Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year

Normal service will be resumed in Jan 2013 with my regular blog postings but in the meantime I would just like to wish all residents of Ipswich, my readers and followers a Very Happy New Year.

Please follow me on twitter @stokeparkcllr or send me an e-mail
if you wish me to look into anything. To have any influence on what goes on in your community starting with your local councillor is a good first contact point.



Monday, 17 December 2012

Results of the Windfarm Survey by Ben Gummer MP and Councillor Cenci

Following consultation and a written survey for affected residents of Stoke Park and Sprites Wards in Ipswich, I can confirm that the following information shows results from those returned (11%). The full results will be printed and made public shortly.

In the meantime here is a summary and feel free to add your own thoughts and comments in the space provided at the end of this post. It’s not too late to have your say on the same questions we asked our residents as I will continue to collate this information to pass onto Ben Gummer MP.

Support the building of wind turbines between Belstead and Pinewood. 

92 % are opposed.  8% are for it 

Visibility from their house. 

81% are concerned. 

Greater use of non-renewable energy. 
 70 per cent of people were in favour of greater use.
The expansion of onshore wind farms in general. 

Overall, 90 per cent of respondents were against

Noise levels
86 %  were worried by potential noise levels. 
85 % are concerned by the effect of flicker. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Time to Protect the Officials not just Highly Paid Footballers

This morning I heard one of the most devastating, sad, completely unfathomable news regarding the beating to death of a linesman in Holland by players of a team he was helping to officiate.

I felt physically sick to hear that this official had offered to run the line for his son's team, which, by logical conclusion, meant that this sickening scene must have been witnessed by at least one member of his family. I am angry, I am gutted and I just cannot stop thinking about all the people involved in something that should have been about fun and entertainment. Something to help young boys aspire, compete and succeed.

Doesn't this put some of the things that pampered footballers have been moaning about into perspective? Not only have the lives of his family been completely shattered by this brutal act but the parents of the 15-16 year olds who must now live with the fact that their sons will probably be going to prison for life, must also be in tatters. Ruined lives over what - a game? A chance of scoring? One decision that saw adrenalin soar to pack level. It's heartbreaking.

This incident was in a European country that I regard as one of the most well balanced, intelligent, charming of all countries. Dutch people are my favourites when it comes to showing calm, articulation and a level head. How could this happen? What does this mean? I hope this is a one off incident and until we know more it's difficult to know what it says about the game of football, a sport that I love with a passion. But what I do know, with my own eyes, is that a lack of respect for the referees and assistants has reached an unacceptable level.

The recent Chelsea incident regarding Mark Clattenburg shows that we are in danger of taking a huge step backwards (as John Barnes also stated) if we don't get back the whole issue of respect for officials as a priority. Clattenburg was an innocent man who, not only was wrongly accused of making a racist comment but was also on the receiving end of some verbal abuse during that same game. I know this because I can lip read, as can many other people and I honestly don't think I've watched one game yet, this season, where I haven't seen the F word or worse being thrown at one of the officials.

This has to stop. A passing curse under the breath through frustration is not the problem. The problem is when some footballers think they can go into the face of the linesmen and the referee, invade their space and aggressively shout abuse. There is no doubt in my mind that this behaviour not only winds up other players in the team but also the fans who are watching. I believe a red card should be shown as an example to everyone playing or watching that this is just not acceptable. The referee needs to set his boundaries at the beginning of the game - his word is final and a grown up needs to accept that.

When footballers are being paid telephone numbers and a referee is being paid a pittance in comparison, we need to all stand up and be counted on this.

And that means the fans too. A little bit of banter is fine but shouting abuse at the referee and linesmen when they are trying their best to do a job is not something I like to hear or see, ever.

And footballers - Just remember that the signs around the stadium and the bands on your arms that spell RESPECT are not just meant for you.

I'm not sure I can bear to read about this tragedy but my thoughts and prayers are with the family and the football club, through this most  traumatic time.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Ben gummer - On Leveson

Leveson Larks by Ben Gummer MP

I am writing this in the library of the House of Commons - a beautiful, book-lined and panelled room with mahogany tables and green leather chairs. Behind me are a sextet of low-slung armchairs which are impossible to sit in without falling asleep - which is precisely what you'll find some older members doing after dinner. It's all rather disconnected, other-worldly - as is the character, at times, of this place.

Last night I took a tour of constituents from Rushmere around the Palace of Westminster. Explaining the history of the place and what goes on here refreshes my feeling of great privilege at being able to work in such beautiful buildings where so much of importance and interest has taken place. And I explained how the hubbub can be captivating - the gossip, the intrigue, the high politics and low scandal of the place.

It is a privilege but it is also a danger. People get sucked in here and do not emerge. They see the world increasingly as they imagine it, or imagine it should be, or would like to imagine it, rather than actually how it is. And that comes to shape their priorities, which become as is inevitable to be more self-centred and self-obsessed.

And with that, I will go into the chamber to hear the prime minister give his statement on Lord Justice Leveson's Inquiry. When I get back, this rather odd preamble will be explained...

