At the 7 December Full Council, Labour Leader Sandra Gage will propose, and Liberal Democrat Women’s Spokesperson Caroline Page will second a Motion requiring the Council to write to the Secretary of State for Works and Pensions, asking that the hurried, unfair roll-out of delayed state pension start date for women born between 1950 and 1959 should be reviewed immediately.
North-East Ipswich is unique in the town for not having a library in any of its three wards; Rushmere, St.Johns and Bixley. So when the County Council cut its mobile library service in Ipswich in 2013, North-East Ipswich residents lost their fortnightly access to Suffolk Libraries.
Cllr Sandra Gage Rushmere County and Borough Councillor said, “I became aware in early summer this year that ‘pop-up libraries’ were being trialled in three villages in Suffolk, and immediately approached Alison Wheeler and her team at Suffolk Libraries to see how North-East Ipswich could have one. With our new Ipswich Borough Council Ransomes Pavilion literally sitting in the heart of North-East Ipswich in Sidegate Avenue, we now have the perfect venue to offer a one-day-a-week library with activities and sessions for children and adults of all ages.” Continue reading Library Services return to North-East Ipswich
Following a challenge by Labour Councillors on Suffolk County Council the decision over the planned sale of the West Meadows gypsy and traveller site has been postponed until the next Cabinet meeting on the 7th November.
The postponement is an admission that a full consultation with the residents had not taken place and at no stage had the council listened to the concerns of the residents about the planned sale. We can be sure that the gaps in the paper presented to the Cabinet highlighted by the Labour Group were the reason for the decision not to discuss the paper.
I would like to give my thanks to all those who signed, got involved with, and followed the efforts of our recent ‘Save Our Ipswich Shuttle’ campaign.
1090 people signed the petition and sent in comments. Many described limited mobility, need to make quick shopping trips, the easiness of jumping on and off, the undoubted friendliness of the drivers and fellow passengers as reasons why they regularly used it. I surveyed both the peak morning and lunch time journeys and found that in peak times 350 to 400 passengers travel from within the town itself on it. Not just to the Public Sector campus, but various places on the route. Lunchtimes between 90 and 150 travels daily into town; I estimated that this could add annually as much as £390,000 to the Ipswich town centre economy.
Suffolk County Council announced a month ago that it intended to cut the Free Ipswich Shuttle bus at the end of July. Transferring the funding received from County Council staff car park charges to a trial free Park and Ride fares for County Council staff travelling into Ipswich by car.
We believe Suffolk County Council’s decision to cut the free shuttle bus is undemocratic. It will hit the town centre’s economy, disproportionally affect the less mobile and disabled, people who cannot afford a car, and all Ipswich residents who use it.
This petition is organised by Ipswich residents and Ipswich Labour Councillors. It will be presented to Suffolk County Council, asking them to reverse their decision to cut the Ipswich Free Shuttle.
Click on the link to download the petition: Shuttle Bus Petition – July 2017
Please send any completed forms back to Cllr Sandra Gage – email@example.com – by no later than Tuesday 18 July. The petition will then be presented to Cllr James Finch on Thursday 20 July.
Suffolk County Council has today announced the end of the Ipswich Free Shuttle, without any public consultation or like for like replacement bus for Ipswich residents.
Suffolk County Council collects £300,000 a year from its staff car park charges and this funds the Ipswich, Lowestoft and Bury St. Edmunds free shuttle buses. Ipswich shuttle bus 38 costs £73,000 a year to run and offers a free round town bus ride for everyone from 7am to 7pm Monday -Friday. Originally set up in 2004 when the County Council moved from County Hall St. Helens Street to Endeavour House, Russell Road, it is popular with residents and employees of both Suffolk County and Ipswich Borough Councils.
Conservative Councillors vote down Labour’s ‘Permit Scheme’ Motion for faster and more cost effective roadworks at today’s session of Full Council.
