Stutton Archived stories

Aqua Park Closed Due To Algae

Friday, July 20, 16.00

Blue green algae has been found at Alton Water Park, forcing the closure of Aqua Park and the water sports centre. 

Walkers, cyclists and campers can still use the site, but no-one is allowed on or in the water.

Standard tests carried out by staff at Alton discovered a bloom of the blue green alate, which has also been detected in other parts of the UK.

The unacceptable levels of the blue green algae meant the water sections of the park were closed as a precaution leaving scores of people disappointed at the Aqua Park, which opened earlier this month, as all sessions were cancelled

An Alton Water statement said: "While we know this will be disappointing for people booked into the Aqua Park or expecting to use the water sports facilities, the safety of the visitors is our top priority. We will be testing the water twice daily and will reopen the facilities once algal levels return to normal.

"This algae is commonly found in water across the UK and is only a problem if it multiplies, causing what is known as a ‘bloom’. This can happen very rapidly and comes as a result of long hot, sunny weather and still conditions, as we are experiencing across the country at the moment."

Dog owners are warned not to let their pets off the lead, and not allow them into the water.

Alton Water is still open to campsite customers and visitors wanting to walk or cycle around the reservoir, or to enjoy the tea room. However, access to the water is not permitted.

Splashing Out At Aquapark

Sunday, July 8, 11.30

Alton Water Park has added another facility to its revamped site with an inflatable Aquapark officially opening over the weekend.

The mix of floating climbing walls, trampolines, balance bars, rockers, rollers, and slides, covers an area almost the size of a football pitch.

A session costs £20 per person for an hour, which includes a 10-minute safety briefing. And while spectating is free, car parking charges are also applicable.

People are advised to arrive around 30-45 minutes in advance of their session to get changed, and anyone arriving late for the safety briefing will not be permitted to take part and there are no refunds.

Everyone has to fill in their personal details onlne during the booking, and a £5 admin charge will apply if it has to be done at reception.

Children must be aged eight or older, and be at least 1.2m tall, and those under 15 must have a responsible adult on shore throughout the session.

Nestled between Stutton, Tattingstone and Holbrook, Alton Water Park, has added a new play area, new cycle hire facilities and the tea room has been given a facelift and is now managed by in-house staff

Trust Takeover Welcomed As Stutton Becomes An ASSET School

(Updated June 7)

Blink and you may miss it but Stutton’s Church of England primary school has joined A Suffolk Schools Education Trust (ASSET). 

The move has been welcomed by local councillors and parents alike, with ASSET executive principal Clare Flintoff promising a seamless progression aimed at ensuring the school has a healthy future.

Pupils returning from half-term on Monday did not notice anything different except, perhaps, an extra spring in the steps of head Anne Clarke and her staff with the school’s future secured by the convergence.

Villagers were naturally in uproar when it was revealed last year that Suffolk County Council planned to close the school in a cost cutting measure.

The Local Education Authority’s planned closure was due to a decline in standards and pupil numbers falling.

However, a positive and collaborative approach by school staff, governors and the community led to an alternative being found and Ipswich-based academy trust ASSET Education agreed to take Stutton under its wing.

An agreement between the Church of England’s Diocesan Board of Education, the LEA, the school and ASSET, led to today’s move.

 Mrs Flintoff, (pictured left) is confident the school, which was recently rated as ‘Good’ in an Ofsted report, following Mrs Clarke's return, will flourish.

“We are delighted that Stutton primary school is joining us at ASSET Education and we are really looking forward to working with staff, parents and governors to ensure the children get the best possible education,” said Mrs Flintoff

“Stutton school needs to grow but it is important it maintains its unique character. It is a very special school in terms of its creative and artistic curriculum.

“We would like to support the school in its growth.”

ASSET now has nine schools within its Trust, with Shotley Community primary school due to join it in September.

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.

Mrs Flintoff believes the support the academy trust can offer Stutton in terms of back office oversight, training, resources and leadership will help progress at pace, including retaining current pupils and attracting more from near the catchment area.  

“A lot of work has gone into getting to this stage” 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 Stutton 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.”

Peninsula ward, Suffolk County Councillor David Wood paid tribute to everyone that worked so hard to put this together.

"So glad to see that Stutton Primary School has entered its new phase by becoming part of an Academy, said Cllr Wood. "This is a result of all of the hard work of the Governors, Staff and Parents over the last few months and I am glad to take this opportunity to wish pupils, staff and parents all of the best for the future.

"One can only hope that all of the past traumas are now well and truly part of the past and Stutton Primary School can once again take its place as one of the leading schools on the Peninsula. Schools have always been the heartbeat of a village an important social hub and our future, so I hope everyone gets behind this brave new venture to ensure it is a roaring success."

