Sunday, 31 March 2013

Tory candidate claims Ipswich Labour have a special printing machine!

After being actually taken by surprise in that the Tories are delivering leaflets beyond Bixley, Rushmere and St Margaret’s – I thought I would take a quick look to see what the Tories are actually saying.

In the South West the Tory candidate (who is still failing to remove inaccuracies from his own blog) is claiming that he helped Ben Gummer in his successful campaign to get Chantry High School (Suffolk New Academy) re-built – funny that when I drove past it today whilst campaigning it looked the same as iit did last year. When researching the claim that Mr Gummer and Algar have been successful in their campaign, all I can find is a claim that it will be re-built in the future, but no start date.

Mr Algar then continues with one of his favourite topics – in that candidate’s should live in the ward, hypocritically in his next post he is promoting Cllr Judy Terry – who does not only live outside the ward she represents but seems hell bent on upsetting Rushmere residents. Mr Algar claims that Judy Terry and her Tory colleagues saved the Suffolk Library service, but forgets to mention that the mobile library service in Ipswich has been decimated. In Rushmere we have lost mobile library rounds in Meadowvale Close, Sidegate Avenue and Sidegate Lane. We also lost the service in Inverness Road – home of the Ipswich prefabs – what has Judy Terry got against our senior citizens who live in the North East of our ward? First of all she wants to build a care home on top of their homes and also feels they do not need a library service. So maybe I should ask Judy Terry why she thinks we do not need a mobile library service serving the prefabs.

As she has not answered my five previous questions, I will post them again and add a question about the mobile library service. I am sure if Judy will not answer the questions her personnel spokesman Kevin Algar will – if he can take a break away from claiming that he influences Labour candidate selection!

Over to you Judy Terry (or Kevin Algar)

1. Why did she say Colin Noble had not visited the prefabs?

2. Why did she make an incorrect statements about the attendance of Tracy Grant without checking the facts?

3. Who are the two developers, did they approach her or did she approach them?

4. Are Care UK involved with the proposed care home?

5. Will the replacement 220 homes be council owned?
And the new one –

6. Why does she think Rushmere residents do not need a library service but Bixley ward still keeps a stop?

Kevin Algar has now added a footnote to his blog posts, a common practice once you are declared as a candidate- but what someone also should have told him is that you are not supposed to print inaccurate statements when you are a candidate - though his claim that Ipswich Labour have a special printer to make our leaflets look cheap - is comedy gold!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Helping local traders in East Ipswich

This evening we had a very productive meeting at the 'Taste' café on Woodbridge Road, the meeting was to see if we can help local traders, shops and businesses set up an organisation. Most of the early work had been done by Swaraj Jeyasingh and he had managed to get along a number of local traders.

The North East Ipswich area Committee is looking to help promote local traders and one idea was a local shops map. Swaraj has spoken at a recent Area Committee, pupils from Copleston then took this idea away and 3 young girls from Year 8 presented their map and plan tonight. A great slogan of 'Live local, shop local'

Now the pupils will be helped by a local Rushmere business and produce a mock up map, and then this will be presented to a future North East Ipswich Area Committee and then we hope the map can then be distributed to local residents


Live local, shop local

Monday, 25 March 2013

Tory Judy Terry accused of hypocrisy - by another Tory

It seems Rushmere councillor and Tory candidate for this years County Council elections, Judy Terry is not even popular amongst her Ipswich Tory colleagues. I do not normally poach articles or comments from other blogs, but the comment from former Tory Front bench portfolio holder Steven Wells on Ipswich Spy this morning was too brilliant not to re publish. Thank you Spy and Mr Wells for this golden comment:

Steven Wells, on March 25, 2013 at 8:30 am said:

Some good candidates in there. Just such a shame that one of them betrays their own words for just to suit herself and for political expediency.

The one things voters hate Ms Terry is when you say one thing in your manifesto, then argue against it, then when it comes to being elected again start to sing the same tune you did previously. It sums up everything that is wrong with modern politics and you are the perfect example of that!

Try to wriggle out of why your manifesto said effectively in 2006 ‘no to the Northern Fringe’ then you vote for the LDF which condemns it whilst viciously criticising the 6 Whitton and CastleHill Conservative Councillors who refused to cave in, only then to recently be spouting about protecting the Northern Fringe, Agricultural land and that there is no need to build on it.