... it's an hour and a half later and I'm back at my Gothic desk. The House is contorting itself over the rights and wrongs of governing the lords of print.

I am bemused by much of this. Other than the powerful testimony of the Dowlers and other victims of press intrusion, the evidence session of Lord Leveson's was a farrago of moaning celebrities, point-scoring politicians and self-righteous hacks. Very quickly, the rest of the country turned away. They had other things - more important things - to think about. Not that that was reflected in the press, who continued to obsess over who said what, which allegation had been made by whom, and what all of this meant for freedom of thought and speech.

It exposed what is most ridiculous about modern Westminster. It is not the old rituals, the history, the invention of tradition, the flummery, the green leather and the mahogany desks. Done properly, these add dignity to your democracy, for which people have fought and died.

It is not these things that make politicians and pressmen distant - it is the entirely human and understandable tendency of some in any community to get so involved in their own affairs that they forget the context in which they work - the reason why we are sent here, what we are supposed to do, and the degree of proportion we are charged to exercise.

The circus that surrounded Lord Leveson's report - it's production and its publication - exposed this fault fully. Of course there are serious points at issue here: but look at his conclusions. Aside from his central recommendations on press regulation, his findings on the some of the other big arguments that have consumed months of airtime and miles of newsprint is that there was essentially not much of a story to report. In short, a whole load of people in Westminster - press and politicians - worked themselves into a tizz and then expended many months and much energy arguing about it.

Meanwhile, most people continued to think about their child's school, their career, if and when they could next go on holiday, the size of the gas bill, the failure of their football team, falling in love, dealing with grief.

No wonder newspaper sales are falling and fewer and fewer people turn out to vote.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Response by PfR re Thorington Wind Turbines

PfR have asked that I show their response to residents concerns as per my previous posts. I am happy to do that as I think it is only fair to see all sides.
Please feel free to add your own comments after this piece in the area shown or contact me direct.
Also please remember there is a meeting tonight Wed 28th November 2012 at Belstead village 7.30pm with the developers. See you there!

Dear Mr and Mrs Daynes, 

Thank you for your email. We have addressed your comments and concerns in detail below, however, we would be happy to discuss the predicted effects with you in due course when we have a final design and can undertake the detailed assessment. At that point we will also be scheduling some community surgeries locally which we hope you will be able to attend, these will be advertised both on our website and in the local press.

I would like to reassure you that we completely understand your concerns and that as a responsible developer we will be fully addressing issues such as noise and shadow flicker as part of our environmental impact assessment (EIA) prior to submission of any planning application for the project. An EIA is the process by which assessments of all the varying receptors are assessed for significant impacts, for example birds and other wildlife, levels of noise, shadow flicker, archaeology, landscape and visual effects etc. 
In addition, as with any new development, the Local Planning Authority (Babergh District Council) has a duty to ensure that the proposal does not have an unacceptable effect on the living conditions of local residents. It is absolutely standard for any successfully consented planning application to have various planning conditions attached to protect the interests of the local community, covering both noise and shadow flicker. 

Shadow Flicker
As part of our EIA, we routinely assess the potential for "shadow flicker" effects. Shadow flicker is when the shadow of the rotating turbine blades is cast onto a building, or a given location, and viewed through a narrow gap such as a window. Shadow effects outside buildings are far less noticeable compared to those seen inside through a window, due to the higher levels of ambient light outside.
We can predict the potential for shadow flicker because it requires a combination of predictable conditions to coincide for it to take place. The occurrence of shadow flicker is dependent on the time of day, location of the sun in the sky and how clear or cloudy the sky is. The orientation of nearby residential properties and their windows are then assessed and an assessment is made of all the days and times when shadow flicker could occur at each location.  

The calculation of the potential shadow flicker at is carried out as follows. The position of the sun relative to the turbines and the resulting shadow they would cast is calculated in steps of 1 minute throughout the year. If the shadows of the turbine rotors at any time casts a shadow on any window (or solar panel), then this will be recorded as 1 minute of potential shadow impact.

The following information is used: 
.             The position of the turbines (x, y, z coordinates) 
.             The hub height and rotor diameter of the turbines 
.             The position of the house or shadow receptor (x, y, z coordinates) 
.             The size of the windows (and solar panels in this case), their orientation, both direction and tilt (angle to the horizontal). 
.             The geographic position (latitude and longitude) together with time zone and daylight saving time information. 
.             A simulation model of the sun's position in the sky

It is important to make clear that these simulations are worst-case scenarios (i.e. calculations which are solely based on the positions of the sun relative to the turbine and the window). If the weather is overcast (reducing shadows) or calm (i.e. the turbines are not rotating), or if the wind direction forces the rotor plane of the wind turbine to stand side-on to the window, the turbine will not produce a shadow although the impact will still be assumed to occur in the simulation.  
A calendar can be produced for any specific point of observation, which indicates the exact days, and time periods throughout the year where shadow impact may occur.
As we do not yet have the final positions for the turbines, only a preliminary assessment has been completed to date. The final assessment will be undertaken during the EIA process and the results will be included in the planning application. 
We will ensure that any potential wind turbine development at the Thorington Barn site is designed to avoid any reduction of residential amenity through shadow flicker, including the use of mitigation measures if needed which can avoid shadow flicker occurrence completely. The predictability and infrequency makes shadow flicker a very manageable problem; effects can be curtailed by many mitigation measures for example creating screening features or programming the turbines to cease operation for the short time during which dwellings are affected.
Importantly, at distances beyond about 1km (10 rotor diameters) from the turbines, the effect of shadows will be very limited indeed, due to the distance over which the shadow is cast. This is widely agreed as the limit of potential for shadow flicker effects inside a building (as stated above, shadow effects being more noticeable inside buildings with a window than outside), and outside where the light levels are higher shadow effects would be barely noticeable.

