Quote of the week

Life isn't about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself'

George Bernard Shaw
If you cannot mould yourself entirely as you would wish, how can you expect other people to be entirely to your liking?
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/wish.html

Friday, September 30, 2011

Great Waldingfield revealed!

Last week I took delivery of my copy of the Great Waldingfield Village Scrapbook.

The book has been maintained and compiled by Edna Allan, who, I learnt, came to the village on her marriage in 1947. Material in the book dates back to 1951 when it was started by the WI.  Mrs Allen was encouraged to publish the document by Mike Stone, who, as is well known, is interested not just in local history, but also in the stories of the people who lived, and still live, in the village.

The book is really beautifully produced.  There is much of interest in it, including a history of the village dating back to the 1950’s.  There is also a fascinating report of the Coronation in 1953.  It seems that some two weeks after the event children and pensioners from the village were taken to the cinema in Sudbury to see a colour film of the event!

The scrapbook promises hours of interest, even to one who has got to know the village well relatively recently. It shows that much changes over time, but much also stays the same.  What is clear from the scrapbook is that the Big Society has been alive and well in Great Waldingfield for many years.

Copies of the scrapbook are available from Mike Stone (who can be found at GW Business Associates next to the shop).  I do recommend it to anyone interested in our area.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Flower festival and Harvest Festival in Great Waldingfield this weekend

Harvest Festival by Andrew Strange
I am sorry that owing to a prior engagement I will be unable to attend the Great Waldingfield Flower Festival in the Church this weekend.

I understand that proceedings commence at 11a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, and that there will be a Harvest Festival service on Sunday at 11.a.m.

In addition to floral displays there will be refreshments and a number of stalls.

I hope that the weather continues to be kind until the weekend!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Is there a message for our planners here?

Suffolk Preservation Society donations are on the right!
I am always intrigued when I look at the Community Matters donation box in Waitrose.

The number of little green tokens given by customers to each of the month's good causes often shows that some charities attract a lot more support than others despite appearing on the face of it to be equally worthy.  Anything to do with animals seems to fill the box to overflowing in a few days, as is the case for charities which support servicemen, whether retired or active.

I have been quite surprised (and pleased) this month to see the Suffolk Preservation Society streaking ahead in the green token stakes, against what I would have imagined would be stiff competition from other causes.  I feel to some extent that this vindicates my continuing struggle to ensure that economic growth is not the dominant driver behind Babergh's planning policy.  It is quite clear to me that what many of the residents of Babergh want is to preserve our wonderful natural and built, and this is further evidence of this.

Of course it has to be admitted that the customers of Waitrose are not really a random sample of the population.  It is a relatively expensive place to shop, and is not the supermarket of choice for many.

Nonetheless I do not think that the clear opinion of its customers should be ignored.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Vote on Monday for a local project!

Bookends of Sudbury is planning an artistic extravaganza for Sudbury in 2012.

The community art gallery (which can be found just opposite the back door to the Town Hall in Gaol Lane) is a not for profit organisation devoted to supporting local artists and promoting artistic education for all in the local community.  Courses are run throughout the year, and for 2011 they are hoping to organise a ‘summer of art ‘trail through the town.

At Gainsborough’s House we are very excited about this project, since we are keen to play our part and encourage all artistic activity in Sudbury.  We know that, as a gallery and museum, we will benefit from more visitors to the town, particularly if they are interested in art.  Additionally we want to encourage all residents in and around Sudbury to discover for themselves how much more enriching life becomes once you get the ‘art habit’, whether as practitioner or aficionado!  We hope to be able to lend our support to Bookends in a number of ways.

It is hoped that the event, once established, will become an annual event, exploring different themes each time.
To get the project off the ground, funding is currently being sought from Natwest Community Force, which supports community projects around the country.  It is a competitive process however, and the initiative needs your vote!

You can help to get the project off the ground by going to
on or after 26th September to register your support.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Questions by candlelight

Yesterday evening's quiz at Chilton Church was a wonderful event.

The Church looked really stunning; the pews having been moved to the sides of the church, and, of course, since there is no electricity at the church, the event was illuminated by hurricane lamps and candles.

There was enough light however to see the numerous pieces of paper that we were obliged to fill in, and also the plasticine models which each team was asked to construct as part of a 'sculptural charades' competition.

We would have done better if I had not leapt in prematurely in one round and scored nil points...so apologies to our team mates for that!  I was sure that the answer was Ronald Regan, but it turned out to be Paul Newman.....