Summary: If the voters see you for what you have really done – Political doom and Hypocrisy!

I could not have put it better myself!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Ipswich Prefabs and Judy Terry - 'Looking for Colin Noble'

On Thursday we held our latest North East Area Committee meeting and though we have had a healthy attendance at most of our meetings at this one we had over 70 residents attend, our best attendance so far.

Many attended for the first time and they came along to question Tory Councillor for Rushmere, Judy Terry about her statements in the local press about their homes – the much loved prefabs

These bungalow type houses were built just after the war and were at first were expected only to last 25 years but over 60 years later they are still going strong. Other prefabs in the town have been knocked down, but the proximity of the Rushmere prefabs tom the Suffolk countryside and the long gardens have made these dwellings much demanded.

The reason for the sudden interest in the prefabs is that Cllr Judy Terry mentioned her plan for their demolition and replacement with new houses and a care home at a Suffolk County Council meeting – now this is quite strange as the prefabs are the responsibility of Ipswich Borough Council and Richard Pope is the Tory spokesman for housing and he also seems to have been caught unaware by the plans of Judy Terry. She indicated that she already had been in discussion with two developers and a local architect and had even take her County colleague Colin Noble along to ask him advice on the site for a care home. ( a point of information it is worth reminding everyone that the prefabs sit 400 metres from two existing care homes that the County has handed over to Care UK and that Judy Terry sat on the planning committee that approved a care home to be built 200metres further up Humber Doucy Lane.)

Within hours of the Judy Terry making her proclamation of this new development in Rushmere (the announcement of this proposed development did seem to be another excuse to be used to back up the Tory view that the Northern Fringe development is no longer needed) residents were up in arms, and quite quickly Judy Terry had issued a press release to say all she was calling for was a debate about the future of the prefabs and was not calling for their demolition.

The press release was used by Ipswich Spy and even received a comment from her Tory colleague Colin Noble – who tweeted: “Cllr. Terry recently took me for a walk around the estate and shared her vision, I could not agree more with this campaign, clearly residents do what they can to make the best of the situation but Ipswich Borough Council should be ashamed to have these pre-fabs in their stock. Time to rebuilt, residents deserve better than the pathetic sticky plaster proposed by the Labour Leadership. “

Now what followed was number of letters from residents and ex residents of the prefabs, all unhappy with Judy Terry’s plan – many of the residents are some of our senior citizens (not all) and they were very concerned that were suddenly to lose their homes.
It quickly became quite obvious that her ‘vision’ for Inverness Rd was not one shared by the residents and this led to a number attending the area committee, two had also sent in formal requests for a detailed answer on the future of the prefabs from the council.

At the start of the meeting, one Tory councillor asked me why so many people were at the meeting showing that the Tory Group were oblivious to the uproar Judy Terry’s statements had caused.

As chairman of the committee, I read out the two questions and also the prepared answer I then allowed Judy Terry to comment. Her only line of defence was that she wanted to start a debate- not sure you start a debate by talking to two developers and getting plans drawn up before you speak to either the landlords (Ipswich Borough Council) or the residents.

Her excuses did not seem to please the residents and a number then asked Judy Terry a number of questions, one asked why she had taken Mr Noble round the area- Judy Terry said she did not know anyone called Noble, I then indicated that they meant her Tory County colleague, Colin Noble. She still seemed to deny that she had taken Cllr Noble round the area of the prefabs.

Two 24 year old sisters then stated that they were unhappy with Cllr Terry’s claim that the majority of the residents were aged or disabled. A number of the prefabs have been purchased from the council by the tenants and one lady who had purchased hers was almost in tears as she informed Judy Terry that her irresponsible comments had now made it impossible to sell her own home.

After 15 minutes of questions we had to move onto other agenda items but I allowed Judy Terry to make a closing statement, she then blamed a Labour councillor for saying that the homes need to be demolished. I then added the closing remarks to the debate, stating that we know the prefabs will not last forever but when we do make a plan for their future it will be the residents who will be the first to hear and they will be consulted. I then asked Judy Terry two direct questions in front of the audience, did she invite Colin Noble to visit the area and if she did not why did he say he had visited the area of the prefabs? She stated for the third time that evening she had not taken Cllr Colin Noble round the prefabs and did not know why he had said he had visited!

