Saturday, 22 March 2008

West Suffok or Suffolk? YOU decide!

PLEASE VOTE IN MY POLL. Its not very scientific but its the first. If you are using a SEBC laptop you may find that the one vote allowed from all has already been used. But if you can vote, please do. Comments on the previous post are also welcome - whether for or against.

Update Thursday 27th March. Thank you to the 43 people who voted in my poll, 41 of whom (95%) chose West Suffolk. Not very scientific, but an interesting vote nevertheless. I hope to add a link shortly to the Borough Council's concept statement, once this is on line.

Do you want this:

or something more like this:

VOTE NOW PLEASE by scrolling in the right hand border. Thank you.

Easter Sunday update - 'from the study window':

Post Easter update - the delights of a Sussex break - anyone know which village?:


picklesmum said...

Would I then get a free 'brown' bin under this scheme? I have just had letter from Mid Suffolk asking for £40 a year for one, which I couldn't even put kitchen peelings into! I'm sure there are other considerations too but this is my latest bee in bonnet!

Paul F said...

I must say I haven't heard of that PM. The largest single group of St Edmundsbury householders (Band B) pay just £2.57 per week council tax to StEds (much more in total obviously) for ALL our services, including Brown, Blue and Black bins for almost everyone.

I will email this blog to my opposite number on MSDC and ask him to come up with an answer for you.

Probably take some time...

picklesmum said...

Is that from YOUR study window or 'the other ones' study window?!

I won't hold my breath about the bins. It is official, we have a lovely colourful leaflet to explain it all. £40 a year is not going to encourage many people to go for it. So in MSDC we pay more but get less. Something wrong there.


Hi Picklesmum - I noticed that MSDC use County Mulch Ltd: for their composting. The County Mulch site says that garden waste and raw vegetables can be put in the bins. So it's worth giving your waste officer a ring to clarify.

Paul - with figures like that for St Eds, I think we get excellent service and am very glad I didn't move over the border.

However as a councillor it may be worth a comment re why recycling services in Suffolk differ across districts. Surely with the same services available locally, districts should be able to standardise their collection facilities, especially with the recycling being such a priority. It just seems ridiculous that simply moving to somewhere a few miles away like Thurston should result in a poorer collection service. As ever, I guess it will come down to money no doubt!

Despite our council's fantastic Zero Waste campaign, it came under fire recently for missing out 650 bins, which is ridiculous when you compare the comparative lack of services in neighbouring councils.
Picklesmum, I know that you live outside of Bury but I am with you re your latest "bee in your bonnet". Good luck

Mark G. Hardy said...


Don't suppose for one minute you will let this comment appear.....

How do you have the consummate arrogance to run a "poll" on a matter that you as a Borough Councillor know to be a submission to the Boundary Commission by the CEO of the Borough without the required consultation of the Town/Parish councils?

Why is BStE Borough council the only West Suffolk one not running a public response site (nothing to do with the acting CEO's comments to me I suppose). Aren't you just a wee bit ashamed to be associated with a CEO's office that you are supposed to be "holding to account" but which is ignoring the mandatory consultations?

Please respond with your position as a Town not Borough Councillor.

Paul F said...

Just back from two nights away, so apologies to those waiting for their comments to be posted/answered. I'll do it shortly. Thank you for your patience.

Paul F said...

AMA/PM - I agree that Councils acting independently can seem particularly odd across borders. Sometimes that results elsewhere in people either side of the same street paying different rates of Council Tax!

I imagine one of the advantages of a unitary would be to offer the same service, but we would all want this brought up to the best, of course.

Mark - I am suprised you disapprove of my poll, to which almost as many people have responded as did to your meeting and "mock" election - although unlike yours, my wife will not be voting.

Having attended a meeting of the Boundary Committtee representatives, including an Electoral Commissioner, I am aware that the Committee are conducting their own consultation with SALC and the parish/town councils. I have been invited to put forward my name as a representative in this regard, but will defer to a Town Councillor who is not also a Borough Councillor.

Hope you've voted.

picklesmum said...

Mark - Why so cross? It is only an opinion poll isn't it? Nothing is going to happen because these 25 people have given an opinion on a subject. OR is it?

Mark G. Hardy said...

Glad to see that you admit being both a Town Councillor and a Borough Councillor causes a conflict of interests as SALC is only allowing 2 reps per parish/town council.

Paul F said...

PM - Word is reaching me from MSDC that they operate a "pay as you throw" scheme - more details are said to be on their way.

Delighted to see there has been a lot more voting overnight, well outstripping the attendance and voting at the public meeting. The results will be posted and passed on.

Mark - You misunderstand. I have had my session with the Boundary Committee and so it's only fair not to hog it by asking to represent the Town Council too.

No conflict, just common sense.

Mark G. Hardy said...


