TOWN COUNCIL REPORT 2009 -2010
Listed below is the attendance record for the main Council meetings
for the last year out of a possible 12 meetings the number attended
was as follows:
Cllr Mrs M. Andrews 82%
Cllr Sir P Batho 91%
Cllr G Cooke 55%
Cllr Mrs R Damiral -White 100%
Cllr J Fisher 100%
Cllr K Howe 91%
Cllr B Jones 82%
Cllr G Moye 82%
Cllr M Palman 100%
Cllr Miss B Peall 91%
Cllr Mrs D Sculley 73%
Cllr Ms C Trotter-Langlois 91%
Cllr Col R Warren 73%
Cllr D Willett 91%
Some absences were unavoidable due to representing the Town Council
at other meetings, hospitalisation or illness.
Our Planning Committee considered over twenty four applications
during the last year and would like to make clear at this point
that they looked solely at the Reef Estates development in Church
Street. At no stage were the Planning Committee, the Town Council
or Suffolk Coastal District Council asked for, nor gave, any comment
upon who the ensuing occupiers would be. They purely commented on
the plans for the rejuvenation of a derelict eyesore. Any rumours
to the contrary are not based upon fact.
The Market Hall has been redecorated together with the railings
outside but the hall window needs replacing. Various kitchen equipment
has been purchased and when finances permit the kitchen needs complete
refurbishment. Bookings are steadily increasing and we are negotiating
a long term booking for a local group.
We strive to seek ownership of Fromus Square that was agreed in
principle by the then owners many years ago. We continue to promote
the local businesses by organising various events such as the St.
George’s weekend , the Christmas Grotto and by continued support
of Saxmundham in the Anglia in Bloom competition.
The Town Council have also supported Saxmundham and Villages Voluntary
outh (SAVVY) who are in the process of rejuvenating the Seaman Avenue
play area. The young people identified the need for the project
to benefit the whole community from young children to senior citizens
and to cover all abilities.
The Town Council always donate all monies from the recycling and
the commission from the Market to various charities. This year we
have given monies to the following:- Saxmundham Adventure Playground,
Citizens Advice Bureau, Coastal Accessible Transport Services, 1st
Responders, Saxmundham Museum, Saxmundham Football Club, Suffolk
Accident Rescue Service and the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
We initially recommended support for the Middle School in its endeavour
to resist the closure, and this was passed unanimously at a subsequent
Town Council meeting. The school’s Governors recently decided
not to continue the fight against closure in the interests of a
smooth transition, and as a result, we have begun to work more closely
with the Saxmundham and District Community Interest Company (SADCIC)
in their quest to set up a community centre on the site, which will
provide an essential resource for the entire population of the town.
SADCIC have already invested a great deal of time and effort into
this scheme, and I look forward to the Town Council working much
closer together with the Community Interest Company in the coming
year to achieve this aim.
In terms of District and County Council matters affecting Saxmundham,
the largest areas of consideration during the year have involved
reviews of the Local Development Framework and the Unitary Authority
proposals respectively. With regard to the Suffolk Coastal Local
Development Framework, Sir Peter Batho, advised that this was the
third review of the proposals, and provided excellent information
on the history and current situation regarding the plan which, he
felt, would not impact too greatly on this, and surrounding Market
Towns. However, in our previous response to the Local Development
Framework, we noted that the real problem is that local infrastructure
is not planned in accordance with the growth in housing and population.
Sir Peter informed the committee that this was still the case, and
we therefore agreed to repeat our previous comments to the District
Council, as nothing had changed in the latest review to make us
alter that position.
The Unitary Authority proposals from the Boundary Committee for
England consisted of two options, a single Unitary Authority covering
the existing county boundary of Suffolk and a two Unitary plan,
one combining Ipswich and Felixstowe (the North Haven Unitary) with
the other making up the rest of mainly rural Suffolk. We felt that
of the two options, the single unitary plan was preferable, as the
two unitary authority scheme had the potential to leave the rural
authority as a stagnant backwater to the vibrant North Haven authority
which contained the bulk of commerce and industry within the county.
However, the one drawback of the single unitary authority was its
geographical size, which could potentially leave rural communities
isolated. This was addressed in the plan by proposals to set up
a number of community boards as the liaison between parishes and
the Unitary Authority headquarters. However, as the proposed make
up of these boards, which were to be given decision making powers
over their local towns and parishes, involved a number of unelected
plan by proposals to set up a number of community boards as the
liaison between parishes and the Unitary Authority headquarters.
However, as the proposed make up of these boards, which were to
be given decision making powers over their local towns and parishes,
involved a number of unelected representatives, we felt we could
not support this plan either. Our decision to reject both plans
and opt for the retention of the current system of local government
was sent to the Boundary Committee. It appeared that we were right
to do so, as when the matter was rushed through Westminster prior
to the end of this Parliament, the Secretary of State turned down
both options and requested that the matter be discussed further
by the local authorities of Suffolk.
It is the duty of the Policy & Resources Committee to look at
the budgeted income and expenditure, and to put forward a draft
budget to the Town Council for approval. As with the financial affairs
of all organisations, it’s fair to say that the budget is
far and away the most emotive issue to come before the Town Council,
and this year was certainly more emotive than most. Given the current
state of the economy, we were extremely concerned that we did not
want to place much of a greater financial burden on the residents
of Saxmundham by raising the Town Council precept any more than
was necessary, but this had to be balanced out by ensuring this
also did not adversely affect the Town Council’s ability to
carry out its responsibilities. Review of the budget took place
over three months, whilst we looked at every area of expenditure
in fine detail to determine the balance between lowest possible
funding and effectiveness for each cost centre to function. This
was, without doubt, the most stringent budget review in recent years,
and I fully expect next year to be just as daunting, as the almost
certain cuts in Central Government expenditure and grants filters
its way down to the grass roots of local government.
The Town Council remains stalwart in their efforts to assist residents
and improve our Town at all times and the Town Clerk is always happy
to hear from you.