At the end of the first week of the Woods Lane closure, Therese met Deputy Leader of Suffolk County Council, Cllr Jane Storey, to discuss the impact on local residents, further potential mitigation for the second closure and learnings on how this could be handled in the future.
Therese said: "There were issues with the diversion routes last week with some accidents and near misses at particular junctions. The County Council has been proactive in managing the situation, the District Council has helped by offering off-road parking for Melton Hill residents and I will also contact the Chief Constable asking for a modest police presence at certain junctions to deter traffic light jumping."
Therese added: "I raised the point about assumptions made by council officers about what working hours would be deemed acceptable. There is an opportunity to change this for the second phase which could shorten the closure period, though I would understand if residents on Woods Lane themselves and directly affected were not content for 24/7 working. The key point I raised with Cllr Storey 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. Only the county council can do this and I expect to see more involvement by them."
"I have also alerted BT Openreach to the closure to ensure that all utilities, including broadband, were installed without having to close the road again in the future. They are going to prove the cable route during the current road closure to check for blockages. If they find blockages along the route not on the road closure section, this will be done under a normal notice, however if blockages are found on the road closure route they will do the work under phase 2 of the road closure."
At Tuesday night's Cabinet meeting Suffolk Coastal Councillors agreed to drop the planned 'General Public Space ProtectionOrder' proposal to fine owners who allow their dogs off the lead on grass verges, greens and allotments.
Therese said: "I know many owners that like to throw a ball for their dog and I thought these measures were slightly over the top. The response to the public consultation was clear that this wasn't supported – so I'm pleased the council has changed direction."
The Council is going ahead with plans to create public protection orders making it a requirement to clean up after your dog and banning dogs from children's play areas.
They are also proposing to re-consult on a larger ban area for Felixstowe beach during the summer months but which allows dogs on the beach before 10am and after 6pm.
Yesterday in Parliament, Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid MP formally announced that he is minded to implement the locally-led proposal to merge Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils to become a new single district council, which is due to come into effect in 2019.
Therese said: "SCDC and WDC already share many services and staff, including a shared chief executive, so this is the logical next step. The merger will enable the new Council to deliver services at a greater value for money, yielding significant cost savings."
Before the final decision is made, there is a period for further representations by January 8th – and the final decision will be subject to Parliamentary approval in the New Year.
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