Well-designed and well-sited modern wind turbines can be quiet enough to cause no disturbance to people living only a few hundred metres away from them. There are also strict environmental health guidelines and noise limits set out in Government guidelines ('The Assessment and Rating of Noise from Wind Farms' 1996, DTI, ETSU, recently supplemented by additional guidance and confirmed by the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBERR) more recently (2007), to be the guidance that Local Planning Authorities should continue to use) and the development will need to operate within these to gain consent.

We have carried out a detailed background noise survey to inform our design and to ensure that any future proposal for the Thorington Barn site minimises any potential noise effects for local residents and complies with the strict noise limits, which would be enforceable by planning conditions if we were to obtain planning permission.
In order to accurately gain an understanding of any potential noise effects, we undertook a detailed background noise survey using noise monitoring equipment placed at various nearby houses, following consultation with the local Environmental Health Officer. We monitored the background noise levels for 24 hours a day for two to five weeks (in excess of the required survey period, in order to obtain a robust dataset). By correlating this background noise data with the predicted noise levels of the proposed wind turbines at various wind speeds, we are able to gain an accurate understanding of the potential noise associated with the turbines.

The results recorded a relatively high background noise regime at each property so we are fully confident that the noise emitted by the turbines would be well within the acceptable noise limits set out in the noise guidelines. For most of the time the noise levels from the turbines are likely to be similar to or lower than existing background noise levels. Once we have finalised our design we will update the noise assessment and confirm that the proposal will indeed meet the noise guidelines. The data and the results of these studies will be included in the environmental statement and will be assessed by the planning officer and the Environmental Health Officer. 

Turbine Locations
There will be a maximum of to turbines on the site. There are three locations shown on diagrams as we have yet to define the exact locations and we have been assessing many potential designs. However, only two locations will be selected for the final design.

Once a layout for the site has been selected, photomontages will be created. These will be put onto the website and also be displayed at public exhibitions and community surgeries.

House Values
There is no strong evidence that confirms that the presence of wind turbines has a long term impact on nearby house prices. A report by RICS in 2007  stated that "proximity to a wind farm was simply not an issue". ( A temporary negative impact on property prices can sometimes occur when a wind farm is in planning and construction based upon anticipated negative impact of the turbines, but this quickly readjusts when these anticipated negative impacts fail to materialise.
Finally, if you wish to read  some additional information can I suggest a review of the following document (  I look forward to the opportunity to speak with you at the upcoming consultation events (TBC).

I do hope this address all the points made in your email. However, we are happy to discuss the predicted effects with you when we have a final design. Please do feel free to give me a call if you have any further questions or queries.
Kind regards
Alice Gill
Communications Manager
Partnerships for Renewables Development Company Limited
Station House, 12 Melcombe Place, London NW1 6JJ 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A residents reply to PfR and Thorington Windfarm proposal

Here is an e-mail I received from a resident who will be much affected by the new proposal, with kind permission from them to show it on my blog. I felt it succinctly conveyed the feelings of most of us, from the communications I have been receiving from residents in my ward, Stoke Park.
I have not edited it and have shown the letter in full.

We attended the South West area committee meeting of Ipswich Borough Council (IBC) on 7th November at Suffolk New Academy.

It was at the invitation of a SIT (Stop Ipswich Turbines) Action Group that IBC agreed to invite both SIT and yourselves to speak at this meeting and put both sides of the argument for the erection of 2 wind turbines at Thorington Barn overlooking Belstead Village, Pinewood, Thorington Park and Stoke Park. The land is owned by IBC but any planning application would go to Babergh Disctrict Council (BDC).

SIT made their statement and you (PfR) responded.

With regard to your responses we would comment as follows:-

Noise disturbance to residents

1. Your representative said the area already had a high level of noise both from the A14 and other background noise. This made it sound to us that this justified your company imposing more noise on residents in the area. No mention was made of what “other background noise” you were referring to.

It was pointed out by SIT that the poor road surface on the A14 was a contributory factor to the high level of noise you are recording and that the Highways Authority were hoping to deal with this shortly. Will you be re-assessing the noise levels once this has been done?

Mention was made of the wind turbines being quiet under “normal circumstances”. What do you class as “normal circumstances”?

