News From Wherstead

Emergency Services Save Woman's Life

Thursday, May 17. 23.30

The swift response by emergency services saved a woman who fell off the Orwell Bridge tonight.

Paramedics, four fire crews, police, a RNLI lifeboat and the peninsula's Coastguard team were quickly on the scene.

A Coastguard helicopter, based in Kent, (pictured) was also scrambled and swiftly got to the Strand, next to the river Orwell.

It appears the woman, fell into the river at low tide at the time and managed to scramble to a nearby mudbank.

She was rescued by the Coastguard helicopter and initially taken to paramedics waiting near the Strand.

It is understood the rescued woman was conscious and talking to paramedics after being picked up.

Once the woman was assessed the helicopter evacuated her to an East Anglian hospital where she was treated for life threatening injuries.

The Holbrook Coastguard, based at the Royal Harwich Yacht Club in Woolverstone, were quickly on the scene and secured the area as they helped where possible to rescue the stricken woman.

It is understood the helicopter was already on another, less urgent, shout when it was swiftly diverted and was able to rescue the distressed woman.

Crews were scrambled just after 19.30 and were quickly on the scene, but were stood down three hours later.

Another Car Leaves The Road At The Strand

Friday, March 23, 09.30

A fourth car in six weeks has left the road at the Strand, under the Orwell Bridge.

This Volkswagen Golf went between bollards on the B1456 heading in the Shotley direction and ended up in the river. 

Attempts to remove the vehicle this afternoon hit problems as it was moved from its landing spot, to nearer the road.

No-one was injured in this incident, although other drivers along the same stretch of the road have not been so lucky.

Police, ambulance and fire crews were called to an accident, a little bit further along, the road last month, while a motorist escaped unharmed when he left the road heading towards Ipswich, at the bottom of Freston Hill.

Avoiding oncoming traffic has been blamed in a couple of incidents, while cars travelling close to, or beyond, the 60mph speed limit is understood to be anther factor.

Protests And Complaints Pay Off As Perilous Pothole Is Fixed

Joe Harvey Wednesday, March 14, 14.00

It might have been the flower power protest (see below) publicity by Peninsula News, or pressure from our district councillor Derek  Davis, but whatever, the perilous pothole near the Orwell Bridge has been repaired (for real this time).

The double pothole was reported to Suffolk Highways as far back as January, reported again last month and then the authorities claimed on the Suffolk County Council website that the job had been completed on Thursday, March 8.

However, pictures taken on Sunday showed it had not and more cars had been damaged after driving over the bigger pothole in the dark.

On Monday, green-fingered protesters placed potted pansies in the potholes.

Suffolk Highways sentan email saying the work would be carried out and today (Wednesday) highway contractors filled in the hole.

Other potholes along the B1456 are still to be filled in but at least matters are progressing.

In a separate issue, the two caravans at the lay-by next to Monkey Lodge continue to be on Babergh’s action list and has been chased up by Cllr Davis.

One caravan is owned by a person who is currently detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure and he has told council officials it remains his only home. The council are going through the process of removing that particular caravan and stowing it in a secure place.

The other caravan is due to be removed and destroyed and Babergh’s public realm have been urged to make that happen sooner rather than later.

Cllr Davis said: “The strand is the gateway to the peninsula and it is important for locals and visiotrs alike to be able to travel safely without cars being damaged.

“It is also important that the view is not impaired by the unsightly dumped caravans. Action has been taken and the results will there for all to see in a short while.”   

Flower Power Protest Over Perilous Pothole

Joe Harvey Monday, March 12, 11.30am

Green-fingered protestors have used flower power to highlight a perilous peninsula pothole. 

A pair of potholes son the B1456, under Orwell Bridge, just before the Strand, which has even more damaged areas, have caused  number of near-misses and damage to cars since first being reported last month.

Suffolk Highways claimed the hopes had been repaired last Thursday but that was not the case.

Disgruntled protestors have used potted pansies to highlight the danger of the pothole, which has spread out into the lane of the road heading towards Shotley from Ipswich.

Motorists were guided around the dangerous holes, difficult to spot when filled with rainwater and in the dark, by the yellow, blue, purple and red flowers.

The colourful array of around seven or eight plants were put there overnight after Peninsula News ran a story about the dangerous pothole not being fixed. (See below)

Suffolk Highways, Jane Storey the cabinet member responsible for highways and rural affairs and the peninsula's county councillor David Wood have all failed to respond to request for comment.

