August is traditionally a quiet month in the Parish Council year - we take the month off from meetings as both Clerks and Councillors alike head off on holiday. Admittedly, this year is a bit different, what with COVID-19, but the principle remains broadly the same. I’ve not been idle though, and so it seems appropriate to report what I’ve been doing.
In terms of Council business, I’ve focussed on Fen Alder Carr, the nature reserve that we took over responsibility for a few years back. Residents will probably know that it has been closed to the public for some time, as the wooden boardwalk that represents the only means of access to the site is in a dangerous condition. Given that the only options are repair or replacement with earthwork embankments, both of which are massively outside of our ability to fund, I fear that our only option is to “hand the keys back” to Suffolk County Council, or to leave it closed indefinitely.
Unfortunately, we hold the site on a 99-year lease, with a break point at 25 years, i.e. in 2039, so handing the keys back is unlikely.
The County Council recently announced that they would be created “healing places” for people who have lost loved ones through COVID-19, so I did write to the relevant County Portfolio Holder, Richard Rout, and our County Councillor, Gary Green, to see if they might be interested in using Fen Alder Carr in such a way. But, whilst their responses were very polite, it doesn’t appear to suit their published intentions.
I’m also looking at the terms of our lease to ensure that we are complying with its requirements, which has proved to be quite interesting.
Otherwise, I’ve reported the water leak which sprang up last week at the junction of Pound Road and The Lane, and can advise that, within three hours of my report, Jordan from Anglian Water had contacted me to confirm the location and visited the leak to... confirm that there was a leak. Engineers will be out to take further action shortly. If you do see a water leak somewhere, here’s the link that allows you to report it...
I’ve also reported the damaged direction marker at the bottom of Pound Road where it meets Mill Lane - it seems that the sign itself has come adrift of the bracket that holds it in place. It would be nice if Suffolk Highways are able to repair or replace it shortly, but given budgetary pressures at County level, I’m not holding my breath. Again, if you see a damaged piece of road or a broken sign, you can report that using the Suffolk Highways reporting tool.
The Parish Council will next meet on 21 September, almost certainly virtually. If you have any concerns, or if there’s anything we can do to help, feel free to get in touch with any of the five of us. I can often be found walking around the village as part of my exercise regime, and I’m pretty friendly, so don’t be shy.