky to have so many people taking part and producing all this wonderful fruit, flowers and vegetables.

"Given the atrocious weather we have had, and then the blistering heat, they have all done very well in growing what they have. There has been a lot of time and love gone in to all of this."

A full list of winners and runners-up at the Shotley & Erwarton Jubilee Community Council Flower and Vegetable Show will be published as soon as it is compiled completely.

If you entered your garden produce, or know someone who dis, click here for full picture gallery... 

Pier Development Objectors Offer Olive Branch

Tuesday, August 28, 11.00

Supporters of the original plan to restore Shotley pier but object to plans to build a café with seating for up to 84 people, workshops, offices and a visitor centre , have written an open letter to the project group inviting them to a meeting to find a compromise.

Babergh planning committee refused the application by a vote of 7-6 last Wednesday on its size, scale and design, after hearing the proposed 15ft a high building would cause a loss of views down the river Stour, create parking problems and have a detrimental economic effect on the area.

Three objectors spoke against this particular scheme, although all said they wanted the pier renovation to go ahead but only as originally suggested as a restoration of a 123-year-old pier for people to stroll down, perhaps enjoy fishing off one end, with kiosks on the land side to raise money for ongoing maintenance costs.

The letter reads:

"An Open Letter to the Shotley Heritage Charitable Community Benefit Society Limited and Shotley Parish Council

On behalf of Shotley Marina, The Bristol Arms, Shotley Sailing Club and many members of the local community, I would like to offer to host a meeting to discuss how we can all work together to put in a revised application to Babergh District Council for the refurbishment of the Pier.

We all want the pier to be refurbished but believe the last application was flawed. We think that a structure that is 92 feet long and 15ft high, sitting on a 139 foot long platform and costing some £1.9 million to build is too big and expensive.

Please let me know if this would be of interest to members

Many thanks..."

Pier applicant Peter Stabbings told the planning committee the proposed development was estimated at£1.8million, while just restoring the pier would be between £300k and £900k. 

It is understood the pier group directors are meeting this evening (Tueday) to discuss talking with representatives from Shotley Sailing Club, Shotley Marina, the Bristol Arms and residents, and also consider appealing against Babergh’s decision.

Rukus At The Rose

Saturday, August 18

Shotley musicians Rukus headline tonight’s music and beer festival at the Rose. 

Playing a heady mix of rock Rukus proved a popular,  outfit got young and old feet tapping, head nodding and the lips synching to some old rock classics.

The live music started at 9pm  and with the beer and cider festival continuing on Sunday.

Real ale buffs will love choosing from a range of bitters, including

Lilley’s ciders always go down well, with pear and raspberry, lemon & lime, mango, and dark cider adding to the fruity selection. 

Customers danced the night away at the Rose on Friday night as the House Shakers, shook the house down with their electic mix of songs through the decades.

Entrance is free and the festival continues from 12noon until 10pm on Sunday.

  • You don't have to be a petrol head to enjoy the wide range of old cars on show on Thursday (August 23, as the East Coast Retros once again roar into Shotley on the large field behind the Rose. The club will be collecting for the St Elizabeth Hospice, with the Rose donating proceedings from the BBQ
  • Next Sunday, August 26, from 4pm, John ‘Fanny’ Adams will be entertaining regulars at the Rose as part of their Bank Holiday weekend entertainment.

Music and beer festival picture special here...

Open Day As Apartments Are Being Snapped Up

Friday, August 17, 15.00

A second open day to view luxury apartments at Shotley is being held on Saturday, August 18. 

Almost half of the 12 two-bedroom flats at Shotley lodge, with views looking down the river Stour have already been snapped up.

Home hunters who missed out first time round are getting and opportunity to view the superbly finished  apartments between 10am and 12noon.

Enjoy the views, take a look around inside and get a feel for the amazing new apartments in Shotley Gate, with prices starting at £255,000.

The finishing touches are taking place at the 12 luxury apartments ahead of the chance for potential buyers to be the first to snap up these homes with stunning vistas over the River Stour and across to Essex.

Each apartment has two-bedrooms and two bathrooms, with the living area leading out to balconies  with fabulous views down the river, or past the historic Admiralty pier to the estuary.

Oak floors, Bosch appliances, top quality bathrooms, lifts to each floor,  dedicated car parking and storage spaces, make these desirable properties, close to the ferry across to Harwich and Felixstowe, and within easy reach of Ipswich and Manningtree stations to reach London in an hour.