'Repaired' Pothole Continues To Damage Cars

Sunday, March 11, 1pm

A dangerous pothole continues to cause damage to cars, three days after Suffolk Highways claimed it had been repaired.

The gaping hole, next to a smaller dip is around 20mtrs from underneath the Orwell Bridge and has been reported more than once, with  the Suffolk Highways site noting one complaint dated on February 19.

Cars are having to swerve to avoid the larger of the two potholes, forcing oncoming traffic to take avoiding action.

But the main danger comes when it is dark, or during and weather with cars hitting the holes and causing damage to tyres, wheels, exhaust or suspension, and incurring high repair bills.

Suffolk Highways have been to the site of the damaged road and placed yellow markings around the potholes, but they have faded.

The website reporting tool claims work was ordered to repair the damage on February second and that was completed on March 8.  

These pictures, taken today (Sunday, March 11) would suggest otherwise.

One lady, Christine Suckling, was left stranded for awhile when her exhaust came off after going through the pothole at11pm last night.

Mrs Suckling said: "I want ti thank the couple who helped me last night at 11pm when I went over a pot hole and my exhaust came off.

"I phoned the RAC and could not get through so thank you to the lady who let me leave my car in her drive and the couple who brought me me back to Shotley."

A backlog of pothole work was already in place before severe bad weather exacerbated the problems with potholes, and other highways issues, with the Suffolk County Council website documenting an avalanche of complaints

Extra work gang are being used to try and catch up but many holes remain unrepaired.

 Suffolk County Council Highways Department, Jane Storey, cabinet member responsible for highways, public transport and rural affairs, and the Peninsula ward county councillor David Wood have all been approached for a comment.   

Babergh district councillor Derek Davis said: "Although this is outside Babergh's remit and the responsibility of Suffolk Highways, it is quite disgraceful, not to say, an extremely dangerous situation which I would urge is rectified immediately. I mean Monday, not a day later.

 "It will be too late if a biker, or cyclist, loses their life by hitting this pothole in the dark. The cost to the motorist with a damaged car may pale into insignificance by comparison but it is still unacceptable and with Highways saying work has been completed, then it must be opening the council up to serious composition claims.

"The road is the gateway to the peninsula, soothes potholes, unsightly dumped caravans and damaged and dirty road signs is hardly making it attractive to visitors, while local deserve better too."

A number of peninsula resident are appalled by the state of Suffolk's roads.

Melanie Connelly said: "We've spent the last few days driving around Ipswich and are horrified with the state of the roads. Thought Shotley to Wherstead road was bad enough, but Ipswich and surrounds appear to be imitating the surface of the moon."

Paul Ross added: "The people who live in our county rely heavily on the transport links and the roads they travel on. Yes, it’s a financial balancing act but leaving repairs to deteriorate to the levels we see on the B1456 is false economy. The hole Shotley bound before the food Hall is almost half way across one lane and growing."

Philip Rivers said: "(It's) absolutely appalling and a major failure by Suffolk county council to maintain the roads ina safe condition, if anyone ran a private business this way the HSE would be on their case . Someone needs to be brought to account ."

Another motorist whose car was damaged by the pothole near the Orwell Bridge, Anne Graham, added: "Only just had three new tyres on my car and got them balanced when I had to get them done again as I hit one of the many huge potholes on the strand!.

"When is this all going to be sorted? Our council tax is increasing by at least 5%, surely this gives us the right to travel safely?"

Beast From East Disruption Update

Wednesday, February 27, 06.00

UPDATES: Train services from Manningtree and Ipswich on the main line route between London and Norwich have been severely disrupted, however some are running. There are no trains running on branch lines.

Suffolk Highways gritters have done a great job and all roads are clear, however caution is urged.The B1456 is passable, but many side roads are slippery. Further snow showers are expected.

Juliette Maxim, spokeswoman for Abelio Greater Anglia said: "We are working wit Network Rail who are responsible for the track and signals and they have kept mainline routes clear.

"Services will run until 22.00 tonight as severe weather continues. 

"We appreciate this is a huge pain in the neck for passengers and we will re-open routes as soon as we can."

Schools on the peninsula are open, although the Suffolk County Council website is down and not able to provide up to date information.