2. SIT referred to the problems Kessingland were having with noise from the 2 wind turbines erected there. Your response was that the problems with noise they were experiencing were different and that it would not happen at the Thorington Barn site! Surely noise is noise and if you cannot guarantee your turbines will be noise free, we will take it from the residents of Kessingland that we will experience the sort of disturbance to our lives they are experiencing as a direct result of the erection of these turbines.

1. Your response to the problem of flicker disturbance to residents was dubious to say the least. It was said it would only affect houses. Unfortunately SIT have evidence that it does in fact also affect ground level, including road surfaces. This could have a devastating effect on traffic along the A14.

2. You were unable to tell us how many people would be affected by possible flicker and mentioned the worst consequences of flicker could be mitigated during the design process. You seem to have missed the point entirely. These residents are not affected by any flicker at the moment and you are proposing to inflict this on them with this proposal. Also, your response did not mention the affect the flicker will have on anyone who has epilepsy. What will the consequences be on their quality of life if they are affected?

Visual effect on the countryside

Your representative did not respond to the visual effect on the countryside raised by SIT.

The area for the proposed wind turbine site is used by many from both Belstead Ipswich and other surrounding areas for walking, bird watching and other recreational activities and the noise/flicker generated by the turbines would destroy this pleasure.

No mention was made of the visual effect of the wind turbines in Belstead village. All residents will see the turbines but most will be within 500 – 800 metres from them. When they walk outside their front doors they will be towering above them.

As mentioned by SIT the law is outdated as to how far away from residential properties the turbines are allowed to be but surely you have a MORAL obligation to people not to put them so close to residential properties. Scotland have an advisory limit of 2km away from residential properties and even this isn’t enough in some cases.

How many people would be affected by the Wind Turbines within 2 km radius?

It appears you had no idea of the people/properties who could be affected by the erection of these wind turbines within a radius of 2 km but you did know on a clear day they could be seen 30 km (18 miles) away! This implies to us that not a lot of consideration is given to residents who may be affected. Certainly you are failing miserably to “consult” with residents in Belstead, Pinewood, Thorington Park and Stoke Park.

Figures quoted for energy production

Your representative quoted the figures these wind turbines would produce when “at full capacity”. As everyone knows, these turbines NEVER run “at full capacity” so the figures are completely irrelevant.

One questioner asked if residents affected by your proposal would get cheaper electricity and again the response “no”.

Applying for and the grant of Planning Consent

The most shocking part of the evening came when your representative explained you would be applying for planning consent from Babergh District Council for the erection of the 2 wind turbines WITHOUT specifying the exact size and type of turbine which would eventually be erected and BDC would grant planning consent on this basis. This cannot be right! If we or any other member of the public applied for planning for an extension on our properties and did not give precise details of the materials to be used etc, there is no way BDC would grant us planning consent.

2 – 3 Wind Turbines at Thorington Barn?

Your representative said you were looking at putting a “maximum” of 2 wind turbines on the site so why are they handing out leaflets clearly showing 3 locations on the map?

Distance from residential properties

Your representative did not mention that the proposed wind turbines would be only 500 metres away from residential properties. When I asked another of your representatives how she would feel if she lived so close to them she replied that she lived near a power station, as if that was a good enough reason for the turbines to be inflicted on us! Perhaps she had the choice BEFORE she moved to her present property and was able to make an informed decision, unlike us!


You mentioned on several occasions the question of “consultation” with those affected. Well, as mentioned above you are falling well short of your obligations to residents who will
be affected if this proposal goes ahead. It appears to us that your first obligations are to your shareholders and not to those whose lives will be ruined by this proposal.

Had it not been for the formation of the SIT Action Group most of us would not have realised the significance of your proposal and we suspect had it not been for the formation of this group we would not have heard from you until it was too late.

Lease Agreement

Well, here again there appears to be some problem with IBC or yourselves letting anyone have a copy of this illusive agreement so residents of Ipswich can consider its implications. Unfortunately IBC decided to play the “political card” and opt out of responsibility for the grant of the lease as if there was nothing they could do to stop any application if their residents asked them to.

It was clear to us that IBC had let down their residents in the first place by agreeing to grant the lease to PfR without proper consultation with those residents would be affected by such a monumental proposal. Once in place, the residents will have to put up with them for 25 YEARS - this will be for the rest of our lives)! Surely this was enough to make the Council think twice and write personally to everyone concerned.


In general, we felt that we did not gain much from your representatives being at the meeting because most of the responses given were “they could not give a definite response yet”! Well, when will you give us definite responses to ALL our concerns?

We, along with many other people we have spoken to, did not have any objection to the erection of wind turbines until this proposal came along in the naive, mistaken belief that your company and others like you would not consider erecting massive wind turbines so close to residential properties. These kind of proposals will prove your undoing when more and more people realise the devastating effects they will have on their everyday lives.

Make no mistake about it, we in Belstead Village and other members of the action group SIT are determined to fight to stop BDC granting planning consent for your proposal. If you are in any doubt about the strength of feeling against your proposal then drive through the village and come and speak to us individually.