Shotley Lodge apartments are being sold through saves Estate Agents Click for details.   

Power Company Helps Sailing Club Buy New Dinghy 

Sunday, August 12, 15.00

Youngsters in Shotley have set sail in a new boat after a donation by UK Power Networks. 

The company, which delivers electricity to eight million customers across East Anglia, London and the South East, has given the club a much-needed £250 grant as part of its Team Sport Award programme and this has part-funded the purchase of a new Topper dinghy.

It donated the money following an application from employee Paul Ross. (Pictured right with some of the club's young sailors) The 48-year has sailed from the age of 10 and is a volunteer instructor at the club.

Shotley Sailing Club works hard alongside the sport's national governing body, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), to ensure sailing is an accessible sport for youngsters aged from six to 16 in the local community.

Paul, who lives in Shotley and works for UK Power Network in their Ipswich office, said: "I've been helping run the junior dinghy sailing programme at Shotley Sailing Club for three years now.

"The children have been developing fast and the need for extra boats to further their experience was essential, and this is where UK Power Networks came in with their valued support which I know everyone at the club really appreciates.

"The money donated has gone towards the purchase of a Topper dinghy. This is a step up from the beginner craft and is already being put to good use by our more experienced young sailors.

"I've been sailing since the age of 10 when my secondary school offered it as a PE option and I enjoyed it because it was so different to other sports on offer.

"I've gone on to race at international level which shows what can be achieved by the next generation of sailors and we're trying our best to get local youngsters on the water in a cost effective way."

Shotley Sailing Club has also recently but a new starter's hut and has plans to improve their base opposite Admiralty pier at Shotley Gate. 

The Team Sport Award scheme is designed to encourage UK Power Network staff to volunteer in the community and is aimed at promoting healthy living, teamwork and development of sporting opportunities.

Hundreds of community and sports groups have benefited from grants since the scheme was set up. Last year £15,750 was donated to sporting groups connected to UK Power Networks staff.

Customer Service Pilot For Peninsula

Thursday, August 9, 09.00

Shotley has been chosen to pilot a new pop up customer support access point dealing with Babergh District Council matters. 

Currently peninsula residents have to travel to Stowmarket or Sudbury if they want to deal face to face with Babergh officers.

This new service headed up by Babergh’s Customer Service Team, who will allow provide support for peninsula residents to access the council’s online services. 

The pilot scheme, working in partnership with Suffolk Libraries, will run for the next eight weeks starting on August 13 (apart from Bank Holiday Monday, August 27) at Shotley Village Hall from 1pm – 4.30pm.

 Derek Davis, Babergh district councillor for Shotley, Erwarton, Woolverstone, Chelmondiston and Freston, is also the Cabinet member responsible for Organisational Delivery, which includes customer service, is delighted that the council officers’ hard work and budding relationaship with Suffolk Library Service has paid off.

Cllr Davis added: “Improving customer service access has been a top priority ever since we left our headquarters in Hadleigh and I’m delighted this has come to fruition.

“We recognise how not everyone is fully comfortable with access our services online and appreciate dealing with a human being and this will do just that.

“Given how popular the Monday library at Shotley village hall has been, it makes sense to house a Babergh  officer at the same time and hopefully people from all across the peninsula will find this easier than going to Sudbury or Stowmarket.

“This will give us a clearer picture of what our residents need and if successful will be rolled out in other areas of the district.

“Babergh is developing a very good working relationship with Suffolk Libraries and Tim and his team are already providing a very popular and useful service, and this will complement the existing facility.”

Contact Babergh District Council on: 03001234000 (from 8.45am) to be connected to any council service.

When calling the above number, please select:

  • Option 2 for council tax, housing benefits or housing rents
  • Option 3 for housing or housing repairs
  • Option 4 for bins, household waste and recycling
  • Option 5 for building control or planning
  • Option 6 for licensing
  • Option 7 for environmental health or general enquiries

For emergency repairs to council properties or to report dangerous structures: 0808 168 7794

For business rates: 01473 433851

To make a payment: 0845 372 4112

For a text mobile service for hard of hearing customers: 07827 842833

Suffolk Libraries contact details

  • Telephone: 01473 351 249 (please don’t text this number)
  • Email:

District Councillor

District Ward To Be Reshaped And Called Ganges

Tuesday, August 7, 08.00

Shotley and Erwarton 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.

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