St John’s By-election

It was great to be out in the Saturday morning sunshine knocking on doors with James Harding, County Council candidate for St John’s. I have known James for just over a year and since then I have known him to be an engaging, enthusiastic and knowledgable young man. He spent many hours over many months helping my candidacy earlier in the year and it is a pleasure to repay the favour.
James would make an excellent County Councillor who would take his responsibilities seriously and would serve the people of St John’s with great pride.

Protecting our environment

I’m proud of our record of protecting our county’s environment. Suffolk is one of the most beautiful places in our country, having inspired artists, writers and musicians over the centuries. But we must continue to work hard if we are to fulfil our duty to protect it for future generations to enjoy.

Our energy-from-waste plant takes all of Suffolk’s domestic waste that cannot be recycled and rather than send it to landfill generates enough electricity to power 30,000 homes. As a result, the proportion of Suffolk’s waste that goes to landfill has fallen from 44% to just 1%.

We have invested in our historic market towns and the regeneration at Ipswich waterfront and we will continue our important work to conserve Suffolk’s scenic countryside.

We will work to encourage residents to lead healthier and more active lives by developing cycle networks, enabling more people to enjoy our environment.

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Improving bus and rail services

Suffolk needs a strong and reliable transport network. We need a transport network that can help our businesses thrive, but also help us all get out – visit friends, family and enjoy ourselves.

That’s why we have been working with Network Rail and train operators across our county as part of our campaign for the best possible train services for the people of Suffolk.

That’s why we have pledged to repair 1,000 miles of Suffolk’s roads over the next four years and set up specialist teams to deal with issues like drainage more quickly – keeping our roads in better repair and more accessible.

That’s why we continued our investment in community transport through our Connecting Communities scheme, which has extended services in rural areas, providing people with a reliable community transport service to get them to college, work and hospital.

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Improving education for our children

Suffolk Conservatives have outlined their plans for children’s services in Suffolk with a commitment to increase the percentage of Good or Outstanding Ofsted-rated schools to 100%.
Suffolk Conservatives will work closely with parents, teachers, school leaders and communities to raise educational standards further and equip young people with the skills they need for the jobs of the future.

“The best thing we can do for the next generation, regardless of their background, is good education. Regardless of where you start or want to go in life, an education in a good school is the best foundation to build on.
“In Suffolk we have already significantly raised standards of education across the county, from a low point only 3 years ago, to now having nearly 90% of our schools where we want them to be”.

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Support for vulnerable people

Suffolk Conservatives are set to invest £1bn over the next four years to support vulnerable people right across the county, building on the £60m invested to create ten modern care homes to provide care for the county’s most vulnerable.

The investment comes at a time of particular pressure for social care services and follows on the development of 10 modern care homes to support vulnerable people who can no longer remain in their own home.

“Providing social care services is one of the most critical functions of the County Council. This investment marks out this area as key for the future of our most vulnerable residents and demonstrates our commitment to ensuring they are properly cared for.

“Whether in their own home or in a residential home, we owe a duty to our vulnerable people to care for them in the way we would want our own relatives to be cared for.

“Residents in St Margaret’s & Westgate can be assured of our commitment to the right care at the right time and our commitment to giving people the support they need to remain independent for as long as possible”.

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Conservative Suffolk County Council Committed to Ipswich Northern Route

Ipswich Conservatives are delighted with Conservative-run Suffolk County Council’s commitment to improve transport movement in the Ipswich area and to deal with existing and expected congestion.

Other ideas to improve the A14 junctions around the town are also being developed by the county council working with Highways England.

The first stage of the northern routes study has considered the transport conditions, based on current planned growth and identified highway improvements, including the Upper Orwell Crossings.

Initial routes have been identified for a potential link between the A12 and A14; and are:

  • an inner corridor from Martlesham to Claydon
  • an middle corridor from Woodbridge to Claydon
  • and an outer corridor from Melton to Needham Market.

Chris Chambers commented –

This is fantastic news and something the Labour led Borough Council should take note of and stop with its ridiculous northern fringe development plan. I have always said, the northern fringe development should NOT go ahead until a northern relief road has been built. I hope a Conservative led county council can work with Conservative MP Ben Gummer to get this northern route done quickly so we can continue to move Ipswich forward.