At the end of the meeting Judy Terry spent a number of minutes discussing the prefabs with residents as her two Tory colleagues seemed in a hurry to leave. I and my Labour colleagues also spoke to some very angry and upset residents who informed us that they would call for the resignation of Cllr Judy Terry at the next are committee.

An eventful meeting that left many of us shocked and rather unsure what Judy Terry had planned. We did not have to wait long – under 10 hours to be even more confuses! The next morning Ipswich Spy spoke to Judy Terry and reported her view of ‘prefab gate’. She now informed us that she had invited Colin Noble round the area of the prefabs (she had denied this in a direct question from me only hours earlier) she still stated that she only wanted to start a debate (no mention of developers and plans already drawn up). She also indicated that by myself saying the ‘prefabs will not last forever’ that we do have a plan and we were hiding it from the residents. Only a week earner she said she had only raised the matter because we did not have a plan!

She then accused Labour of inviting residents to the meeting (not that would be wrong) in a leaflet we had delivered on the estate – the leaflet we did issue to allay residents’ fears does not mention the area committee. (The false accusation about the Labour leaflet was then repeated by another Tory blogger here). But most upsetting was her comments on why Labour councillor Tracy Grant was not at the meeting, implying that Cllr Grant was scared to attend in case she was asked about her views on the prefabs. Again Cllr Judy Terry is wrong Cllr Grant had given her apologies over two weeks before the meeting and before Cllr Terry had raised the prefab issue. Tracy works for Suffolk Police and they are so short staffed she was not allowed to have time off for the meeting. I hope Judy Terry has the decency to apologise to Tracy Grant (this inaccuracy about the attendance of Cllr Grant was again repeated on an Ipswich Tory blog)

So it seems Colin Noble did visit the area of the prefabs and thinks we should be ashamed of these much loved houses – people’s homes!

This still leaves a number of questions for Judy Terry to answer;

1. Why did she say Colin Noble had not visited the prefabs?

2. Why did she make an incorrect statements about the attendance of Tracy Grant without checking the facts?

3. Who are the two developers, did they approach her or did she approach them?

4. Are Care UK involved with the proposed care home?

5. Will the replacement 220 homes be council owned?

Alasdair Ross and Sandra Gage looking for Colin Noble in Inverness Road

More worrying is that Judy Terry seems to have difficulty in remembering what she has written or what she has done. At the last Full Council we had #Flyergate where Judy seemed to forget what she had written only weeks earlier in her Flyer column (her excuse then was she must have written it last year and had forgotten what she said) and now we have even more worryingly her inability to remember inviting a fellow cabinet member round the Inverness Rd area. She also seems to have none or little support from her Ipswich Tory colleagues, the Tory housing spokesman, Richard Pope did not even know of her plans for the prefabs. Maybe the pressure is getting too much for her.

I hope she will use the comment section on this blog to answer the 5 questions I have asked, and also that she has the decency to apologise to Tracy Grant.

But I think that this episode shows that many residents no longer have confidence in her ability to look after their best interests- and that many of them will use their vote on May 2nd to say that she is no longer wanted as their elected representative.

Footnote: Cllr Tracy Grant could not attend the Area Committee because of her work for Suffolk Police but on the same night the Police and Crime Commissioner attended the South East Area Committee – but he also seemed to lack the support of his Tory colleagues as all 3 Tory Borough councillors in the South east failed to turn up!

My Month ahead - now till May 2nd, 2013

Allegedly we are now in Spring! Which means in Ipswich we start the final push towards another set of elections- this time for the Suffolk County Council.

Now as we approach April, it may even mean you bump into an Ipswich Tory activist, but that may depend on where you live in the town and you might even get to see one of their leaflets - but do not hold your breath if living in Gainsborough or Priory Heath. There might even be a rarer sight on the streets of Ipswich, a Lib Dem activist! But unless your walking on a street within sight of Christchurch Park you are unlikely to see the lesser spotted Lib Dem.

