12 DEC 2017

Coastal Scene Column - 8th December 2017

"Woods Lane has now reopened – and whilst I welcome the fact that residents will get a months respite during the Christmas period - it is due to close again in January which will be hugely frustrating for all concerned. During the November closure, I met Deputy Leader of Suffolk County Council, Cllr Jane Storey, to discuss the impact on local residents and further potential mitigation for the second closure. Clearly assumptions have been made by council officers about what working hours would be deemed acceptable without asking the residents. There is an opportunity to change this for the second phase and the County Council are working with the developer on this. I understand if residents on Woods Lane themselves and those directly affected were not content for 24/7 working but with longer working hours we should be able to shorten the second closure. The key point I raised with Cllr Storey though was about the need to assess transport infrastructure for the future. The roads into Melton, Woodbridge and the peninsula from the A12 are clearly at capacity and will need to be addressed.

There is not much festive cheer coming from Lloyds Bank who announced they intend to close both their Southwold and Halesworth bank branches. Their decision is especially disappointing considering the commitments previously made to me made to me. I have asked for more information about their mobile banking service – which they have promised will service both Halesworth and Southwold - to get clarity on where and how often it will operate. I have also asked whether they are able to keep the ATMs open.

Winter is now upon us and thanks to the Coastal Scene's sister paper the EADT – their Surviving Winter Campaign is firmly on the agenda. Early on in being MP for Suffolk Coastal, I raised the profile and need for help of residents off the gas grid. Fuel poverty is considerably higher for those who don't have mains gas to warm their home. To help prevent this the Cold Weather Priority Scheme has been introduced to identify people who may be susceptible to colder conditions and who are off the gas-grid. The scheme enables fuel suppliers to take pro-active steps to get fuel to you during times of fuel shortages or extreme cold weather. You can sign up for the CWP initiative if there are one or more residents aged 75 years or over in your household or there are one or more residents known to be chronically sick or registered disabled. For more information go to - http://www.coldweatherpriority.co.uk"

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