Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Ipswich Labour's Shabby Treatment of one of their own

I was very disappointed to see that one of IBC councillors made the front page of the Star and that Labour have chosen to hang one of their own out to dry in a most dreadful way.

Now as a Tory councillor, I mght've had a little bit of satisfaction from the whole sorry episode if:

1) I'd thought it was just and fair
2) and that it was a Labour councillor that had deserved it.

I know councillor Kirby quite well. I am also on the licensing committee, which I enjoy and find very satisfying. Councillor Kirby is a decent man, who was probably speaking the truth anyway, using data he'd seen.

I also respect and like Councillor Fern - and I was shocked that he was behind the original complaint.

There is no doubt that immigration is causing a rise in under 5's at a rate that will affect this town and how we provide services for them.

Let me ask the residents this.

If we can't talk openly about these things in an Overview and Scrutiny committee, where the decisions of the council are reviewed and audited, then where can we?

If councillor Ellesmere was so outraged at such a passing remark, albeit slightly misplaced, then how are they going to plan for the provision of such things as school places, welfare, NHS, housing etc.

What else can we not talk about? It wasn't racist in any shape or form.

I can't help but wonder if there is an alternative motive to hanging out a decent councillor to dry, when there are other issues even more important, like Councillor T. Grant not declaring a prejudicial interest, at another O and S meeting, when questioning Tim Passmore, the Suffolk PCC,  about jobs (when she is employed by him until 1st April and so was also looking after her own interests).

That would've at least fulfilled numbers 1 and 2 above.

I feel that councillor Kirby has been harshly treated. He did not need to give up his chairmanship from the licensing committee, an apology was enough - or perhaps someone else had their eye on that job. After all it does give you extra allowance.

I don't know. What I do know is that he has my support. Some things are worth more than the divide of a different party and fairness alongside justice are two of them.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Access All Arts returns to Ipswich Town Hall

Access All Arts returns to Ipswich Town Hall on Sunday 6th April, bringing together fun, creativity and free activities under one roof.

Next month’s event will see the return of the ever popular Craft and Vintage Market. This unique handmade and timeless market run by I Make Fun Stuff offers something for everybody with an eclectic mix of homeware, jewellery, artwork and clothes you can’t buy on the high street. More than 40 stalls will be there on the day selling a range of limited vintage and craft items.

Also returning is local children’s music tuition group Muzikidz, which will be running interactive workshops with children five to 15 years, offering them the chance to learn to play a range of instruments and perform in bands. Muzikidz runs weekly sessions both during term time and in the school holidays. This activity is suitable for children of all ages and musical abilities. To sign up or find out more information go to
No booking is required for any of the activities.

Children’s writing workshops will also be running from 10.30am – 12.30pm for children seven and over and as always the Town Hall Tea Room will be open throughout the day serving refreshments.

So, don't forget to get along to the Town Hall on Sunday 6th April from 10am to 4pm to join in. Activity schedules are available and should you require further information about any of the activities please contact Olivia Grant on 01473 433521.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Calling all Stall Holders - Summer Fayre

Always happy to advertise events for SW Ipswich on this blog. This one is actually in my ward Stoke Park and for a very good cause - I'll be attending:

Summer Fayre at Pauls Sports and Social Club 
We are planning to hold the event on Sunday 3rd August (12-4) in aid of St Elizabeth Hospice. 
Spaces will be inside and charged at £10 per stallholder - a donation to the raffle would also be appreciated.  Spaces will be offered on a ‘first come first served’ basis, and to avoid duplication we will limit the number of stall selling similar items as we know this is frustrating for stall holders and customers alike (for example only one Avon/ one Pampered Chef representative, and only two handmade jewellery). 
If stall holders would be interested in having a stall at this event please contact 
Pauls Sports and Social Club is a Family friendly sports and social club, based on Salmet Close in Ipswich. We have a number of affiliated sports clubs, sky sports, regular poker and bingo nights, and hold special events and entertainment evenings. 
Follow us on twitter: 

Friday, 14 March 2014

The Unexpected - Snippets from the Week

First and foremost are the most important and poignant news from the week.