New development on and around the peninsula should bring more young families to the area and Babergh district councilor Alastair McCraw believes it is important Stutton primary school is well-supported. 

“It's great that a way of saving the school has been found after a lot of hard work by staff and the governors, working with ASSET,” said Cllr McCraw.

“The future depends on parents and pupils. The value of a good village school on your doorstep can't be overstated. It really is a case of encouraging people to use it or lose it.”

Shotley primary school will join the stable of ASSET’s academy trust’s schools in September, when a new head will be put in place ,as the current interim head Alun Davies moving on to Melton.

Get On Your Bike At Alton Water

A new cycle hire centre has opened at Alton Water enable visitors to explore the eight mile trail around the reservoir and park.

The facility has been taken in house and being run by former Halfords manager Dean Battiste (pictured)using a range of Krosse cycles, and a pedal karts.

With an initial 77 bikes, ranging from small child's to adults, the hire centre also offers trailer buggies, child seats, helmet hire and  orange of bicycle equipment to buy.

"These are sturdy, good quality bikes, which we are sure visitors will love," said Mr Battiste. "There are so many good trails to follow, and the way the park is shaped, with no hills of note, it is a lovely place to take a steady bike ride around."

 Visitors can hire by the hour, with weekly or weekend deals available for campers and caravaners staying on site.

There are two routes, one of four miles of surfaced cycle-path and another cross-country trail of eight miles around Alton Water Park, where the speed limit is 10mph but cyclists are allowed to travel off site and explore the Shotley peninsula.

Demand has already been steady and despite dank weather the park has been busy with an Easter Egg trail a children's favourite.

The newly re-opened cafe is proving popular, especially with parents taking a break for tea, coffee and cake, while their children enjoy the nearby freshly installed play equipment.

A caravan and campsite is scheduled to open in June with bookings already being taken.

Alton Water Tea Room Reopens

There is nothing better after a good walk, cycle or even jog around the miles of Alton Water pathways, than a nice cup of tea/coffee and   slice of cake.

Now, after an extensive refurbishment, the Alton Water tea room has opened offering visitors to the park an opportunity to sit and get refreshed with friends, including the four-legged variety.

New management led byNatalie and her team, (pictured here in the middle with Lauren, left and Carly, right) are ready to welcome locals and tourists alike, even in the spring snow or showers.

Quality barista machines serve up a good range of coffees, while tea comes in mugs or pots, as desired.

Hot food is available, along with rolls and sandwiches, while the dogs are allowed free biscuits.

 The tea room renovations are part of extensive work going on to enhance the visitor experience to Alton Water.

A touring caravan site is due to be completed in time for the summer season, a new play area will open this week, while a new cycle-hire centre is now open for business.

Park Ranger John Taylor said: "There are lots of exciting things going on and we look forward to welcoming even more visitors to Alton Water this year."

Join In With Spring Clean

Dozens of volunteers from peninsula parishes are joining with this year’s Great British Spring Clean. 

Woolverstone and Stutton parish councils have organised a litter pick this coming weekend, March on Saturday, March 3, while Chelmondiston’s will be held on March 17.

The councils will provide litter-pickers. Gloves and bags, all you need to do is turn up. Children welcome with an adult.

Those volunteering at Woolverstone are asked to meet at 10am at Berners Village Hall, where everything will be issued. Simon Pearce is coordinating the litter pick.

Guests and staff from the Tiffers homeless bus are also lending a hand along the main road in that area.

Chris Leach is organising Stutton’s spring clean; volunteers are asked to meet at the Old Post Office corner at 10am, Chris can be contacted on 328939.

Chelmondiston PC have splt their spring clean in to two parts, with volunteers asked to meet either at the main village car park, next to thepost office, or at Pin Mill car park, at 10am at either. Call the clerk Jill Davis for more information.

Sarah Carter, Babergh public realm officer, said: “A quick litter pick can really improve the local community, is fun and gets people active outside, and is so satisfying as the results are instant.

“It’s a great way to meet up with friends and neighbours to arrange a group pick.”

Let us know if you are holding a litter pick. editorial@shotleypeninsulanewsand features.com

Some communities may intend to link their events to this -  find out more here http://www.keepbritaintidy.org/get-involved/support-our-campaigns/great-british-spring-clean

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.

Stutton School Saved

Thursday, February 22, 22.30.

Stutton's primary school has been saved from closure.

Campaigners that battled Suffolk County Council's pans to close the Stutton Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School were rewarded for their efforts when it was decided to no longer go ahead with the planned consultation to shut it down, and allow the school to stay open.