Ipswich Labour have continued to campaign since May last year and our results in Ipswich during the PCC elections indicates that the Ipswich public would rather be represented by a party that works all year round on behalf of the town rather than just appear during the month of April.

So last week we moved from campaigning two days a week to every day of the week- we will also be campaigning in EVERY WARD in the town, there are not any 'no-go' areas for Ipswich Labour.

Normal council work and meetings do continue and campaigning has to be fitted round these plus work- and also some downtime is needed to last through till May.

This week I have two meetings at Sidegate School plus later in the month I am taking a group of teenagers on their Duke of Edinburgh Gold expedition to Mid Wales. So until Mid May, I am suspending my weekly blog post - 'My Week ahead' now the blog post was heavily criticised by one Ipswich tory activist- but guess what? He has now copied the idea and posts his own 'week ahead' post each week.

But as from now till the 2nd May - it will have campaigning down on almost every day - I think you know what I will be doing each day without looking at a post and of course I hope to speak to many of you as I spend most evenings knocking on doors.

I will be working as hard as I can to help Ipswich Labour win every County Council seat in the town (and the wider county) in particular I will be fighting hard in Rushmere Ward to get our superb candidate Sandra Gage elected - a local resident who understand the concerns of her Rushmere neighbours - a skill (understanding residents concerns)that it has become obvious that our the current Tory incumbent Judy Terry does not possess - with the her latest statements about the Rushmere Prefabs yet another example of how out of touch she has become.

So on the 2nd May - Vote Labour - where ever you are in Suffolk but in particular in Rushmere Ward, Vote for Sandra Gage, local resident, community champion and Labour activist.

So on May 2nd - where ever you are in Suffolk- Vote Labour and in Rushmere Vote Sandra Gage - local resident, community champion and Labour activist.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Ipswich Prefabs - No cause for concern

Myself outside the prefabs in Inverness Road with local campaigner, Sandra Gage.

At the North East Ipswich Area Committee this week, a number of residents from the prefabs in Rushmere Ward attended, many to inform Tory Cllr, Judy Terry that they were not happy with her comments about their homes. Certain Ipswich Tories have since accused me of delivering a leaflet to the area of Inverness Road to invite residents to the committee meeting. Below is a copy of the leaflet and you can see there is no mention of the Area Committee - another Tory statement made without any evidence to back it up!

Dear Residents,

The highly-publicised call by Tory Councillor Judy Terry for the prefabs to be demolished, calling them ‘not fit for purpose’ has caused unnecessary alarm and anxiety among residents.

We want you to know that there is no cause for concern.

We agree with the statement made by Councillor John Mowles, the borough council’s Housing spokesman, on learning of Cllr Terry’s outburst:

“The prefabs are some of the council’s most challenging properties to maintain and as a responsible landlord we are constantly reviewing how best to keep them up to modern standards.

However, we know that the vast majority of our tenants living in these houses love them. Whatever we do in future will be done with their best interests in mind and in full consultation with them.

It is deeply irresponsible of Councillor Terry to start waving her ill-thought out plans around in public without any thought about the effect it would have on residents. It has caused a lot of distress for many elderly and vulnerable residents.”

What Cllr Terry got wrong:

• Her condemnation of the prefabs was made at a meeting of Suffolk County Council, who have no responsibility for housing

• She said the homes were unfit and even got her Tory colleague, Colin Noble, the county council’s Health and Adult Care cabinet member, to say that Ipswich Borough Council ‘should be ashamed to have these prefabs in their stock’

• She has obtained from architects a plan for redevelopment of the site

• Her insults have smeared the community and worried elderly residents.
What we say:

• The prefabs are fit for purpose

• They are very popular with residents

• Cllr Terry should know that when she comes out with her unconsidered thoughts about these houses she is talking about your homes.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Save our Post! Save Ipswich Sorting Office

The Ipswich sorting Office is under threat, with a likely plan of moving operations to either Chelmsford or Norwich. This could see the potential loss of 500 jobs and will also mean a much reduced service for Ipswich residents - where will you go to collect parcels? Ipswich residents lose the ability to post a letter as late as 7.30pm. When will our first post now arrive?

Plus we may lose the Ipswich postmark!