It really was an evening with a difference, and I hope it will be repeated next year.  The Church, which is not very large,  provides a wonderful space for this sort of event.

Thanks to the Friends of St Mary's Church in general,  and David Tibbetts Chaplin and Eileen Gore in particular.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lullaby Concerts return to Suffolk

Back in Suffolk by popular demand, the City of London Sinfonia will be presenting a Lullaby Concert in St Peter's Church on Wednesday 26th October.  There are two performances, one at 11 a.m. and one at 2p.m.

Presented by specialist musician, Clare Bloor, the theme of the concert this year is 'magic'. Audience members are encouraged to take inspiration from the theme and dress the part, and also to enjoy a good deal of  singing and other audience participation.  The programme will include pieces such as The Sorcerers Apprentice and the overture to the Magic Flute.

At the end of the concert some musical instruments will be available for children to try out.

Children aged up to 7 and their parents will be very welcome at the concerts which are presented by Babergh through Orchesras Live, in partnership with other District Councils in Suffolk, The County Music Service, and MusicLeader, East of England.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Three events this weekend

Yesterday I spent a busy afternoon visiting three of the four churches in the Ward, all of which are hosting events this weekend.  All events continue today, and I strongly recommend all three of them.

My first stop was at Chilton where a most interesting exhibition about the history of the Church is on display.    The exhibits provoked a good deal of interest as can be seen below.

Visitors at Chilton Church admiring the exhibition

Then on to the Little Waldingfield’s biennial Flower Festival.  I think that the exhibits this year, if it is possible, surpass even the wonders that were on display in 2009.  The displays were based on places in Suffolk. The lighthouse in the font, representing Southwold, shown above, was quite spectacular!  Woodbridge was also very inventive with its reference to the Sutton Hoo Treasure:

My favourite display however was that representing Aldeburgh:
Finally I arrived at Acton Church just in time to take in this year’s art show.  As usual the range of paintings on display was impressive.  I was a little concerned that the show appeared to be hung by theme rather than by artist, which is an interesting approach, but, possibly, a rather confusing one for the visitor.   On balance I prefer to look at one artist’s efforts at a time, but I know that this is a matter of taste.  The show, which has been on for two weeks now, closes at 5 p.m. today.

Art in Acton Church

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

More convenient parking arrangements announced

Car park users in Sudbury and Hadleigh will be able to use long-stay car parking spaces for up to 72 hours from next week.

Permit holders will also be able to use any of the three long stay car parks instead of having to nominate just one.

The changes are being  implemented after Officers at Babergh carried out a review of the way in which long-stay car parking spaces were being used since the implementation of charges for staying more than three hours in its Sudbury and Hadleigh car parks began last October.

I hope that people will notice that we have listened to suggestions and taken notice! 

As an afterthought,  I have to say I find the comment in the Free Press this Thursday that Babergh has made a 'U Turn' on this issue quite ridiculous.   The council has always committed itself to reviewing and making changes to the parking scheme if obvious improvements can be made.  Hardly a 'U Turn'  I think.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Should we plan for high growth in Babergh?

We had quite an eventful Council Meeting this morning.  The main purpose of the meeting was to approve the Core Strategy of the Babergh Development Framework for consultation.  The Core Strategy is the document which sets out the strategic parameters that will drive planning policy over the next 20 years.  The creation of a planning framework for the District is probably the single most important thing that we do as a council in my view.

Although there was little point in debating the contents of the paper in detail prior to hearing the views of Babergh residents, a number of us took the opportunity to flag up parts of the Framework that may give us reasons to object to the proposals in the future.

I expressed my concern that the framework as currently formulated seems to prioritise the demands of economic growth over and about concern about the environment, both built and natural, and social factors.  This I think is misguided. The three components, economic growth, environmental concerns and people, should be equally weighted when considering planning applications.

To emphasis jobs growth over other factors in an area which as relatively low unemployment and which has one of the most high quality of life scores in the country seems to me to be a recipe for wealth destruction rather than economic wellbeing....golden geese and eggs come to mind.

We shall see what the public has to say about the issue.

Are we worth it?

Some of you may have heard Tony Bavington, who is the leader of the three strong Labour Group at Babergh, on the radio this morning, promoting his Party's proposal that would require councillors at Babergh to take a 28 percent pay cut over three years.  The funds raised, he suggested, might be added to our community grants programme.