Given your position that, it seems to me, can be summed up as the Town Council is essentially irrelevant under the new unitary authority as you are in favour of all matters affecting BStE being dealt with at a "higher level"(interestingly the only town of any size in the entire UK that would be in that position) would you care to share with us what the Boundary Committee think? I ask only because, as you know, the acting CEO said that the Town won't be consulted prior to the submissions contrary to the legal requirements.

Anonymous said...

Paul, I hope you had a lovely time in this beautiful village. The inn which you have photographed is one of the oldest in the country, it has a lion figurehead from a Dutch warship standing outside, and is undoubtedly worth trying. Without giving the game away, the village is the home for the first ever property purchased by the National Trust for the pricely sum of £10 and is also the place where the hymn "Morning has Broken" was written. Thankyou also for agreeing to look into the Bakers Lane water problem.

Paul F said...

You are obviously well travelled anon! See my disappointing Bakers Lane reply under the original comment.

Mark - I fear my readers will be getting bored by these exchanges, but here goes...

Not for the first time you are putting two and two together to make other than four. What "seems" to you seems made up to me. Where is your evidence for my "position"? I did not get elected to the Town Council to close it down - witness my support for rescinding the relevant resolution (which you could have done first hand if you had been present).

I suggest you wait until you see the SEBC concept statement, and its references to town/parish councils before you pass further comment.

Mark G. Hardy said...


Sorry I couldn't be at the mast meeting, I'm still in France.

Your own words:
"The first meeting since my election was a 'special meeting' last night. I was very surprised and disappointed to see so many items on the agenda which sought to return powers and responsibilities (and cost) to the Council."

Your agenda seems to be pretty clear that you want to ensure the success of the West Suffolk Unitary bid by it retaining and dealing with everything related to Bury St Eds, and the Town Council doing nothing - something that the Boundary Committee and everyone else is dead against.

As you say it will be interesting to see what the Borough comes up with, not least as the acting CEO made clear that your submission will be without any prior reference to either the Town Council or any residents - unlike Forest Heath.

I'm sorry that you feel readers of your blog will be bored by this, but I'm not setting mine up until I'm back and after you have sent in your agenda for the Borough without thought for the Town - as so clearly expressed by Stefan oliver when he said at the meeting that "the Town will only get the powers its told it can have" - or words to that effect. But then you didn't bother attending that pre-election meeting.

Its going to be an interesting few months.

Paul F said...

Mark - My long held belief that BSETC should have modest and certainly inexpensive powers, with a reduced administrative cost, goes back to my involvement as a founder member five years ago. At least until the unitary debate is concluded, if not after, I am maintaining that stance - not least as I was elected on it. It's called democracy.

The big flaw in your argument, if not non sequitur, is your link to my being pro West Suffolk unitary. Currently SCC and SEBC deal with all matters that would be dealt with by a unitary of any geographical shape. But it is likely that a unitary may choose to engage parishes in devoling powers locally - as I believe our concept statement will show.

So, being pro-unitary may be more likely to invole BSETC in more than the status quo - not less. That does not mean that we should anticipate or pre-empt such arrangements by returning to the Town Council all its powers in one fell swoop.

As for my not attending a "pre-election" meeting (I note with amusement your use of the perjorative word "bother"): to quote a line from Brief Encounter, "I'm sure I don't know to what you are referring." There was only one such meeting I am aware of and I can't believe Stefan Oliver attended.

As a Francophile I envy your place in France, and trust you are getting plenty of state visit coverage. Pity you missed the Athenaeum meeting referred to elsewhere in this blog. It was very interesting.

Unless you have something new and relevant to say on this particular subject, this correspondence is now closed.

Mark G. Hardy said...


There was a Town Council meeting on the Monday before the election. That is where Stefan Oliver said what he did, and reading Hoffy's blog today about Stefan's views reinforces my long held view that people with two/three roles as Councillor have untenable conflicts.

Glad you enjoyed the Bidwells meeting. Before I went away they agreed to send me slides etc. of what was on display so that I can send them as JPEG's to all who are interested but couldn't attend.

It is your blog, you can shut down debate whenever you like, but the subject isn't going away.

Anonymous said...

Paul, Was all part of my YHA days where my form of transport was the number 11 bus (my feet/legs) and your favourite mode of transport, the pushbike. Happy days and provided me of the best way of exploring the English countryside. Youth hostels were the ideal place to stay, mainly because of the their very good value and their convenient location to tour on a budget. Who could forget having to do their daily chore to keep costs down and I wonder if you still have to do them. If anybody is still interested to work out which village in the South Downs the photograph was taken, the scrabble value of the villages letters is 12. Your reply to the Bakers Lane problem has been noted and again thankyou for your usual prompt response.

Paul F said...

Anon - I usually have a few people responding to my guessing games, but it looks like you and I are the only ones prepared to admit that we know where this is.