Now when campaigning to get elected as our MP, Ben Gummer was all for campaigning to save post offices, collecting signatures and then delivering them to Number 10 (for a photo opportunity) but he seems to have now opted out of this campaign to save our Ipswich Sorting Office - why?

Ipswich Labour has joined the CWU - The Communications Union in distributing 'Save our Post!' leaflets throughout the town - now you can do your bit - sign the petition to save our Sorting Office here

My week ahead 18 - 23 March 2013

Monday 18 March, 4pm – Culture Portfolio meeting
6pm - Labour Group meeting

Tuesday 19 March, 6pm – East Area Housing panel

Thursday 21 March, 7pm – North East Ipswich Area Committee, St John’s Church, Cauldwell Hall Road

Friday 22 March, 7pm – School quiz, St Helen’s Primary School

Saturday 23 March, 10.30am – Labour campaigning, South West Ipswich

With no Full Council this week the highlight will be the next North East Area committee meeting, we have had some success in getting things done for residents but I hope over the next 12 months we can focus on our North East Action plan and work towards achieving some positive outcomes for our three main priorities.

To achieve this it will require all nine councillors from the area, IBC Officers and residents working together, my concern is that some of the Tory councillors still wish the Area Committees to fail or just see them as a means of moving council money to their own pet projects.

This week at Scrutiny we looked at Area Committee’s, and from the start we could see that at least one member of the Tory group was more interested in scoring political points, in a leak to Ipswich Spy from the Tory Group they indicated that they were not happy that some of the Area Committee Chairs were on the Scrutiny committee, they also indicated that the chairs were refusing to stand down from the committee, if the Tory Group are going to leak information to Ipswich Spy they should leak the truth. The Tories had not mentioned that they were unhappy about myself and two of my colleagues sitting on Scrutiny, they did not actually mention it till the start of the meeting. Fortunately we had already approached the Legal Officers at the council and were told that we were able to sit on Scrutiny.

Questions for the Tory Group:

1. Why did they not ask the legal officers at the council about the issue before the meeting?
2. Why did they not raise the matter at the Scrutiny Steering meeting? – This may have been difficult as no opposition councillors turned up for steering- and the Tory member on steering is the Tory Group leader!

Area Committees are here to stay and if all councillors’ work together we can see achieve positive results in our own wards – let’s hope the Tories come to the meeting on Thursday with an attitude of getting things done for their residents rather than attempting to score cheap political points.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Latest Tory plan? Sell Portman Road

Our MP Ben Gummer has suggested that Ipswich Borough Council should sell Portman Road to the Ipswich Town FC in order to finance the compulsory purchase of waterfront land for redevelopment

Ben suggested this in an article in the Ipswich Star at the start of the week, MP Gummer says he believes the council should cash in on the ground in order to buy waterfront land close to Stoke Bridge for redevelopment: “I don’t want to tell the council what they should or should not sell, but we know the football club is keen to buy the freehold of Portman Road.”

This had led to a debate on Ipswich Town fans website TWTD, with most comments against the idea.

There are many reasons why I am against the plan both as a Councillor and an Ipswich supporter.

As a councillor I can see that buying the last disused buildings close to Stoke Bridge may help re-start development again on the waterfront but the same could be said if the council purchased the CO-OP building in Carr Street, this may give the town centre a boost.

It is believed the club offered a million pounds but currently the council gets £100 thousand a year from the club so with interest rates so low the council are getting a good return on their land already whilst the club have a long lease of over 100 years and are still paying a very low rent.

To be fair to Mr Gummer, Archant Press (the Star and EADT) are keen to kick start the waterfront development as they wish to sell their premises close to the river and Mr Gummer may have not come up with the plan on his own but Mr Gummer is keen to get the waterfront sorted as he has made it a big issue that he gets the Irish banks to work with others to see the ‘wine rack’ turned into a finished building. This might help and he would love to see building started again before 2015 – might be his only hope to make a fight of the election.

But as a Football fan I am very against the sale of the ground, just look at was happened at clubs Brighton, Chester, Darlington and Wrexham – fans left fighting to save their clubs- look at the current state of Portsmouth, the supporters trust have agreed to buy the club, but who owns the ground is holding the deal up and may see Portsmouth fold.
Brighton sold their ground and ended up playing in East Kent- miles from their Sussex home.

