Village Review 2013
Summary of views of Parish councillors
This is a perennial topic at PC meetings. The opportunity exists for a dog warden to be appointed, with the ability to issue penalty notices to offenders, but it has been the opinion of successive councillors that, in a small community such as ours, this would be too difficult a task for someone in this village to perform. Constant reminders to the village (which we do) and maintaining the dog bins seems the extent to which we can tackle this continuing problem.
With Suffolk CC promising faster rural broadband, perhaps as early as next year, the PC is not in a position to endorse an alternative supplier, such as County Broadband, particularly as this specific supplier appears to be financially insubstantial. Our role must be to continue to press Suffolk CC for action, to monitor what is happening and to communicate to the village any progress – or lack of it.
This was organised, with VF the co-ordinator, but has since been abandoned.
A link to a car sharing scheme has now been put on the website. Chris Bowden has agreed to act as co-ordinator for bus services, including Go-Start and the Cosford Link, as well as any Suffolk CC sponsored service such as the one which currently provides two return trips to Sudbury a week. We understand Margaret Rawles will act as a co-ordinator for car trips from willing providers in the village, but she has been away, so it has not proved possible to confirm this.
Because of our size as a community, and given also the absence of suitable premises, this appears a non-starter. However, there is a fish monger who will attend on a weekly basis and other travelling stores might be available, while internet shopping might prove an answer. For those without access to the internet, perhaps a co-ordinator prepared to order any goods required could be found. An (almost certainly speculative) approach to buy Park Farm to turn it into a touring caravan park has been notified to the PC which included an offer to build a shop onsite. Should this turn into a real approach, we might wish to bear this tentative suggestion in mind.
The consensus view was that this would be more the responsibility of one or more village organisations, most probably led by the Playing Fields committee, but with others helping. While the PC has acted as the co-ordinator of past village-wide celebrations, such as the Jubilee and Millennium events, any regular fete would be better kept outside PC control and financing.
Welcome Pack for incomers
A welcome card has been produced by Dennis Duffy and will be distributed by Elizabeth Tora to newcomers to the village. A whole new section entitled LW Services has also been added to the village website by Andy Sheppard which gives much more information.
Neither village community facility is big enough to accommodate a cinema, but there are several venues locally which offer feature films on a regular basis – Lavenham, Polstead, Leavenheath and the Quay Theatre. There are a variety of sources of specialist films available, such as the East Anglian film archive at the University of East Anglia; the Parish Rooms might be suitable for showing such films, for which the cost of hiring might be sufficiently low to allow an economically viable group to be established. It will however need an interested person/group of people to set it up and run it. One possibility could be to advertise for interested people in the BRN and website to see if anyone comes forward, but it should not be the PC’s responsibility to run such an organisation.
Outdoor Adult Gym
While this would be a legitimate project for the PC to take forward, and could also be the recipient of section 106 money, the experience of District Councils introducing such schemes suggest they are costly to both introduce and maintain. A ball park figure would be £20,000 plus, but the most appropriate village organisation to take this forward would be the Playing Fields committee.
This was established by the Playing Fields committee, though has not yet been started.
This is a possibility (Great Waldingfield and Lavenham have both initiated such schemes) and could also use S106 money, but acquiring suitable land at a reasonable (ie minimal cost) will be the problem. The Parish Council chairman approached Richard Abrey regarding Churchfields, but was told this land was now owned by the farming pension fund. Contact has also been made with Great Waldingfield (David Taylor), which purchased 3.3 acres in 2008 for £20,000 from Suffolk CC following the establishment of an informal group which raised money and obtained grants (Forestry Commission for planting and Greenlight Trust of Lawshall – Grenville Clark – are useful contacts). If this is to be pursued, a body outside the PC will need to be established, though in the case of GW the land is owned by the PC even though they were not formally involved in the sourcing and funding of the land.
Reinstatement of Tennis Court
The unanimous view of the councillors present was that this is a matter for the Playing Field committee. Peter Baker, current chairman, has been told of this village review meeting request.
Preventing new development
This was an issue raised at the time but has recently been overtaken by a change in the local plan. Villages are to be encouraged to foster development, though in the case of Little Waldingfield, which is termed a hinterland village under the terms of the new Babergh policy, this would need to based on housing needs. Major development are confined to core villages (Great Waldingfield, Lavenham, Boxford etc), but over the life of the plan as much as a 10% increase in our housing stock could be contemplated, which suggests up to 16 new houses could be built – mainly a mix of affordable and bungalows. The PC needs to take control of planning policy, with a view to being more proactive in promoting plans considered to be in the best interests of the community.
Craft group events: As for several other suggestions at the meeting, a nice idea, but one which needs to be taken forward by those interested in promoting such events. Both the Parish Rooms and the Playing Field pavilion should be capable of hosting such events at a reasonable cost, so perhaps those interested should approach these village organisations.
Better communication with village: Although not on the wish list from the original Village Review, improving the flow of information back to the community should assume a higher priority. In this regard, the PC’s response to the Review has been too slow, but improvements – such as the Information Kiosk and the website – should allow better communication in future.