This page provides more details on some of the hot topics the Council is currently working. If you have any comments or suggestions then please contact our Clerk
Current Issues are:
This is one of the biggest issues in our parish and one that people living in the parish raise with the Council. Over the years the Council has been very active however it is not a simple issue to solve. The High Street is notorious for congestion problems which have a knock on effect on Church Road and School Lane. We know that cars parked are being hit and there have been a number of significant accidents. The Council is in regular discussion with Suffolk Council Leader Matthew Hicks, Mid Suffolk District Councillors Tim Passmore and John Whitehead. Tim is also Police & Crime Commissioner for Suffolk.
Those that live on, or near, the High Street and Church Road will be aware of the increasing problems of congestion, particularly when there is a problem with the main roads or the Orwell Bridge and our parish becomes a cut-through. Of significant recent concern are the plans for Sizewell C. Having reviewed this development the Council has written to the Planning Authority to express our serious concern about the lack of infrastructure to support this development and the direct impact we expect on our Parish. For more details please read our response letter by clicking on Parish Council Response Letter: Sizewell C
In 2019 the Council responded to the proposals for a northern bypass around Ipswich. There was a very vocal response from a subset of people in the Parish to objecting to all options proposed and going a stage further to propose that we become a member of the "STOP Ipswich Northern Route Pressure Group". The Council, at that time, agreed to object fully and join the STOP group, and later the whole scheme was shelved by Suffolk Council. We do hope that at some stage in the future a revised proposal, taking into account all forms of transport, not just roads, will be made. If our Parish is to reduce traffic, congestion and risk of accidents, then better transport infrastructure around Ipswich and linking to the Sizewell C development will be needed.
There has also been a proposal to trial a one-way scheme which would have had a dramatic impact on traffic and stopped congestion on the High Street. Suffolk County Council provided £10,000 funding for a six-month trial, with traffic approaching Coddenham from Hemingstone to be diverted through Rectory Road and Sandy Lane, with traffic only able to go "up-hill" through the High Street. This option was rejected by residents of Hemingstone and Coddenham.
The Suffolk Lorry Route Network is designed so that HGV lorries should not come down the High Street and are only allowed to go up-hill. We are part of the Lorry Watch Scheme. However we know that some HGVs still come down the High Street, as do buses and other large vehicles.
Congestion is clearly not an easy issue to resolve in Coddenham, it has not been solved despite it being a priority for many years. It is going to take a significant change to make a difference, such as a bypass around Ipswich so that we are not a rat-run for access from the A14 to the coastal side of our county (particularly an issue with Sizewell C coming), or trialing a one-way system, or double-yellow lines up the High Street (which understandably causes a significant issue to residents who own cars). When transformational options are put in front of residents they have been stopped, and therefore the congestion, and associated risks to property and injury to people and impact on property prices) continues to be a major issue with no apparent solution.
The Parish Council will continue to escalate these issues at a District and County Council level and this is regularly discussed at Parish Council meetings.
A 20mph speed restriction was introduced a few years ago to help reduce speeds, however the downside is that the Suffolk Police view is that that exceeding speeds in a 20mph area is not enforceable. The Council has acquired a speed indicator device which you may have seen near the Community Centre.
Many thanks to Colin Hardy, who was up until recently a Parish Councillor, but has kindly offered to continue to manage the speed indicator device as well as other volunteer work Colin does in our Parish.
This device cannot be used on the High Street or Church Road because of the need to have sufficient straight line visibility, so instead we have been monitoring traffic on School Lane. The pie chart below is the most recent data (July '20 - Sept '20). This measured more than 34,000 vehicles with 43% exceeding the 20mph limit, the worst offender was travelling at 56mph.
The Parish Council welcomes any suggestions or comments from parishioners as to how to reduce traffic, reduce accidents and reduce traffic speeds through our parish. Please contact us via the Parish Clerk
During October to January all parish councils set their budgets for the next financial (which runs from April to March). We have started our budget planning for next year, 2021/22, and this is a priority for us because it directly affects the amount of Council Tax we all have to pay.
The Parish Council budget is largely made up of five component parts:
The costs for a range of services in the parish, this ranges from our Clerk's salary, street lighting, tree surgery and ground maintenance to dog litter bins. This is typically around £12,000 per year and this means that the average Band D household will pay £40 a year for these costs.
When the Centre was originally built the Council had an offer of funding from The Day Foundation to acquire the land. Unfortunately the Council at the time (none of whom are now involved with the current Council) took a decision to decline this offer and instead took out a Government loan (referred to as PWLB, public works loan board). This loan still has ten years to run at a cost of just over £13,000 per year. This decision has left the parish with a significant financial burden which is why the precept payments in our Council Tax payments are one of the highest in Suffolk.