Marcus Evans has put plenty of money into the club but what if he sold his interests to a new owner? At least with the ground in the council ownership we know that an unscrupulous owner can’t sell the ground from underneath us.

So Mr Gummer seems to have come up with an idea without consulting supporters first, similar pattern immerging here – sound like Cllr Terry planning to knock down the pre-fabs in Inverness Rd without asking residents. Though Cllr Terry may use the same excuse Cllr Cenci used in defence of Mr Gummer – “ he may have been misquoted"

Sunday, 10 March 2013

My week ahead 11 - 17 March 2013

Monday 11 March, 4pm – Culture Portfolio meeting
6pm - Labour Group campaigning

Tuesday 12 March, 10am – Briefing on Ransomes
5pm – Sidegate Primary School Governor training

Thursday 14 March, 6pm – Scrutiny meeting at Grafton House

Saturday 16 March, 10.30am – Labour campaigning, North West Ipswich

This week we have just seen how desperate and divided the Ipswich Tory group is, Cllr Judy Terry declared at a Suffolk County Council meeting that we would not have to build on the Northern Fringe if we built on brown field sites or if we knocked down the pre-fabs in her own ward. She even went as far to say she had been in talks with architects and developers and she then got out the plans at a County Scrutiny meeting!

Now this was news to Ipswich Borough Council and also more importantly to the residents of the pre-fabs. Cllr Terry often goes on about a lack of consultation on certain issues, well it seems she had not mentioned the plan to any resident of Inverness Road, Sidegate Lane, Lanark Road or Humber Doucy Lane. She did take Cllr Colin Noble on a tour of the area and show him her great plan – but it also seems she has forgotten to inform any of her Tory colleagues on the Borough Council!

Part of the plan is also to build a care home – now Mr Gummer is promoting a Care Home 200 metres away and the County Council may be shutting a Care Home in Sidegate Lane. So is another care home needed in Rushmere?

So Judy Terry has just managed to scare the residents and upset many – she also leaves many questions unanswered – will the replacements be Council owned? What will happen to the current residents? Is this Ipswich Tory Group policy or just a plan she has hatched up with Colin Noble?

If this is part of a plan to stop building on the Northern Fringe? If so it seems strange that the plan revolves round upsetting many of the residents that she has been elected to represent.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

My week ahead 4 - 10 March 2013

Monday 4 March, 6pm – Labour Group campaigning

Thursday 7 March, 7pm – Ipswich and Suffolk Fabians meeting

Saturday 9 March, 10.30am – Labour campaigning in North West Ipswich

This week we have had the budget setting meeting of Full Council (more details of ‘Flyergate’ here) and we got to see how disorganised the Tory opposition is – and that was before their terrible result at Eastleigh on Thursday!

Much will be made by the Tories of how they have frozen Council tax at the County Council and also the neighbouring Tory District Council have also set a 0% rise. What they will not tell you is at the County they have made savage cuts including at a time when Suffolk schools sit at the bottom of the league table – a cut of £200,00 from the school improvement fund! In neighbouring District councils the same Tory Cllrs who voted for a freeze have put a rise to the tax claimed by Parish Councils- not something we can do In Ipswich and in Suffolk Coastal, they have put the rent up on beach huts- in some cases a 20% rise – and where do most beech hut owners live? Ipswich.

Over the next few weeks you will get the opportunity to tell councillors and activists your thoughts – well you will be able to tell members of the Labour Party your views, do not expect to see the Lib Dems wander far from the streets round Christchurch Park and the Tories may only be seen in 3 or 4 wards. But you will certainly be contacted by the Ipswich Labour Party, either on the doorstep or by phone or at the very least a leaflet.

Yesterday we had over 20 out in Westgate Ward plus small teams delivering in the South West and the best bit was that we had new members joining us out knocking on doors from an 18 year old 6th Former to a retired couple out for the first time. We also saw this at our final candidate selection meeting on Thursday, with far more applicants that seats available – a problem I am sure the Lib Dems and Tories in Ipswich do not have.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Fly(er)ing off the handle

Last Wednesday was the budget setting meeting of the Full Council in Ipswich. After savage cuts forced on us by Erick Pickles and the Tories – with Lib Dem support (though Eric seems to be ignoring his own 50 top tips!) we had to increase Council tax – this will help save frontline services and the cost to most residents will just be 9p a week.