The County Council Labour Group brought forward a motion on Thursday 16th March calling for the implementation of a new ‘Permit Scheme’ for highways maintenance – a programme that is already used by 85 Local Authorities across England and proven to increase the efficiency of roadworks, while reducing costs for the Council. More importantly, the use of ‘Permit Schemes’ is shown to reduce congestion caused by road works, improve journey time and reliability for all road users, and augment the information available to the public, including advanced warning and duration of works.
Under a Permit Scheme, anyone intending to carry out works on the road has to make an application to the relevant Local Authority for a permit. In addition, the Authority’s power to grant or refuse a permit, as well as applying conditions to the timings and/or work activity, is significantly increased. Through such capabilities, any Authority operating a permit scheme will be able to coordinate and control works on the road, with the aim to improve both the planning and preparation of works.
Labour Spokesperson for Transport, Sandra Gage, said “As a County Councillor, one of the most consistent concerns that residents have raised has been around roadworks. Whether they drive, bus, cycle or walk, all have come across the poorly organised, sometimes unoccupied, badly signed and often over-run roadworks. In towns and villages across Suffolk, journey times to work, college, school, doctor and hospital appointments are made unpredictable. This is deeply inconvenient for the public and costly for our local economy.”
Cllr Gage continued, “Permit schemes already in place elsewhere in this region – in Norfolk, Essex, Bedford, Hertfordshire, Luton and Southend – have been designed to ensure these councils can successfully undertake their ‘duty to manage’ and therefore minimise the disruption the public experiences. Currently in Suffolk, we have a longer duration of closure within which there will be some days of actual working on site. Sometimes, a stretch of road will be cordoned off for a whole week for maintenance that only takes half a day’s work to complete. By issuing permits only for the planned actual duration of works, these Councils across the East of England have been able to drive up efficiency and reduce inconvenience to the public. A Permit Scheme in Suffolk will also cost the Council nothing to run and stands to save the Council around £4.5million in highways maintenance costs after 3 years.”
Cllr Gage concluded “I am deeply disappointed that the Conservatives have decided to let political pettiness get in the way of their duty to Suffolk residents. Reduced congestion and fewer delays caused by roadworks is what I believe Suffolk residents are asking for. It seems that it’s just this Council’s Conservative Administration that is stopping Suffolk becoming the 86th Council to adopt a roadworks Permit scheme, and rid this County of poorly managed roadworks. If the Labour Group take control of the Council on May 4th, we will listen to residents and implement a highways permit scheme.”
I am writing to bring your readers up to date on the subject of the Ipswich Cattlemarket bus station toilets.
On 9 February, Suffolk County Council set out and approved its revenue budget for 2017/18 and its capital budget for 2017-2020. And it is in its Capital budget – the council medium term planned new works – that funding for the new toilets should have been listed. But this Tory County Council has stubbornly refused for three years to agree to put a sum of money aside to build the toilets, so we should not be surprised to see that funding has not been included in the 2017-20 budget plans.
Even though providing public toilets at the bus station, where all the out of town bus journeys terminate, was part of the original Travel Ipswich plans, and after promises made to Cllr David Ellesmere and the East Suffolk Federation of Women’s Institute in January this year to put a sum aside in the budget to build the toilets.
So despite my repeated questioning at Council, and by email, the Tory Cabinet members Richard Smith for Finance and James Finch for Transport have both refused to respond to the overwhelming public request for what is the most basic of needs.
But then, as we know, none of the Tory County Councillors travel into Ipswich by bus so haven’t any idea of how important this is to the many hundreds who use public transport to travel into Ipswich every week.
In my statement, at the 9 February County Council meeting, supporting the County Labour Councillors alternative budget proposal, I made it clear that if Labour gains control of Suffolk County Council in May we will allocate funds to install the toilets, to accept Ipswich Borough Council generous offer to maintain them, and in doing so respond, as a responsible council should do, to significant and justified public demand.
“The Cabinet at Suffolk County Council do not use the busses to come into Ipswich. They really do not understand the situation.”
Labour Transport Spokesperson, Sandra Gage, on the ongoing debate about toilet’s at Cattlemarket Bus Station
(From 8 mins in)