Mr and Mrs Daynes - Belstead village

Monday, 12 November 2012

Vote for Tim Passmore - Here's his Manifesto

This is the last week in which to make up your mind over who to vote for in the PCC elections this Thursday. I have been walking the streets many times to deliver leaflets with Tim Passmore, our Tory candidate for Suffolk and have been impressed with his positivity, hard work, articulate replies to questions by residents and his knowledge about problems in both Suffolk and Ipswich.

Below is his manifesto, which you can also get from his website

Vote for Tim - He really will serve us all well in the new role and will have the respect of the police, residents, colleagues and all relevant partners.

Manifesto for Suffolk
Police and Crime

In my view the position of Police and Crime Commissioner is all about cutting crime in Suffolk and making our county even safer. For the first time since the police service was formed by politician Robert Peel in 1829 there will be direct democratic accountability for an annual budget of £125 million of our money. The role is not about political interference with operational policing matters, it is about creating the best possible environment to support an effective and efficient police service to meet the needs of people in Suffolk.

Like other public services police are facing cuts in funding due to the parlous state of the nation’s finances. The country cannot continue living beyond its means. We will therefore have to find innovative and practical solutions in Suffolk to reduce crime and maintain Suffolk’s reputation of providing a good police service at low cost to taxpayers.

If elected to the role of Police and Crime Commissioner I will improve the efficacy and efficiency of Suffolk Police through:-

Greater Visibility of Policing
 I will seek to reduce bureaucracy and ensure more time is made available for front-line officers to do the job they trained to do. Time currently spent supervising criminals and offenders in detention centres, hospitals
and behind desks can be carried out by other staff. I will do everything possible to maintain 1200 officers as
a minimum number.
 I will support Special Constables and PCSO’s as an important component of policing.
Improve respect for Law and Order
 I will work with appropriate organisations to improve parenting.
 I will encourage youth to become positive advocates for law and order and will work with schools, youth
groups, youth parliament and other groups as appropriate.

Robust approach to repeat offenders
 A disproportionate number of offences are committed by recidivist offenders. I will use a ‘carrot and stick’
approach. People deserve a second chance but not a third, fourth, fifth etc. Committed criminals who
steadfastly refuse to reform their lifestyles when able to need to face harsher sentences.
 Each prison place costs the taxpayer £40,000 per year. Offenders with mental health problems, low levels of numeracy and literacy and few work skills need support. We must educate prisoners and use prisons with a purpose as well as community payback schemes.
 I also support work with charity and private sector for placements – Sport, Princes Trust, Local authorities etc.

Victim Support
 I support the use of restorative justice where victims feel it will assist them. I would like to see victims able
to track the progress of crime investigations effectively. I support and respect the work of the voluntary
sector which provides practical support to victims. I believe victims who feel their case is being well dealt
with will have improved confidence in policing.
 I support a proactive approach to crime prevention and applaud the work of groups such as Neighbourhood Watch. Preventing a crime stops a victim being created and potentially saves many thousands of pounds
spent investigating crime, prosecuting and incarcerating an offender.

Drugs and Organised Crime
 I support a continued focus on stamping out drug dealing and organised crime in Suffolk. As demonstrated
by the deaths of five young women in Suffolk in 2006 drug abuse leads to many other crimes and social
decay. Drug abuse and organised crime blight an area and make it less attractive for inward investment and
economic growth.
 I would encourage more education for young people on the devastating personal consequences of drug

Problem Families
 The Home Office has estimated problem families can each cost up to £250,000 per year to manage. This is unacceptable. If elected I will use the Commissioners powers to support agency collaboration, early
intervention, joined up thinking and positive action to prevent and deal effectively with problem families.

Domestic Violence and Abuse
 This is a serious problem in our communities and one which I will not ignore. I will ensure police work with local authorities, health service and charities to exchange data and information to keep the vulnerable safe.

Motoring and Cycling
 I support positive action to stop speeding in our villages. I would like to see more young drivers taking
advanced driving courses. I strongly support the use of technology to purge drivers who avoid tax and
vehicle insurance and fuel duty. I will work other agencies to avoid major congestion on main roads and
improve engineering design.
 We need more modern and safe truck stops on our major roads such as the A14 and A12 to improve security
and well- being for the haulage and logistics industry
 By working with the Highways Agency and Local Authorities we need to improve Suffolk’s cycle network to help improve safety, encourage exercise and help the visitor economy

 In my view policing can support local business more effectively. If elected I will look carefully at where
supplies are sourced. Wherever possible I will support the use of locally sourced products.
 I will ensure police are working effectively with business to reduce crime. Making Suffolk even safer will
improve the developing visitor economy.
 I will continue to hold regular business forums to hear concerns and share solutions to business policing
 If elected I would like to see the development of a proper apprenticeship scheme in the police service to
provide employment opportunities for our young people
Rural, Wildlife and Marine Crime
 Ensuring more visible frontline policing, reducing bureaucracy and improving the use of technology should
improve police response times in remote areas. I support the use of target hardening by land owners,
farmers and boat owners and the use of Farm and Marine Watch to prevent and detect rural and marine

 If elected I will do everything possible to ensure there is no tax rise next year by accepting the government’s
precept freeze grant.

