Dear Reader, Here we are at the start of a new year and the Christmas break is now a distant memory! January was a very quiet month for mayor’s invitations. We did go to watch a performance by the Eastern Angles of their adult pantomime Stoat Hall performed at the Seckford Theatre. It was an amazing production with a cast of five who showed their great versatility as they played a variety of instruments and took on multiple characters. In the end the ‘dog’ stole the show. It is great to have live theatre being performed in Woodbridge so please support these shows.
The work of the council and its committees started up again. Before the Town Council meeting there was a presentation from Suffolk County Council and District Council representatives regarding accommodating refugees and asylum seekers in Woodbridge. This is the Home Office’s Asylum Seeker Dispersal Programme to which the County has agreed to participate. It was suggested that up to 20 asylum seekers could be accommodated in 4 rental properties in the town. They may be here for up to 6 months as their residency claims are processed probably in Ipswich. 50% are likely to be families. Their accommodation will be from the private sector. Some councillors thought that Woodbridge would be expensive for the government to find and rent properties. Others were concerned that Woodbridge did not have the facilities and job opportunities to interest the newcomers. As a Town Council we have no say in this dispersal programme. We must wait and see if it happens how it works out in practice. At the later council meeting the budget for next year was agreed at the same level as last year. This should mean that the Town Council’s portion of your rate bill will not be increasing. The Planning Committee meetings were again busy reviewing a number of applications for development or home improvement. One I want to mention is a development of 6 bungalows off Grundisburgh Road. We had a presentation by the developer of this site who specialises in building for the elderly market. With a growing elderly population and the town becoming a favourite for retirement, such developments must be welcomed. We also had the opportunity to comment on the plans for the development of the Woodbridge Swimming Pool. It was generally felt that the architectural design did not reflect the character of the Town and surrounding area. At the Amenities Committee we had a short presentation by the WI asking for our help to promote the Great British Spring Clean 2017. It is taking place on the 3-5 March, so if you can spare some time to help tidy up Woodbridge please email the organiser at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Council’s website for more information. Finally can I ask those of you organising events in the Town between May and September this year to contact the Council or Choose Woodbridge with details. We are trying to pull together the Celebrate Woodbridge Summer 2017 programme and need your events to fill it.