Led by former head Anne Clarke who came back to the school last year, Stutton primary school has achieved a Good Ofsted report, a huge improvement on the previous 'Requires Improvement' grading reported in December, 2015 and has also been accepted as part of the Assett Educationacademy trust under St Helen's School, Ipswich.

Suffolk County Councillor David Wood revealed the good news as part of his report to Shotley parish council tonight.

"I'm delighted to be able to confirm the future of Sutton school has been secured," said Cllr Wood. "I want to praise all the staff at the school, and everyone involved in achieving this. They have worked their butts off to get this done."

Ofsted upgraded its previous 'Requires Improvement' overall rating, to Good in every category and praised the way the headteacher had established stability following a lengthy period of turbulence and since her appointment has been instrumental in bringing about rapid school improvement.

It added that the headteacher and governors are proud of and committed to the school. They have a shared vision and strategic plan in order to secure the long-term future of the school and that governors provide a good level of support and challenge for school leaders. They have developed a clear understanding of the school’s strengths and areas for further development.

Cllr Wood explained how the combination of an improved Ofsted rating, the new academy acceptance and the whole change at Stutton had persuaded the county council to not close the school.

Cllr Wood added: "This shows that there is a future after being rated Inadequate. Sometimes small can be good." 

District councillor Alastair McCraw, who has also supported the school's efforts, added: "This is great news for Stutton and its future. A school lies at the heart of a community. A lot of praise should go to all the people who worked so hard to keep their school."

A request has been made to the school for its reaction and we will publish it upon receipt.

Ruthie's Unique Chicago Hat-Trick

A massive West End star with strong peninsula roots is set to make London theatre history. 

Ruthie Henshall, whose parents live in Stutton, and can often be found supporting local establishments, will become the first person to play three leading roles in the same hit musical in the UK.

Ruthie will play Mama Morton in Chicago when it returns to the West End’s Phoenix Theatre, next month.

The part comes 19 years after the show originally opened and she played Roxie, winning an Olivier nomination for her performance.

Then, in 2003 when Ruthie rejoined the show, she took on the role of Velma Kelly, which she also played on Broadway. 

Despite being a huge stage star Ruthie has never forgotten her Suffolk roots in a career spanning more than 25 years.

Ruthie has appeared in Cats, Miss Saigon, Les Miserable, Billy Elliott and Crazy For You where she got her first Olivier Award nomination.

During her career so far, the peninsula actress has won Best Actress in a Musical with She Loves Me, which took five Olivier awards in 1994 and was nominated for Polly Brown in Crazy For You.

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.

New Homes Bid Gets Approval

Fourteen more new home safe to be built in Stutton after Babergh's planning committee approved the application by11 votes to 1.

The houses on a field, which is currently home to an informal football pitch was approved after being called to committee by district councillor Alastair McCraw who wanted members to be aware of the loss of open space and a question need for a new play area.

Cllr McCraw also pointed out how the removal of plot one on the original application after concerns were raised about safe access and visibility, and made the application more palatable to villagers. 

Spare Rooms Call For Single Lodgers

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.”

‘This is just such a good idea," said Alton ward district councillor Alastair McCraw, who represents Brantham, Stutton and Tattingstone. "Matching people who can help each other. There have always been informal arrangements of this type, but the Solo Housing Lodging Scheme should both provide safeguards and help prevent homelessness. Simples!’

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.

Plans For 14 New Homes Called In

Joe Harvey (Tuesday February 6, 7.30am)

An application to build 14 new homes in Stutton will be heard by Babergh's planning committee tomorrow (Wednesday).

The bid for outline planning permission was referred to the committee by Alton ward district councillor Alastair McCraw after  planning officers recommended approval for the houses, and children's playground on land next to the Village hall, on Manningtree Road.

Stutton Parish Council want the committee to refuse the application made by the Trustees of Holly Farm Trust and Sutton Hall Estate, which includes a provision for five affordable homes.

The parish council argue the development would mean a loss of ope space, and there would be issues with vehicles going in and out of the new estate.

Babergh's corporate manager for planning believes, on balance, the public benefits outweigh the negative and the planning committee will have to look at both sides of the debate before deciding on the application.

Stutton Plan Open For Debate

Villagers in Stutton have been given the chance to meet and discuss plans about the future of housing and amenities.

A public meeting will be held at Sutton Community Hall on Monday, February 5 starting at 7.30pm.

Parishioners will hear the pros and cons of developing a neighbourhood plan, included the estimated costs, of any such plan, which is put together after a survey within the village.

Representatives from Babergh District Council and East Bergholt Parish Council, that has been through the process, are due to be in attendance to talk and take questions.  

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