Saving Money and Increasing Income
 We need to make better use of the resources available to us. If elected I will reduce costs by cutting
unnecessary duplication. Currently Suffolk spends more than £5 billion every year in the public sector. The
public service owns more than 2500 properties here. I would like to see deeper co-operation between Local
Authorities, CPS, Youth Offending, Health, Probation Service etc. to make more effective use of public assets.
 I would like to see zero based budgeting to coincide with comprehensive spending review (CSR) settlements. I will listen to ideas from the workforce for saving money. I will ensure the best use is made of technology – reports, evidence, DNA, video, I-pads etc. I will need to see proper business plans for all commissioned contracts /areas of work.
 If elected I will ensure the best possible use is made of the Community Infra-structure Levy (CIL) , Tax
Increment Financing (TIF), government and EU grants individually or through partnership working.
Fair share of national resources for Suffolk
 I will ensure that Suffolk has the central government/private funding to meet the demands made on policing
by the national resources sited here. Strategic national assets such as Sizewell, Felixstowe Dock, Orbis
energy, Newmarket racecourse and Wattisham Airbase create policing pressures and it is only right that
Suffolk is properly subsidised for these costs.

Management and Morale
 Suffolk Police have undergone significant change over the last ten years. To improve morale I want to create a stable environment for the members of Suffolk Constabulary.
 Generally I believe in a balanced scorecard approach to management – less hierarchy but more autonomy,
responsibility and accountability to and by staff.

 The Police and Crime Commissioner will be directly accountable to the voters in Suffolk. If elected I intend to
remain accessible and accountable to members of the public who will be able to contact me direct.
 More formally I will hold quarterly ‘Meet the Commissioner’ meetings in each constituency with
representatives of interested community groups. I will do the same for Police Federation and Police staff as
 I will host business forums on a quarterly basis. Businesses pay large sums of money through the Uniform
Business Rate and have no direct influence on how the money is spent. I am committed to ensuring the
business community has a prominent influence in fighting crime in Suffolk.
 I will develop a communication strategy to make effective use of technology to deliver an effective channel
for hearing from, and communicating with, people in Suffolk.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Thorington Wind Turbine Latest and What we Must Do

The SW area committee met last night and top of the agenda was the Thorington Wind Farm debate and presentations from both Peter Evans, a founder of Stop Ipswich Turbines, and the developers PfR.

Ipswich Spy summarised nicely on their website as follows:

Peter Evans, the Co-Chairman of Action Group SIT, told the meeting of the damage wind turbines would do to the lives of those living within the affected area, which SIT estimates is up to 2km. He pointed out that many countries do not allow these turbines to be built within 2km of people’s homes, even in Scotland this is an advisory limit. He raised the spectre of “flicker” which has risks for those who suffer from epilepsy, migraines and even for the general public. And he explained why the noise issue was not one that should be ignored, detailing how the turbines will be more disturbing than the A14.
Susanna Miller, spokeswoman for PfR, responded, explaining to the meeting that PfR were developing their plans for a maximum of two wind turbines for the site. The design was being finalised and PfR hope to hold further consultation events before making an application to Babergh District Council. She told the meeting that the worst consequences of flicker can be mitigated during the design process and that the turbines could well be much quieter than residents expect during normal operation.
The exact location of the turbines within the site has not yet been determined, but PfR committed to informing those residents who were likely to be directly affected by the issue of flicker once they have determined which properties these will be, and advising which mitigating factors are likely to be introduced for them. PfR expect a planning application to be submitted to Babergh DC in the Spring of 2013, and an Environmental Impact Assessment will be published at the same time.

I also challenged PfR regarding the fact they stated that 'New turbines' do not make much noise, because if that's the case then are the wind turbines at Kessingland different from the ones they are planning for this site? When asked, the room filled with gasp noises when they confirmed that they did not need to submit the details of the turbines in their planning application to Babergh, just some general information that gives a good brief on maximum and minimum criteria. They also said that Kessingland had a unique problem with noise (sorry didn't they deny there was any noise here? Or have I remembered it wrong?) and that 'noise' was a 'complicated' subject.  Not sure I understood why it should be so and how they would learn lessons in order for it not to happen here.
Oh, and apparently  the Scottish windfarm blew up when it was very windy!!! That's a bit like saying 'it's Ok, my car blew up because I put too much petrol in it'!