I voted against the idea, along with all but five of the thirty five or so councillors present.  Since the Labour group clearly courted the press ahead of the meeting to make sure that their plans did not go unnoticed, one has to conclude that it was what it looked like: an orchestrated political gesture.

Prior to the introduction of allowances (by a Labour Government) District councillors gave their time for free, only claiming out of pocket expenses.  This was changed because as things stood only the well off and relatively elderly, or those supported by Trade Unions, could afford to stand.  It is certainly the case that the average age of councillors has declined somewhat since that time.  It is also true however that young people still find it hard to take time off work.   However, the main difference that allowances have made, I think, is that more self-employed people now stand for office, and the experience that they bring to the council is very valuable.

The level of allowances is reviewed by an independent board from time to time.  At Babergh the last review was held in 2008 and another review is likely to happen within the next year.    Although it is almost certain that the board will recommend a rise given the rate of inflation, it is quite possible  that councillors will choose to forego any increase at a time when we are asking residents and staff to make sacrifices.

The remuneration received is hardly munificent in any event.  We are not in Member of Parliament territory here!   One member today worked out that he gets paid about £1.50 an hour for his efforts.  I had done the same sum and come up with a similar result.

Any of us can choose to waive our allowances, or out of pocket expenses, if we wish and some do without making any song and dance about it.  Many use some of the money to make donations to charity or other good causes of our choice.   I personally regard the money in part as compensation for my husband, Nick, who is often marooned at home without our car, and who puts up with a good deal of ‘civic activity’ uncomplainingly.

Quite frankly however, I do not feel councillors need to spend a lot of time justifying their value to the community.   As they say in the ads:   I think we’re worth it!  But do you?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Budget Challenge

Throughout September Babergh is asking Parish Councils to help the council to set its budget for the year to March 2013.  Councillors will be asked, among other things, what services are of most importance to them, and also for ideas about how we could deliver services differently/more efficiently.

The exercise is necessary because, even though significant cost savings will be achieved by the integration of many of our services with those of Mid Suffolk District Council, there is still some way to go in balancing the books.

This is due to the fact that our Government grant is being cut by something like 26% over the next two years.  In addition inflation is running at a relatively high level at present.

Frank Lawrenson and I will be giving a short presentation to Parish Councils in September which it is hoped will give them information to help them to help us!

Frank will be at Great Waldingfield Parish Council Meeting on 12th September and at Little Waldingfield on 20th September.  I will be at Chilton on Tuesday 6th September and at Acton on 12th September.

Members of the public are welcome to all Parish Council meetings, so come along if you want to know more, or to have your say.

Strange Creatures revealed

Dog Woman revealed......
Rarely-open St Mary's Church, Chilton, is staging a two-day exhibition over National Heritage Weekend.(10th /11th). It commemorates the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first stage of a Victorian restoration that gave the interior a pseudo medieval look.

 But genuine 15th century gems survived including a tiny wood carving near the reading desk. It appears to be the head of a woman wearing a wimple of folded linen. But recent closer examination revealed that the face has a dog's jaw with an extended tongue.

The exhibition also puts the spotlight on three other strange creatures in the church as well as telling other Chilton stories including how the church silver vanished to  Wales, the Iron Age neighbours in Church Field Road and how the art of recycling has beautified the church. One of the many photographs featured will be a German Luftwaffe spy plane view of Chilton and its church in 1940.

St Mary's will be open on Saturday (10th) from 9am to 5pm and on Sunday from 10am to 2.15 pm. This is followed by the harvest festival at 3pm. After the weekend, the exhibition will transfer to St Gregory's Church, Sudbury, for a week. 

Thanks to Val Herbert for contributing this article.

Revamped Fire Station revealed

 It was a beautiful morning on Thursday for the opening of Sudbury’s newly refurbished Fire Station.
A lot of people from the local community, including County, District, Town and local Parish councillors, turned out to see Colin Spence, who is the Portfolio Holder for Public Safety at Suffolk County Council, unveil the plaque.
It was a special day for Sudbury and also for Colin.  On exactly the same day, some years ago now, Colin was born in a house which stood very close to where the fire station stands today.

Unveiling the plaque with Andy Fry, Chief Fire Officer and Tony Platt, Mayor of Sudbury.
The refurbishment of the fire station, which is now 'state of the art', was planned in more prosperous times.  Today, in the age of austerity, it is unlikely that such a large investment would have been possible.

Included in the refurbishment is a community room which can be booked by local groups free of charge.

Helmets and other kit in the new station