Cllr Liz Harsant and her work in the town - the February edition

ROTARY EAST AND THE ORWELL WALK   

I am a very proud member of the Ipswich East Rotary Club and last week we announced the new route for this year’s 35th Orwell Walk on Sunday 24th June. The Orwell Walk, which began in 1977 with just a couple of hundred walkers, is now the most successful fundraising campaign for Ipswich East Rotary Club, to date raising more than £1.3m for local charities and good causes. Last year’s walk was attended by a massive 2,000 people, all raising money for their chosen charities. Last week the donations collected by the Club from the walkers were distributed to local charities at a formal handover luncheon hosted by the Rotary club.

This year’s route has changed due to the shock closure last year of Amberfield School which had been used as the start and finish to the Walk. Therefore this year, people are asked to make their way instead to Gainsborough Sports Club where there will be ample free parking and refreshments at either end of the new 2012 route. The club is also celebrating 35 years of the Orwell Walk by recently launching a brand new website which has full details of the new route, this year’s walk Sponsor – Healthy Ambitions Suffolk and also new for 2012 the opportunity to register for the walk on line via www.ipswicheastrotaryclub.co.uk

Representatives from the following charities attended our lunch to collect their cheques:

Talitha Koum accepted by John Cobbold

Ipswich Umbrella Trust accepted by Chairman Roger Fern

Age UK Suffolk, accepted by Ursula Austin.

Ipswich Citizens Advice Bureau, accepted by Hugh Rowlands

Genesis Mencap accepted by Nino Serritiello

Cancer Campaign in Suffolk accepted by Karen Hare and Louise Gregory

Cruise Bereavement accepted by Adrian Williams

Christina Noble Children’s Foundation accepted by Sue Lines

Hearing Dogs for the Deaf accepted by Malcolm Taylor

Headway Ipswich & East Suffolk accepted by Allister Renton

Talking Newspapers accepted by Eileen Damant

Ipswich Support Epilepsy Group accepted by Sheila Cooper

The Woolverstone Project accepted by John Wilkinson

INSAAN AID   

I attended the Maharani Restaurant on Norwich Road last night which was a fund raising event for Insaan which is a local charity working with people at grass roots level, helping and assisting the poor and needy. Their aims and ethos are underpinned by Islamic values and principles. We enjoyed a marvellous meal in excellent company and the raffle itself made £300 for the charity and part of the money we paid for the meal will also be donated to Insaan.

For more information on the charity please go to: www.insaanaid.com (Please note that the picture used here is copyright and is by courtesy of Paul Nixon Photography  01473 430707).

Big crowd at Night Shelter celebration   Leave a comment

The Ipswich Winter Night Shelter, which has been running every night since 14 December, finished on Sunday 19 February. The shelter was held at seven churches across the town centre and supported by 300 volunteers from many Christian denominations, and from other faiths and none. A special service was held on 26 February to celebrate the work and to look to the future. I was unable to help with the shelter as my husband was so ill but it was a great honour to be there and to meet the many people who had helped.

The Rev’d Canon Paul Daltry, who chaired the team, said that it was wonderful to work with so many volunteers, including those of other faiths. “The Shelter has shown that we in Ipswich are waking up to acting like a community. We need to ask ‘What is God saying to the church today; what is he calling us to do next?’” The service also included a debate involving local politicians Ben Gummer our Member of Parliament, David Ellesmere, Leader of Ipswich Borough Council and County Cllr Colin Spence they debated the relationship between church contributions in this area and the work of the state agencies. In his sermon Bishop Nigel drew attention to the various statistics of the Shelter: 37 guests had been welcomed (though 66 had to be turned away through lack of space); 1000 plus meals were served; 300 people had volunteered to help; and perhaps most important, 10 people were found some form of permanent housing. “This is an extraordinary story.” The Bishop referred to Archbishop Temple’s comments after the war, when we were aiming to establish a state ‘for the welfare of all citizens’, in great contrast to the Nazi or communist philosophies prevalent at the time. We now realise that the state can’t do everything, and the church is again challenged to ask what it is here for – “our own sakes or to serve others?” Very profound if I may say so.

Sports Area Proposal for Orwell Quay   

 UCS are considering how to develop their land on Orwell Quay and have asked the Ipswich Waterfront Action Group, a local community group of which I am part of, to approach the residents to ask for their thoughts. Consideration is being given to using this as an outside Sports Area. However, we want to know your thoughts on this and what it could include. Jay, our chairman, has drawn up a short questionnaire which is asking you to let us know what you think. We will then put these views together and make a collective response.

Please go online and complete the questionnaire by 10th March 2012 so you can be involved and have your say: www.ipswichwaterfrontsurveys.co.uk

Cold Fayre Holywells Park   

A couple of weekends ago the Friends of Holywells Park held a Cold Fayre in the Park near the old paddling pool. It was extremely well attended and I’m not surprised because a lovely fire was lit in which potatoes in their jackets were cooked and then cut in half and filled with cheese. Yum delicious. What is so good about the Friends events is they cater for all ages and I noticed how much the children were enjoying themselves just the same as us older ones were. It was great to see our Member of Parliament there and obviously off to support Ipswich Town Football Club!

STREET PARTIES   

I received a letter by email from Eric Pickles in early January headed “Street Parties”. Mr Pickles reminds us that 5000 street parties took place last April to celebrate the Royal Wedding and around 2.4 million people sat down for a Big Lunch with friends and neighbours in June.