Although i have established that  lease will not be signed with PfR until the plans are passed, what IBC has signed is the option to do so within the next 3 years.
IBC as an authority is also not allowed to be seen to go against the proposals in a public way so that leaves us councillors to try to do something.
What we CAN do;
What the Labour administration could do is ask for an expert barrister's advice on exactly how much we would have to pay out in compensation, if we withdrew the options agreement. Perhaps 5 figures is worth paying the price, as we could find ourselves way down the line paying out more in compensation for negative affects to health etc. I think the Labour administration should look into this straight away and I hereby call on them to do so. I will also ask for this by way of e-mail to the leader of the council David Ellesmere.
Secondly we must now get going in readiness for Babergh planning committee. We need proper recorded measurement of the issues in Kessingland to take as proof and shore up the case for Babergh councillors to refuse PfR planning application.
We must go forward with solutions now, not look at how we came to this point, for it's fair to say that most of the people who were FOR windfarms in principal, are starting to feel a little duped and are finding the information and experiences of the Kessingland residents a real eye opener.
So everyone who will be affected by this must start building up petitions, momentum, facts, figures for the Babergh planning application 
because leaving all that just to the developers is like trusting a spin doctor to give all sides of a story.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Our Trip to Westminster with Ben Gummer MP

Last Wednesday 31 October 2012, I had the pleasure of accompanying my residents in Stoke Park to Westminster, at the invitation of Ben Gummer MP.

Ben is planning on repeating the outing for all his constituents, one ward each month, because he believes that people must be brought closer to Parliament and Westminster.

We left Stoke Park Asda at 3.30pm where nearly 100 booked residents turned up (truly a magnificent response) for the sum of £ 15 just to cover the coach costs.

I had a lovely journey down, as my mother and step father are both Stoke Park residents, so I had the added bonus of being able to enjoy their company too. I was also pleased to note that I knew most of the residents and after 6 years you might think I should but I appreciate that many contact me when they think I need to know something and trust me to get things done in the ward - it was a real pleasure to share some fun with them.

After a pleasant journey we arrived just before 6pm and made our way into the Westminster building by following one of Ben Gummer’s assistants James, and Ben’s campaign manager Olivia. We were welcomed by Ben in the Grand Committee room for a chat before he lead the tours around the building.

Ben was charming, informative, witty and warm. I felt so proud that my residents were enjoying such a treat from one of Ipswich’s finest MPs - my mother was most impressed, a rare thing! Talking about mothers, Ben’s made us some cake, to have with our tea and coffee, as she thought it terrible that we were all going to be refreshed but not fed.  Thanks Mrs Gummer, and panitone is one of my favourites!

We then set off in 3 groups, although some of us did have a bit of a wait, which gave me a chance to speak to some of the residents. However the wait was worth it as we set off first into Westminster Hall. What a gaff!

Built in 1099 for hosting state occasions and to impress, it has the largest surviving single span mediaeval timber roof in Northern Europe. The Hall and the Jewel Tower were the only parts to survive the fire of 1834, the rest had to be rebuilt. It truly is a magnificent hall still used to host important events, some of which are commemorated with plaques set into the floor.

We then went through St Stephens Hall, itself a room full of historical events, into the central lobby, which is at the heart of our democracy. This is where people can exercise their right to lobby and is a public area whilst the house of commons is sitting.

The House of Lords is a sight to behold and I was in awe of the opulence, grandeur and atmosphere of the whole of Westminster. It made me want to be an MP (but that was momentarily. I came to my senses a few hours later).

Make no mistake, being an MP is a lot of hard work, a great deal of responsibility and requires the strength, the dedication, the focus, the commitment and the humour, which Ben has in abundance.

We are very lucky to have him as our MP and I know you will love this trip to Westminster if you take up the unique offer from Ben in due course.

Programmes for Parents - Choices Updates

Please see previous posts about this subject but as it is viewed on a regular basis I thought I would just do a quick summary of contacts and Suffolk's programmes for parenting courses and hubs for support. People to contact are shown at the bottom of this post.

I have attended some of these programmes and they are excellent!

See below for programme descriptions:

Strengthening Families Programme
Oxford Brookes University

An evidence based programme for parents and young people aged between 10 and 14 years.  This is a DVD and activity based programme, which supports families to have a positive outlook as young people approach their teenage years.

Parents aim to improve their nurturing and support skills while considering effective discipline and guidance strategies.  Young people build skills for resisting peer pressure and dealing with stress.  During the sessions the families work together to reflect on the strengths of their family.

This programme has been proved to be effective in preventing alcohol and substance misuse amongst young people.
For further details see

Triple P (Positive Parenting Programme)

This set of interventions was developed at the University of QueenslandAustralia
by Professor Matt Sanders, a clinical psychologist, and is now run worldwide.  
There are a variety of different group and individual programmes varying according to need, 
from universal (information and advice), through to support with common issues in children 
and young people, to group programmes and 1:1 work (both face to face and by phone). 

·         Group Triple P runs for 8 weeks (including 3 weeks where 1:1 phone support is 
substituted for group meetings).
·         Group Triple P Teen runs for 8 weeks (including 3 weeks where 1:1 phone support is 
substituted for group meetings).
·         Primary Care Triple P is a 1:1 intervention tailored to the particular issues the parent 
wants to work on, and supported by professionally designed tip sheets for parents to keep. 
Sessions can be phone-based as well as face-to-face.
·         Seminar Triple P is a series of 3 presentations on raising confident, resilient children, 
which covers issues of interest to a universal audience.   These can be delivered to a large 
group (up to 50), for example in school or the workplace. 
·         Seminar Triple P Teen is a series of 3 presentations on raising connected, competent 
and resilient teenagers, which covers issues of interest to a universal audience.   
These can be delivered to a large group (up to 50), for example in school or the workplace. 

