Planning – There were no applications for the Parish Council to consider in their capacity as statutory consultees on planning applications within the parish. The following decisions made by MSDC were noted. 1544/13 Change of Use of land to allow the siting of 5no. camping pods and 1no. toilet pod for holiday use. Creation of car parking area and access roads and footpath. Installation of sewage treatment plant at Oaklands, Rattlesden Road. GRANTED and 1922/13 Demolition of existing side flat roof extension and rear conservatory. Erection of two storey side extension and single storey extension to rear elevation, 5 Edmunds Road - GRANTED
Cllr Penny Otton’s Report – Cllr Otton informed us that the fire service had given a presentation at Rattlesden recently on fire safety in the home which was a very useful exercise and one which hopefully will be repeated. Free smoke alarm inspections are available via the fire service, if you would like to take advantage of this please let myself or Penny know and we will find out how to sign up. There is also a Free electric blanket testing session being held at Stowmarket Fire Station on 11th October.
Final plans for Great Finborough Primary School have now been submitted for consultation by Suffolk County Council, the public and MSDC will be able to make comment, but under bizarre local council rules SCC will then make the final decision on their own application.
Cllr Otton gave some information on the recently introduced Community Right to Buy Scheme. Within The Localism Act 2011 the Government introduced a range of community rights designed to empower local communities. These rights include, among others, Neighbourhood Plans, Community Right to Bid (for assets of community value) and Community Right to Challenge. Mid Suffolk District Council has recently introduced protocols specifically to address the Community Rights to Bid and to Challenge. Under the new arrangements a community group can register with the Council an “asset of community value” where its purpose is cultural, social or sporting. The asset can be owned privately (eg: a pub) or publicly (eg: a playing field). If the asset is registered and the owner decides to sell it, the protocol ensures that there is a period of time in which the community can prepare a bid for the asset before a sale goes ahead. Mid Suffolk’s protocol allows for an initial 8 week timeframe for a community to signal its intention to bid followed by a twenty week period during which the community can actually bid for the asset. Even if there is no immediate threat to our community assets at this time it may be prudent to register them just in case things change.
Community Right to Bid is supported by MSDC and communities can ask for their Assets of Community Value to be added to a register which would give some safeguards for the community, such as extended time in order to prepare and submit any bid for the asset, should the site come up for sale or alternative use. The parish council agreed not to register any assets at this time.
Police Report – PCSO Colette Denny gave us her report. There have been no crimes in the village since the last meeting. In response to high level of daytime dwelling burglaries there is currently an operation tasked with targeting these offences and responding quickly to any suspicious activities. There has been a huge reduction in the offences committed with many arrests and vehicle seizures with offenders currently on bail or remanded in custody which is great news.
Cllr John Matthissen Report – Cllr Matthissen told us that the Stowmarket cycle map has been published and that the final stage of appointing staff at MSDC has been “paused”, 70 vacancies are unfilled mainly in planning and housing, also the executive has approved the Chilton Leys Development brief for public consultation, the brief excludes the Chilton Fields sports land at present but this does not protect the fields for all time.
Local Affordable Housing Needs - Sunila Osborne – a Rural Housing Enabler with Community Action Suffolk attended the meeting this month – Sunila gave a detailed explanation of the process involved in carrying out a Housing Needs Survey which would establish whether there was a need in the village for Local Affordable Housing. The survey would need to be sent to every household to find out whether anyone with a local connection would like to live in the parish if housing was affordable for them. If a significant need was established from the survey then the parish council could pursue a project with a Housing Association to identify a suitable plot and build a scheme of local affordable properties. Obviously this is something that is a long long way of and may never materialise, councillors are by no means committed to building any houses but the parish council do feel that they should at least try and find out whether or not there is actually a need within our community for affordable housing. A working group has been set up to look into the costings and process for compiling a questionnaire, distributing, analysing the results and coming up with an indication of whether there is a Local Need. Only then can we take any decision on a future project.
Other Business – The finance report for July was approved and various invoices paid. The annual grants were discussed and the following donations approved. Optua £50, Suffolk Accident Rescue £50, St Elizabeth Hospice £50, Mid Suffolk CAB £50, Buxhall Broadcast £156.
A decision was taken to not increase allotment rents again this year and the football club were happily given permission to use the playingfield for another season.
The next Parish Council meeting will take place at 7.30 on Monday 18th November 2013.
All residents are welcome to join us.
Paula Gladwell, Tel: 01449 737942 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org