For the last three years The Day Foundation has kindly been able to fund this loan, thereby preventing the need for it to be paid for through the precept payment. Following a drop in investment income the Day Foundation have to withdraw their support after the current financial year. As a consequence, we will have to include the repayment of this loan into the precept payment in the Council Tax bills that we all pay. This means that the average Band D household will pay £45 a year for the cost of repaying this historic loan.
In 2019 the Parish Council transferred ownership of the Community Centre building, tennis courts, bowls green and the recreational area to a newly formed charitable incorporated organisation (CIO). Both the CIO and the Parish Council are committed to reducing the ongoing costs to parishioners through council tax by accessing external funds not available to a Parish Council. The Parish Council has funded the Community Centre CIO £15,286 for this year and last year in addition to providing £25,000 reserve funds (a total of £55,000 in two years). This is a significant commitment from the Parish Council in addition to taking on the original loan in point 2) above. We are currently looking at the request for the CIO for 21/22, but if similar to previous years it will mean that the average Band D household could pay £45 a year for these costs.
Following the transfer of the Community Centre, it came to the attention of Mid Suffolk District Council that they should have been seeking business rates from the Parish Council. This was despite several Councillors expressing their concerns over previous advice given. As a result, the Parish Council has been asked to pay back three years of rates (the maximum the District Council can demand). This is just under £10,000.
Our Parish Councillor John Peecock is leading the review and challenge of these charges, since the Council had never previously raised this risk and the amounts being charged are disproportionate compared to other similar facilities in other parishes. As part of our budget preparation we are seeking confirmation that if historic business rates have to be repaid that they can be spread over four years (reducing the cost to around £2,500 a year, which equates to £7 a year for four years for an average Band D household). However, we are currently planning for the worst and making provision for repayment next year of the full amount (which equates to £28 a year for an average Band D household, but for one year only)
This is the amount we keep in reserve in case of exceptional items of expenditure. A recent example was when the Church wall needed urgent repairs. The reserves have reduced over recent years and we need to ensure we have sufficient reserve funds. By the end of this year we expect to have around £12,000 in our general reserve fund and we expect we will need to increase this in next years budget.
These groups of costs mean that the precept payments need to cover £26,000 (£90 per Band D house) for the Community Centre, plus £12,000 of ongoing costs and potentially £10,000 business rates. A total of £48,000 for next financial year which works out at ~£160 per household (Band D average). Note this doesn't include increasing reserve funds but may be reduced by the outcome of business rates negotiations. This year the total precept payment was £37,810 which worked out at £136 per household (Band D average).
The current Coddenham Parish Councillors are committed to reducing the precept payment, and therefore your Council Tax payments, to comparable levels with other parishes. This will take 3 to 5 years to achieve mainly because of the significant demands of the Community Centre loan and helping to meet the revenue deficit. Unfortunately previous Coddenham Parish Councils have made decisions and managed the Community Centre at a loss for many years which will take a number of years to put right.
We fully support the leadership team of the Coddenham Centre CIO, and are certain that they will turn around the previous loss-making business into profit over the coming years, thereby reducing the demand on parishioners in their Council Tax.
The current Coddenham Parish Council, led by new Chairman Cllr Allan Fowler, is committed to being transparent with parishioners about all matters, including financial management. The new Council has councillors committed to getting the balance between providing services, supporting the Community Centre CIO and other local initiatives and committing to reducing the overall precept payments over the next 3 to 5 years. The Parish Council is currently going through the budget process and the budget will be officially published early in 2021, however with the demands listed above it is likely that the precept will have to rise next year.
The Parish Council has for many years been escalating the situation with the Dukes Head pub on the High Street. This continues to be an important issue for the Council because of the deteriorating condition and the demise of the last pub in Coddenham. The Council continue to put pressure on Mid Suffolk planning and highways to get a solution. Over the years it has been clear that, as with so many village pubs, it is not viable for continuing as a pub. This is extremely disappointing, however we do have the excellent Country Club in Coddenham as well as a number of very good nearby pubs.
In July the Council unanimously agreed to submit a recommendation of approval of planning application to convert the Dukes Head into a house. If you want to see these planning application please go to the planning website and in the "Keyword" box search "DC/20/02460" and "DC/20/02461". Our support is subject to the Planning Authority examining the application in its entirety and being satisfied that all application documents and reports meet the required legislation.
When you visit other areas you will often see the local parish noticeboards. They are an important part of how a Parish Council communicates with everyone in the parish. For years we have used the general village noticeboards in Coddenham. However an initiative, led by Councillor Allan Fowler, was able to secure the majority of funding from the District Councillors John Whitehead and Tim Passmore's Locality Budget which added to our community infrastructure funding for our new Parish Council noticeboard. Our Parish Councillor Roy Groom is concluding this initiative working with the Coddenham Centre CIO because it will be located on the entrance to the recreational ground. We are pleased to report that the noticeboard has just been installed.