For further details see or contact:

The Incredible Years/Webster Stratton

Created by Caroline Webster Stratton, an American clinical psychologist used and researched for 20 years, this is an early intervention programme for parents of children under 10.  The programme encourages parents to build strong relationships with their children through play and rewarding positive behaviour. It strengthens communication and enables parents/carers to understand the developmental stages of the child. 

After completing the course parents will have a range of tools from which to choose including; effective limit setting, time-out, handling consequences and problem–solving.
This programme is appropriate for all families including those with young people with a diagnosis of ADHD or ODD.
For further details see, or contact Judith Moore, Parenting Coordinator,, tel. 07515 188522

Living with Children/Living with Teenagers

The courses are offered as part of the Suffolk Community Learning Adult Education Programme and are accredited with the Open College Network.  The course is open to any parent or guardian of a child or teenager who would like to develop their skills and knowledge.  Parents can enrol themselves or agencies can make referrals on their behalf.  The course offers parents a chance to develop their skills and learn some new ideas. The course covers understanding children’s needs and parent’s needs, recognising different styles of parenting, developing skills in a positive communication style, listening skills and ways to support children’s self esteem, positive strategies for managing behaviour and setting limits.   Participants will also be able to receive information about other learning opportunities they may wish to go on to.

For further details contact Gill

Caring Dads

Developed in Canada, is an intervention programme for fathers (including biological, step, common-law) who have physically abused, emotionally abused or neglected their children, or exposed their children to domestic violence or who are deemed to be at high-risk for these behaviours. It consists of a 17-week, empirically-based, manualised group parenting intervention for fathers, systematic outreach to mothers to ensure safety and freedom from coercion, and ongoing, collaborative case management of fathers with referrers and with other professionals involved with men’s families. The group component of Caring Dads combines elements of parenting, fathering, battering and child protection practice to enhance the safety and well-being of children. Programme principles emphasize the need to enhance men’s motivation, promote child-centred fathering, address men’s ability to engage in respectful, non-abusive co-parenting with children’s mothers, recognize that children’s experience of trauma will impact the rate of possible change, and work collaboratively with other service providers to ensure that children benefit (and are not unintentionally harmed) as a result of father’s participation in intervention. Run by team of male and female facilitators. See

 Who’s In Charge

Does your child threaten, hurt or intimidate you? Do you feel you are losing control? Want to better handle conflict?
The Who’s in Charge? Group is an 8 week programme for parents or carers of young people (8-18) who are beyond control or defiant.  The group aims to:
Provide a supportive environment to share experiences and ideas
Reduce the guilt and shame most parents feel
Offer ideas to help to develop individual strategies for managing your child’s behaviour
Explore ways of increasing safety and well being
Help parents feel more in control and less stressed.

Suffolk Family Learning

Suffolk Family Learning is part of Community Learning and Skills Development and offers a comprehensive range of programmes for parents, carers and families. We work across the county in partnership with schools, nurseries and other voluntary and statutory organisations.

Being a parent/carer and supporting children's development and learning is one of the most enjoyable and challenging jobs there is. All these programmes give the opportunity to share ideas and experiences with other parents and carers in a friendly atmosphere.

The aims of Family Learning are to:
enhance the skills of the children involved in intensive programmes
enhance the home school partnership
encourage home activities
increase the understanding of the children's curriculum
increase the literacy, language and numeracy skills of the adults
Contact: 01379 672711

Living with Babies Course

Part of Community Learning and Skills Development Family Learning Courses
Parents attend with their babies
Courses are 5 sessions of 2 hours and give parents a chance to share activities with their baby, have a go at making games and activities to do at home.  The course includes an introduction to how babies develop and learn.


Autism Suffolk is an advice/support/information service for families of children who have a diagnosis of ASD.
Please contact Autism Suffolk for details  of times and dates   01473 632700.
Karen Smith
Family Support Worker
Autism Suffolk
Tel 01473 632700

Parents Under Pressure™ is a new 20-week programme for parents who have a child under two and are on an opioid treatment programme or an alcohol abstinence/relapse prevention programme. Parents Under Pressure™ aims to help families with the difficult job of parenting, providing them with the safe and caring support they need. Throughout the programme, NSPCC workers will visit parents in their own home to provide support and guidance on parenting and on maintaining their own emotional wellbeing. For further information, please contact Ipswich Service Centre, NSPCC, Hyde Park House, 1 Crown Street, Ipswich, IP1 3LG. Tel: 01473 234850. Email:

Local Children’s Centres

For programmes in your area contact:    
Ipswich Senior Parenting Practitioner - Ipswich Borough Council 07921 941 620
Suffolk County Parenting Co-ordinater - Suffolk County Council 07515 188522
Ipswich & Coastal  Area Parenting Co-ordinater -     Suffolk County Council 07540 671191                    
South & West Suffolk  Area Parenting Co-ordinater - Suffolk County Council 07540 671192
North, Waveney and Central Suffolk  County Parenting Co-ordinater - Suffolk County Council 07515 188522