So going on Mr Pickles says that demand for Street Parties will be at an all time high this year with a whole weekend of celebrations at the beginning of June to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee including the Big Lunch on Sunday 3rd of June. And he also imagines that many people may also want to use the opportunity of the Olympics and Paralympics later in the summer to hold a street party to celebrate the UK hosting of these major sporting events.

In Holywells Ward the residents living in and around the Waterfront wanted to hold a street party on the green in Maude Street but once all the paper work arrived from the Council and the cost of insurance it seemed too complicated to proceed!

Mr P hopes that all local authorities have adopted a simple form based on that produced by his Department. Access to the revised street parties guidance and model form can be accessed at:www.communities.gov.uk/publications/communities/streetpartyguide

I would like to quote Mr Pickles’ final paragraph in the hope that small street parties like we were going to hold could happen with a minimum of fuss:

“Of course, I understand that local authorities are best placed to decide on what is needed for local events but there really is no reason why small street parties that don’t affect the wider road network shouldn’t be allowed to go ahead with the minimum of paperwork and without charges. Please do all you can to support your residents to celebrate the momentous events happening in 2012. I have copied this letter to Chief Executive.
Signed The Rt.Hon Eric Pickles MP”

Polling Stations   

At the full Council Meeting of Ipswich Borough Council last Wednesday we had a small paper on Polling Stations. There were a few minor changes made to our Ward which I am sure will be acceptable. You can access these small changes by logging onto the Council’s website.

You see this is the time of the year when local politicians start to talk about the Elections in May, and I am no exception. Holywells Ward has grown significantly over the last few years and consequently where people actually go to vote is very important.

Over the last six months a debate has been taking place regarding three of Holywells Polling Stations. Rosehill Library, the Church Hall attached to Alan Road Methodist Church and the UCS the latter two having been used for many years very successfully as Polling Stations. At various meetings with the Council it was thought a possibility that the Library in Tomline Road should become the main Polling Station for the Rosehill area thus dispensing with Alan Road. However, we visited The Library and the Council agreed with me that it would be impossible to increase the number of people voting there because of size issues and that it was preferable to leave well alone. It was also suggested that perhaps we should look into using St Bartholomew Church Hall but again there was no real reason to change so it has been agreed that Alan Road will remain. I am pleased about this as several years ago it did cause significant trouble when people living opposite the Church were suddenly asked to vote at the bottom of Back Hamlet!

Moving on to the bungalow at the bottom of Back Hamlet this was used on a couple of occasions I believe but was never very successful. Residents living on the Waterfront were not attracted to walking that distance and those needing transport found it very difficult to park. Since the Red Rose Chain has moved, who allowed parking to take place in their car park, and coupled with the one way system at Duke Street Roundabout makes it an impossible suggestion. So I am very pleased to say that the Council have agreed to the status quo and residents will continue to vote at the University.

It goes to show that local Councillors should be listened to they do know their wards!

NACTON ROAD AND CLAPGATE LANE   Leave a comment

We have at last heard that the Council will continue to maintain their grass cutting of the greensward that runs along these two roads. I am most grateful to the Council for listening to the residents who so value this area and I would say congratulations to you the residents for sticking up for what you believe in and in particular to Tom and Christine who took the trouble to do a petition. Well done

LITTER ON THE WATERFRONT   

I recently received an email from a resident living on the Waterfront. She noticed that two swans had left the water and were on the slipway adjacent to the cadets building opposite the wood yard. This area and the immediate foreshore were covered in litter, some of which could harm the birds. The resident picked up a bag of rubbish and took it to the Old Custom House with the intention of taking the matter up with the Port Authority. As no one was available, she left her details with the receptionist and requested that the Port, in future, kept the slipway and also the grass verges along the waterside in front of the Wood Yard and Orwell Quay free of litter. She also left the bag of rubbish for the Port to dispose of!!

This happened again and this time the resident was told that it was not the Port Authority’s responsibility but Ipswich Borough Council. Well it transpires that the land is not adopted by the Council and therefore they have no remit to clean it. They have had discussions with ABP but to no avail and would be happy to clean this area if the Port was willing to meet the costs. Wouldn’t it be nice if ABP could act responsibly over this litter we all value our wildlife and this is so dangerous and for the swans in particular.

I must continue this story as Mark Murphy asked if I would speak on Radio Suffolk the other morning and Luke Deal and I met on the Orwell Quay and as if they knew ABP had sent a little boat out to collect all the bottles and debris. It was strangely quite fascinating to watch what was coming out of the water including dead birds, fish hooks and the person doing the clean-up tells me the other day he picked out a bag of class A drugs which were quickly handed over to the police.

The message here is lets keep the Waterfront clean pick up our rubbish whether we are walking, driving or sailing.

THE WEATHER OUTSIDE WAS SNOWING   

So the snow has gone hopefully for good and Spring should be round the corner. During that snowy time we were congratulating ourselves in the media on how well we as a nation coped this year. Well I agree the roads were well gritted and traffic seemed to flow without too much trouble BUT the footpaths were horrendous and even more so in Holywells Park it was virtually impossible to walk at all. I did ask a senior officer at the Council if the paths in the park could be gritted so we could just have a little path to walk along but my request was ignored and it took one of the dog walkers to really take a member of staff to task and yippee we got our paths gritted and could walk again. As usual it seems to be a lack of funds but we have a grit bin at the Alan Road entrance which has never seen the sight of grit but if it was full of grit us dog walkers would be happy to help so please Ipswich Borough Council can this happen next time we have snow?