Beast From The East Arrives

Monday, February 26, 11.30am

Shotley peninsula is today bracing itself for the arrival of the polar vortex Beast of the East overnight, and for the next few days.

Forecasters predict heavy snow blizzards sweeping in from Siberia and have issued an Amber alert, the highest warning used.

Greater Anglia have cancelled 235 trains from 9.00pm tonight, and services are expected to be severely disrupted for the next three days. 

Temperatures dipped to -2c today, with a light dusting of snow and roads were not particularly effected.

That is expected to change dramatically tonight, with police and motoring organisations warning motorists not to venture out whenever possible.

A polar vortex is a mass of desperately cold air that sits above the Earth’s north and south poles.

This dense, cold air is controlled by a large pocket of low pressure, which rotates in an anti-clockwise direction at the North Pole and clockwise at the South Pole.

Ends…

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.

Hostage Rescued And Gun Recovered 

Sunday, February 25, 07.40

Police recovered a gun during an incident on Wherstead Road this morning after reports a 20-year-oldwoman was being held against her will.

A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of kidnap, and there are no reported injuries which was dealt with swiftly and safely by armed officers.

The incident started at around 5.30am and police blocked closed Wherstead Road in both direction this morning following an incident between Bourne Bridge and Stoke Bridge by the dock area.

There were some minor traffic delays as was were diverted away from the closure just before 6am this morning (Sunday).

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.

Ten Marina Jobs Go As Oyster Goes Bust

UPDATE: 15.30

While 10members of Oyster Brokerage based at the marina in Wherstead, will lose their jobs after the parent company Oyster Marina Litd went bust, staff directly employed by Fox's Marina and Boatyard will not be affected, it has been confirmed.

AlthoughOyster staff were told on Monday to go home, it has been business as usual for Fox’s staff.

Fox’s spokeswoman Liz Whiteman told SPNF: “One of Oyster Brokerage's offices is indeed located at Fox’s Marina, but they are wholly owned by the Oyster Group. As such, I’m pleased to be able to confirm that Oyster’s insolvency has no bearing on the Fox’s Marina & Boatyard business or our staff."

A statement from chief executive David Tydeman, posted on the Oyster Marine’s website today, said: “It is with sincere regret that we advise that the company has been unable to secure financial support to enable it to continue to trade at this time and it is looking at all opportunities available. Further information will be issued as soon as we can.”

Joe Harvey (Tuesday, February 6, 12.15)

Redundancies are feared at Foxes Marina, Wherstead, after Oyster Yachts was close to moving into voluntary insolvency.

Staff at all Oyster Yachts’ bases were told on Monday to stop working on projects in order to stem further losses and the company    was close to going out of business.

Oyster Marina Ltd has its headquarters in Southampton, but has operations at Fox's Marina and Boatyard at the gateway to the Shotley peninsula, and at other sites in Wroxham, Norfolk, Newport, RhodeIsland and Palma in Mallorca.

In a letter sent to staff on Monday, and details released by the EDP in Norwich, Ben Collett wrote:  “(Oyster Marine Ltd) has been unable to secure financial support to enable it to continue to trade at this time and it is now facing entering into an insolvency procedure imminently”.

It added: “After considering all possible options, the company has concluded that there is a risk that it will be unable to continue to provide work for all its employees at all locations and that it is likely that it will have to make all of its employees redundant. The company has run out of cash and is unable to pay employees for work.

“The company has decided to close all operations today (and for the immediate future) to prevent or minimise all loss to employees and all other creditors.”

Mr Collett said the company will examine how it may be able to continue trading over the next 24 or 48 hours, but it would need “third-party financial support” and that any continuation at this stage would be for only 14 days and “with only skeleton personnel”.

Employee representatives will be elected to keep workers up-to-date with the situation.

Just last month Fox’s marina took delivery of a new Oyster 625 for rigging work, and was due to set off for warmer climes.

SPNF has asked for Fox’s Marina and Oyster Yachts at Wherstead to comment and await their statement.

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, Woolberstone 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.

Man Escapes Serious Injury

A driver escaped with very minor injuries after his car went off the road at the Strand, Wherstead. 

Other drivers stopped to help as the man clambered out of his Rover and an ambulance was called.

The accident, at around 7.45am, on Tuesday, caused minor delays along the B1456 as people headed towards Ipswich. 

Police cordoned off the area without the need for a road closure as the car awaited recovery.

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