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, August 30, 2013

Agricultural hazards

On two occasions in the past few days I have been almost driven off the road by vast agricultural vehicles.  One evening on the way back from Sudbury, I met a giant grey tractor head on.  It was going much too fast around a bend on the single track road that leads from the Melford Bypass to Newmans Green.  Then, this morning in Monks Eleigh, a tractor and trailer were travelling at enormous speed through the village driving me up onto the pavement.  I couldn't help wondering if it was the same farmer who ploughed through a resident's fence close to the same spot,  a few weeks ago.

At harvest time it is inevitable that farmers will be out and about more on the roads, and living in a rural area we must expect them to be going about their business.  However, there is no excuse for bad driving, and  I do really worry about the enormous size, not just of the combine harvesters, but, increasingly, the giant tractors that loom up out of the gloom in the early evening, lights blazing, bringing down overhanging branches and generally terrorising innocent motorists.

I read on the Rural Services Network website that in Cheshire 23 people have been injured in incidents involving agricultural vehicles in the last year.  In addition detailed studies by the Department of Transport have shown that fatal accidents are four times more likely on rural roads than on urban roads.  This is a shocking statistic but not surprising.

I have long felt that it would not be a bad idea to have a 40 mph speed limit on all rural roads, and at this time of the year I feel more convinced that this would be right.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Flora, fauna and a new look for Gainsborough's House.

Continuing at Gainsborough’s House until October is an exhibition of the works of another artist with Sudbury connections, Mark Catesby (1682/1749)

A student of Natural History, Catesby, having been brought up on the Suffolk/Essex border, travelled widely in North America and produced a collection of wonderful images of flora and fauna.   

Many of these are now owned by Her Majesty the Queen and are normally kept at Windsor Castle.  Following a tradition of royal benevolence to Gainsborough’s House, the Queen has been kind enough to lend 27 images for the exhibition.

If you do go along to see the Catesbys you will find that Gainsborough’s House itself has recently been much altered. The new Director, Mark Bills, has spent a good deal of time since his arrival looking in the storerooms and has found a good number of additional exhibits to put on display.  This means that there is a lot more to see on the walls in the House these days.

The exhibition, Catesby: Watercolours from the Royal Collection continues at Gainsborough's House until October 12th.  The Museum is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

New Bus Timetable

The timetables for Suffolk Buses will be changing in September.

To download the new timetables click on the appropriate month here.

Since timetables change quite regularly bus users are advised to check this page from time to time to make sure that all is running as you expect!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Free Trees for Community Groups

The Woodland Trust is offering community groups, youth groups and schools the chance to apply for packs of free trees for delivery in November 2013. They are accepting applications until 13th September and even if you have previously requested a pack, you can request extra packs up to a maximum of 420 saplings.
The packs come in three sizes – 30 saplings, 105 saplings and 420 saplings in various themes (hedge, copse, wildlife, wild harvest, year-round colour, future firewood and wetland).
Early application is recommended as if the supply is oversubscribed the offer will have to close before 13th September.
For more information and to apply online, please go to www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/communitytrees

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chilton...something stirring in the Woods.

In yesterday's EADT there was an article that made it clear that, after a long period of silence, there is some activity underway with regard to getting the giant Chilton Woods development off the ground.

A Steering Board has been formed by the County Council to try to move things on, and there are signs that the Place Shaping activities that included local community representatives, may revive in the Autumn.  There is no sign of an interested developer as yet however, although signs of activity in the housing market and the economy generally may mean that the opportunity to take on the site becomes more attractive.

We don't know yet what changes, forced through to make the plan palatable to the Planning Inspector earlier this year, will mean from the perspective of  preserving the original vision of the scheme as a complete community surrounded by green space, with excellent community facilities.  I and others will certainly be fighting hard to retain these aspects of the scheme, not just for the sake of the new residents, but also for existing residents of Sudbury and the surrounding villages.

The longer we wait however, the better the actual housing may be.  Environmental standards are likely to improve over time, ensuring that the homes will be more energy efficient.  In addition, Eric Pickles, who does get some things right, has said he will ensure that in future new homes have somewhere to put the constantly proliferating number of refuse bins.  This means that Chilton Woods should be free of the bin blight that affects to many new estates.  Finally there is AT LAST a move to make homes a decent size.  Communities Minister, Dan Foster, has today announced Government plans to abolish 'rabbit hutch estates'.

Apparently homes in the UK have halved in size over the past 80 years and new rules will seek to reverse this trend.  However, there is also a commitment to 'slash red tape' by abolishing some housing standards.  Let's hope that the larger houses actually don't fall down due to a new opportunity for builders to cut corners.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Newhaven Fort

We have just returned from our annual trip to Sussex.  We were reasonably lucky with the weather and as usual went for spectacular walks on the downs and enjoyed different shopping opportunities.

We spent an interesting afternoon at Newhaven Fort, which was built in the middle of the 19th Century…..too late for Napoleon, and, in the event, the anticipated invasion which it was intended to see off, never took place.  The Fort was used in both World Wars and, in addition to a warren of passageways and chambers for storing gunpowder, it has interesting displays about the military history of the South Coast.   

Its best feature however is the opportunity to walk along the defences and see the wonderful views up and down the coast.

Dogs are allowed (well behaved and on leads) and the visit was enjoyed by all.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Whose trees and bushes?

Following a few days away in Sussex, I have spent this morning looking at overgrown hedges in the heart of the Division.  It seems that farmers can’t get their combines along the road in question and are very cross about it!

It is normally the landowner living adjacent to the highway who is responsible for keeping it clear of overhanging bushes and trees.  Generally I find that where there is a problem and people do not want to confront the land owner directly,  a reasonable remedy is for the Parish Clerk to send a polite letter asking for action, followed by something stiffer from Highways if necessary.

The problem I was looking at today is rather knotty.  It is by no means clear who actually owns the land on which the offending trees and bushes are growing.  The verge in question is separated from adjacent fields to the south by a quite substantial stream.   We know who owns the land to the south of the stream, but who is responsible for the rather abundant foliage growing on the strip of land between the stream and the highway?   I have written to the long suffering officer for Babergh Highways at the council for guidance.  If I don’t receive any, or he doesn’t think the land is the responsibility of SCC, I fear that this will be a problem that crops up every summer.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Exam results - where next?

On the day that young people get their A level results it is probably timely to bring readers’ attention to apprenticeship opportunities in Suffolk.

Teams from the County Council will be visiting schools to draw this option to the attention of those students who may decide that doing a full time degree course at university is not the right next step for them.  (Some apprenticeships can lead to degree level qualifications however.)

If you know a young person who might wish to follow this route into employment you can learn more about Suffolk apprenticeships, and a wealth of other information,  on this useful site