So shocked was I to hear of the sad death of Bob Crow that I was left open mouthed while I was driving. I loathed what he stood for but there was something to admire about this loud, brash, outspoken and passionate man.

I like people who say what they think, mean what they say and refuse to conform to what other people think should be the demeanour of someone in public life. I reckon he was great fun, warm, cuddly and will be sorely missed by many people.

Also sad, but not so shocking, is the passing of the great Tony Benn. Now, he was someone, not in my party, who I had time for. Another outspoken but eloquent man, who managed to sustain an air of graciousness throughout his career. I will leave others to write great tributes for him as i am not knowledgeable enough but my gut instinct was to like and admire him. The boy did good.

Now onto a real tragedy - the missing aeroplane that was travelling to China and appears to have been lost. I am truly surprised that with all our technology, this could still be baffling the experts a week after it took off. I've always had this sense that we could track anybody anywhere if we put enough resource but it appears that there are still improvements to be made. Of course, there is no blame here for the lack of information and by all accounts huge effort is being made to find these poor souls. I'm thinking of their relatives every day and hope they have an answer within the next few hours, not days or weeks. It is pain beyond our comprehension to be left in limbo.

Onto more happy notes, I believe we have 4 medals in the winter Paralympics. What an inspiration these athletes are! I am in awe of their bravery, courage, talent, dedication and physical strength, in the face of adversity. What fantastic human beings - an inspiration to us all. Well done so far, Team GB!

Interesting snippet from LGA and reported in the papers this week
MigrationWatch claims that research by UCL's Centre for Research overstated the likely tax revenues from migrants. It alleges that migrants have instead cost the Exchequer more than £140bn - or £22m a day - from 1995 to 2011. It's UK chief, Sir Andrew Green said: "This finally disposes of the immigration lobby's oft-repeated claims that immigration reduces our tax burden.”  Very interesting and in line with my own belief.

At a more local level - I have been spending time on casework that has meant my business has had only 10 hours of my time this week. But the unexpected was that I achieved more in that 10 hours than I would normally do in 20 because I was pushed for time. You know what they say, if you want something done, ask a busy person!

The barmiest compensation claims in recent times
Local authority solicitors are calling on the Government to pay for costly treatment and compensation for a child born with foetal alcohol syndrome after its mother drank excessively while pregnant. ??
Meanwhile a woman who was attacked by a seagull during her lunch break is suing the owner of the building where she worked for £30,000 in damages. Cathie Kelly said she stumbled and injured herself on the steps of the building as she tried to escape the "screaming" bird during her lunch break. ????

Of GREAT Importance:-

I thought Ed was barmy making that announcement - Thanks!

Have a great weekend all and lets see what next week brings.....

Monday, 3 March 2014

Latest on the Pannington Wind Turbine

Or How Labour councillors nearly stitched up SW Ipswich

Ipswich Borough Council planning meeting took place last Wednesday giving an opportunity for Ipswich residents, councillors and Stop Ipswich Turbines the chance to have their say about the single turbine planned for Pannington Hall.

Of course, this is only part of the equation because it is Babergh Council that will decide whether the project goes ahead, not Ipswich. However IBC were able to formally oppose the building of the turbine, affecting SW Ipswich, in an advisory capacity.

What really surprised me were the number of Labour councillors who rejected the idea of opposing the proposals, probably through some blind faith towards green solutions and an ignorance of what this actually means for residents.

If it wasn't for my Conservative colleagues, the outcome would have been one supporting the application and this would've sent a completely different message across to Babergh.

The reason I was so shocked is that Ben Gummer and I carried out 2 surveys, one showing 98% of SW Ipswich residents, (of the 50% that responded), were against the proposals (when it was 3 turbines). When this was reduced to 2, we repeated the survey and this time 80% of those who responded, were against. It was the force of this reaction that prompted PfR to drop the turbine proposed on Ipswich land, leaving the new location at Pannington of just 1 turbine.

