Tag Archives: Transport

‘Wheel by Lamplight’ event illuminates Ipswich transport history

It was a great evening on Saturday at Ipswich Transport Museum, when it held its annual ‘Wheels by Lamplight’ event. The event turns the museum into a magical nostalgic oil lamp lit space, packed full of the towns transport history. There are trolley buses parked alongside old fire engines, Cooperative Milk floats, Ransomes ploughs and lawn mowers to name just a few.

Around 200 paraffin oil lamps were on display, with Victorian and Edwardian as well as some very unusual wartime aircraft lamps all helping to light the main hall. Continue reading ‘Wheel by Lamplight’ event illuminates Ipswich transport history

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Suffolk Roadworks Need to Catch up with Everywhere Else!

Letter from Sandra Gage, Leader of the Labour Group on Suffolk County Council

Dear Editor

On Saturday 2 September the Government Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, announced plans to charge Utilities and other highway contractors lane rental by the hour to close our busiest roads in much of the UK to carry out utility or road repairs.

Though this is expected to only apply to Motorway and Trunk roads, it is long overdue and welcome. It will not though, regrettably help us much in Suffolk. Here there are no Motorways, and only the A14, A11 A12 south of Ipswich and A47 in Lowestoft Trunk roads where these new, stricter rules could apply. The rest of the road network and therefore the responsibility of keeping the roads free of over-run roadworks rests with Suffolk County Council.

Continue reading Suffolk Roadworks Need to Catch up with Everywhere Else!

Ipswich Shuttle Bus – Labour Councillors Stepping in to Save it

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.

Continue reading Ipswich Shuttle Bus – Labour Councillors Stepping in to Save it

‘Labour campaigning to save the Ipswich Shuttle’

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 – sandra.gage@suffolk.gov.uk – by no later than Tuesday 18 July. The petition will then be presented to Cllr James Finch on Thursday 20 July.

Ipswich Shuttle Bus is Axed

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.

Continue reading Ipswich Shuttle Bus is Axed

Labour’s call to introduce a ‘Permit Scheme’ to make roadworks more efficient and reduce congestion voted down at Full Council

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.”

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Letter on the Cattlemarket Bus Station Toilets from Cllr Sandra Gage

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.

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Sandra Gage’s Speech on Highways and Transport during Budget debate

For the last six years there has been year on year cuts to County services in Suffolk, justified as ‘efficiency savings’, ‘transforming services’, ‘refocusing’, or simply saying the council will be doing ‘more for less’.

Year on year we stand here and say this is wrong, it will not work, or simply that your budget cuts will increase the gap between those who can afford to pay themselves for what the council no longer provides, and those who cannot.

Highways and public transport budget cuts are not as life threatening as those imposed on, say social care, but they are life changing.

They will alter people’s futures permanently, by having to make less advantageous choices on education, living standards, work, where to live, and ultimately longevity of life. Using this administrations words, these cuts have indeed ‘managed down demand’ of the future of those who have to rely on public transport to achieve the best possible outcomes for themselves.

The dismantling of public transport and decreasing investment in our infrastructure will, in the end, cost us all far more than this council has cut in these areas in its annual budgets since 2011.

So, we propose a reversal of the cuts to the services that support the most basic needs of Suffolk residents, to provide a life line by the;

  • Reinstatement of printed bus timetables countywide
  • Continued investment of Real Time bus screens in remote urban areas where there remains poor mobile phone coverage that denies bus users access to smart phone bus apps.
  • An enhancement to the countywide district council budget to cut highway verge and hedges – so that road safety is no longer put at risk by this council, and the disabled are able to use unobstructed footways
  • Reinstatement of the 2015/16 baseline funding to Community transport providers, ensuring the scheduled buses services can continue without cuts.
  • And,for our three main towns, a programme of capital investment, raised bus stops to aid the less mobile and new bus shelters to encourage greater bus patronage, and a modest but much needed capital programme of cycle and pedestrian schemes to aid healthier lifestyles and keep our towns moving.

The Labour Group’s Amendment proposes to make Ipswich Park and Ride genuinely viable under its new contract.

Any responsible highway authority knows that Park and Ride is part of a package of measures to manage traffic congestion at peak times in towns and cities. You can’t simply ‘change the grant offer’ as the Transport Cabinet Member will surely call it, though it is of course a funding cut, and expect service to survive.  The proposed withdrawal of subsidy and the omission of any funding to improve the Park and Ride sends Ipswich residents a clear message from this council.

This Council really doesn’t care if Ipswich streets are clogged up commuting traffic each weekday, so long as there is more money in reserves.

So much for this Tory led council being signed up to an ‘Ipswich Vision’.

The Labour amendment proposes a Revenue Enhancement to maintain Park & Ride services during a transition period, a two year capital investment to implement the highway improvements identified by the bus operators as necessary to make the new contract viable, and a modest fund to market and a modest marketing fund.

This is what a responsible highway authority should do to protect its county town from unsustainable traffic growth.

And finally, on the subject of the Ipswich Cattlemarket bus station toilets, despite my repeated questioning, the administration has remained silent on whether there has ever been was any financial provision for the toilets.  But then, as we know, none of them travel into Ipswich by bus, so haven’t any idea of how important this is.

Not so much for Ipswich residents, but for the many rural Suffolk residents (residents from their own divisions) who bus into town, and arrive after up to maybe an hour’s journey at the Cattlemarket station.

This Tory council has stubbornly refused for three years, even refusing the repeated demands of the Women’s Institute, to see sense.

Labour will find the money in its budget to install the toilets, to accept Ipswich Borough Council generous offer to maintain and in doing so respond, as a responsible council should do, to significant and justified public demand.

The sustainability of the county relies upon a road network that is at an acceptable standard. That’s why we have included a reinstatement in the cuts to Capital investment in our road network.

The Highways Infrastructure Asset Management Plan has consigned our non-strategic local roads to a future of neglect, to becoming a patchwork of temporary asphalt dollops, and occasional localised permanent repair.

We all know of roads like this all over the county.

Labour’s proposal will enable a programme of responsible structural maintenance on local roads countywide.

Chair, I fully support the budget amendment.

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Carlton Colville school transport – letter

Dear editor

After meeting with angry Carlton Colville residents on the 12th November, 2013 to receive a petition against the on-going road safety problems at Carlton Colville CP School, Cllr Sonia Barker has met with Cabinet member Lisa Chambers and officers to push for a solution. At the long requested meeting on 26th November, 2013 Sonia was able to set out the concerns of both school and residents. The significant congestion caused by the School Organisational Review on Gisleham Road and Rushmere Road has been a two year saga which has been largely ignored by Suffolk County Council.

Continue reading Carlton Colville school transport – letter