The Tories had to withdraw their own alternative budget – as they only handed it in a few hours before the deadline! Now one Tory blogger has commented that Labour never presented an alternative budget in 7 years – forgetting that when the Tories/Lib Dems were in charge we were not able to see the accounts till the last minute whilst the Tories and Lib Dems have been involved in the budget making process through working groups and Scrutiny.

So no Tory budget but they did use the meeting to say where they would save money – scrap area committees seemed to be their number one plan – or it seemed their only plan.

But after their leader said scrap the committees and in particular the pay the chairs of those committees get it all started to unravel quickly. Cllr Vickery forgot it was the Tory leader who was the first to claim the Chair’s allowance. Cllr Cenci then also attacked the area Committee (but only a day later was tweeting how good the last SW Area Committee was) but then mentioned bringing back Area Forums (cost?) and then said it would be better to give Cllrs locality money – so no saving just moving money to a different pot!

The whole of the Tory response was turning into a farce, only saved by their former leader – Cllr Harsant making a speech that displayed any passion for this town.

When you thought it could get no worse for the Tories – Judy Terry rose to speak – she did not get off to a great start, quoting from confidential papers but then she mentioned her great money saving idea – only hold elections every four years – what price democracy? Many other types of council do hold elections every four years but it can lead to Cllrs being invisible for the first three years then suddenly appear at election time. With elections every year, it forces political groups to campaign all year long – of course with very few members the Lib Dems struggle to leave St Margaret’s and the Tories seem to have lost a large number of members and more importantly- activists, so in Rushmere we have only seen one leaflet in the 10 months since the last election and some wards have not seen anything for over a year. Maybe she thinks it will mean we will cancel next year’s election? Probably the only way she will save her seat!

So after we had heard all the great Tory money saving ideas – well the two of them – scrap area Committees and hold election every 4 years – David Ellesmere the Labour Leader took to his feet and indicated that Judy Terry had forgot to mention her plans to spend more money – a referendum on the Northern Fringe!

Straight away, I thought how strange – she wants to reduce democracy and have elections every 4 years then on the other hand she wants to hold an expensive referendum on a plan that originally had all party support! I also wondered why she had not proposed referendums on the sale of Kiln Meadow, the Wind Turbine contract or the sale of the Ipswich Bus Company.

When did Judy Terry suddenly become anti-development on the Northern Fringe? She was on the executive that put the original plan forward and voted for it – how do the 6 Tory Cllrs from the North West feel (well the 4 who are left) one of their members even gave up his front bench role over the plan. I guess her sudden change of heart is caused by realisation that she is in great danger of losing her seat in the May election – she even seems to have persuaded the County Council cabinet to suddenly become anti Northern Fringe development.

Now when David Ellesmere mentioned the referendum, Judy Terry quickly jumped to her feet to say she had not said that- Cllr Ellesmere told her she had put in her column in the Ipswich Flyer- she said she never wrote that (allegedly she thought David said her column in Ipswich Spy!) The Mayor eventually got her to stop behaving like Boris Johnson and to sit down. After the meeting David showed her the Flyer column. Still not happy she said she could not remember writing it and may have written it last year! Funny as she has a column each month and in the infamous column she mentions attending a meeting on the Northern fringe at the end of January! So much for last year!! She got caught out and instead of putting her hand up she has continued to keep digging- Cllr Cenci offered me some advice last week about engaging brain before writing- maybe she should phone her Tory colleague up before we read the April Ipswich Flyer- unless she wrote that column last year as well!

So let’s get this Northern Fringe debate straight – Judy Terry would rather see more houses built on brown field sites in the town rather than the Northern Fringe, so every spare space off Foxhall Road? St Clements? – So her own Rushmere residents will see more traffic and congested routes into town- Woodbridge Rd, Spring Rd and Foxhall Rd whilst her Lib Dem NIMBY friends on Westerfield Rd will have the occasional car? I hope Cllr Terry gets that message over to the residents of Rushmere, St Johns and Bixley at the next Area Committee!