A Word From Your Mayor Councillor Sue Bale

By the time you read this, one more town council year will have passed.

Looking back, it goes without saying that it has been the strangest and saddest year, though not one that has directly impacted the main work of the council. Councillors and officers have been as busy as ever.

While there have been hardly any public or formal events, except for limited VJ Day and Armistice Day commemorations, things have been happening, notably:

  • The Emergency Response Group was set up to help residents throughout the key months of the pandemic. Our army of willing volunteers has helped to deliver prescriptions, food and emotional support.

  • New circular benches were installed in Whisstocks Place for which we have received very positive feedback.

  • After the declaration of a climate emergency and the climate summit held in 2019, the council set about making some of the parks more biodiverse and wildlife-friendly. A section of Elmhurst Park is set aside for wildflowers and annuals have been replaced by perennials in the borders. Hedges in Fen Meadow have been ‘laid’ and around 1,000 new hedge plants, have been planted. Kingston Field has seen some new hedge planting too. At Broomheath, an area has been fenced off to allow the undergrowth and grass to regenerate after the devastating fire some years ago and rabbit activity since.

  • The daily closure of the Thoroughfare to traffic between 10am and 2pm has been received very positively. At the same time, a new Traffic Regulation Order is in place which will greatly limit traffic. In addition, four years after the county council agreed on the implementation of a 20mph scheme for the town, the town council has agreed to part-fund the first, design, stage of the process.

  • Our new tenants at the Pavilion Café on Kingston Field are Access Community Trust. They opened their doors in February 2020, just before the first lockdown. However, undeterred, and in line with their philosophy of community help and engagement, they have done a great job creating take-away food and helping others like the Salvation Army to feed people in need.

  • Just before the autumn half-term, the council provided food vouchers for families of children at Woodbridge primary schools who qualify for free school meals. We later donated money for laptops for schools.

  • Back in 2019, the town council declared its opposition to the development of Sizewell C. Since then, we have been active participants in the ongoing stages of the planning process by registering as an ’Interested Party’ and by having a dedicated town council representative taking part in the current examination phase. In addition, the council is meeting EDF to discuss the specific concerns of the town, sandwiched as we are between the A12 and the railway, both of which would be heavily used in the construction phase.

  • The council has responded to the county council consultation on the proposed changes to the A12 from the Seven Hills roundabout to Woods Lane. Our main concerns are that the proposed traffic lights will not ease traffic flow, will increase air pollution and lead to rat-running through the town.

Looking ahead, I think we’re all going to appreciate our town more when it opens up again. It is, as we’ve always known, the ‘best place to live in the Eastern region’. So, I for one can’t wait for life to come back to as near normal as possible.

Shotley and Erwarton WI

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