Now whether you're a 'green' councillor and believe these 450ft turbines are the way to go, or not, is irrelevant. We are there to represent the residents, not give our own opinion when one so much more valuable is available to us.

For me, the fact that the majority of labour councillors supported the turbine shows a casual disdain for the views of all the residents in Sprites, Stoke Park as well as Pinewood, Wherstead and Belstead village. The noise from all surrounding areas of this site has been thunder-like, thanks to Stop Ipswich Turbines and residents who have come out in good numbers at several meetings, as well as returning the surveys to myself and Ben Gummer.

I will continue to listen to the views of my residents, not just on this issue but on any others and even if I disagreed with them, I would vote according to the wishes of the people who elected me, not because of some Idealism in the name of climate change - whatever that is these days.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

While I've been away....

Lots of things have been going on while I've been away.

Being a councillor there is never a good time to take a holiday or work away - Whether it's trying to book outside of full council meetings, area committee meetings or important events, including of course Ipswich town home games (Don't ask a season ticket holder like me to miss any games for any reason whatsoever unless of course it's a matter of life or death!)

However the world survived without me and I have caught up with residents that contacted me, as my very first point of action - and it was lovely to hear them say that they guessed I was away as normally I respond almost immediately.

Going out to deliver my latest leaflet this morning (more on that later) it was lovely to be stopped by residents asking about various issues or just wanting to have a chat about things that are bugging them. The time I spend in the ward is by far more important than any meeting I could go to and it is here in Stoke Park that my true passion lies.

So let's start with a few snippets from neighbourhood watch information newsletters;

Vehicle security from the eyes of an offender
A prolific car crime offender was interviewed recently and the key message was highlighted by him -       

Do not to leave anything on view in a vehicle.  

He stated that he wouldn’t break in, if he couldn’t see anything.·         
Don’t leave sat nat holders, the ring on the windscreen or even the cigarette lighter out of its place as all of these indicated that there was a sat nav in the glove box. ·         
He would take anything out of a car – including black bags and sports bags.·         
He never carries tools with him for breaking into cars in case he gets stopped en-route by police, he would use something left lying around (a new thought provoking point in the fight against car crime).
Do you have issue with litter/dog fouling etc?
Ipswich Borough Council offer an effective service when areas of litter/dog fouling/graffiti on public areas are of concern to residents.
 Anthea PipeCommunity Watch & SNT Liaison Office,  Please report anything of this nature on Ipswich 433000. 
 I have personally used this service on numerous occasions and have found the response to be very fast, usually within the day.

Cannabis Factories
As you may have heard, in the local media, the largest ever cannabis factory in Suffolk was found at a property in Henley Road, Ipswich. Over 1500 cannabis plants were found within 13 rooms at the address, and two males were subsequently charged with the cultivation of cannabis and the abstraction of electricity.
There are some tell-tale signs which may indicate the presence of cannabis cultivation in your area, so please keep an eye (and nose) out:
• Lighting or ventilation equipment, which may be indicated by strong lighting day or night and constant noise from ventilation equipment.
• Covered up or blocked up windows.
• Comings and goings to a property at all times of the day.
• High levels of heat and condensation, which may be indicated by windows constantly misted up.
• Strong sickly smell given off by cannabis plants.
• Lots of power cables, which may be linked to lamp posts.
Traffic enforcement
Ipswich Central SNT have been doing some good work recently regarding traffic enforcement. 

Speed enforcement work has also been taking place recently and this will be continuing with Officers taking the speed gun out and about. Please contact us if you believe that there is a particular speeding location which could do with some attention. I have highlighted Annbrook road and Stoke Park Drive on several occasions. 

Be back soon on some of the bigger news stories that happened while I was away but for now - I have an important date with ITFC and a welcome cheer to make to our Birmingham guests. Fingers crossed...