Ben Gummer MP has commented –

“We’ve had good news recently on the Upper Orwell Crossings.  But I promised two new routes at the last election: one across the river and one around the top of the town.  I want to update you on where we are with that second vital pledge.

“Let’s start with some simple facts.  Leaving aside the merits of a new road for a minute – and I shall return to them shortly – you have to be very, very sure you need one before you start to build.  Roads have the potential to cause the demolition of buildings, cover hundreds of acres in tarmac, eat up farmland, put natural habitats at risk, divide communities and cause significant, unpleasant noise.  So if a new road is proposed, the first question you need to ask is “is it absolutely necessary?”  If the answer to that question is “yes”, then your second question must always be: “how can we build this road so that it does the least damage possible?”

“So, how does this apply to a new road around the top of the town.  Each of us knows about the increase in congestion around the north of the town, and when the Orwell Bridge is shut the town comes to a halt.  These are strong arguments on their own but what is stronger still is the prospect of growth: if the town is to expand, which is surely will in the years ahead – and not by a little but by a great deal – then we simply cannot do that without new infrastructure.

“I came to this conclusion shortly after I was elected in 2010, when the scale of the Northern Fringe and what followed it became clear.  At the time, both councils refused to think about a new road – frightened, I suppose, by what it would entail.  I didn’t feel we could dodge the question, however, which is why I lobbied them hard to get the planning process started.  In 2015 they agreed and commissioned an outline route survey, the simple results of which are shown in the picture.

“We are now in the process of discovering which route to choose.  Given that the report already indicates that the ‘Lower’ and ‘Middle’ routes are the best, I believe we have a simple choice: which one can be delivered most quickly, with least pain and damage to the communities and habitats it will affect.

“This will clearly be a difficult discussion for those people who live and own land to the north of Ipswich.  We must all be sensitive to that.  But we should also be straight about what would happen if we do not build.  Their villages and country lanes will become increasingly clogged with rat-running traffic, creating precisely the nuisance that they fear from a new road.

“But as the report makes quite clear, the effect would be even worse on Ipswich.  Given that it is our county town that is the largest engine of jobs, prosperity and opportunity in the county, stifling that growth would also have the effect of limiting the opportunities and prosperity of the villages and market towns too.  For if the county wants the school, college and university places, the careers, the parks and museums, the shops and restaurants, the cinemas and the theatres, that Ipswich already provides and will do so much more of in the years to come, then Ipswich must be helped to prosper and grow.

“More than that, if we are to have the new houses that people need, the starter homes that will mean that everyone has the chance of having a place of their own, then we need to build.  And if those homes are not built around Ipswich, then they will be by the hundred in the same villages and by the thousands in the same market towns that are seeking to protect themselves from excessive growth.

“So, having made a decision we need a new road – not just for the good of Ipswich but for Suffolk too – we must now choose a route that realises that end as quickly and positively as possible.  I will push hard for that decision and then, as quickly as possible, for that decision to turn into reality.”

Only a Conservative County Council working with our Conservative MPs and Conservative councillors can be trusted to deliver on this long-term project  – Labour , supported by Liberal Democrats, would put it all at risk with their dangerous plans to spend all the Council’s reserves leaving no money for all the essential services and investment the town and County need.

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Taking care of Suffolk’s roads

Over the past year, we renewed more than 300 miles of roads across Suffolk at a cost of £10m and we are already working on upgrading more of the county’s road network this summer.

Suffolk Conservatives undertake to repair 1,000 miles of roads – a quarter of the county’s network – over the next four years.  We are setting up specialist teams to focus on the areas such as drainage so we can bring our roads up to a good standard more efficiently.

Chris Chambers said, “I am proud of our record on roads – in the last year alone we have fixed more than 300 miles of road and urgent faults are repaired within five working days.

“In the next four years we will fix 1,000 miles of road right across the County, as we continue to improve our roads.  This means better repairs for St Margarets & Westgate”.

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Taking care of your money

Suffolk Conservatives are proud of their financial record, freezing Council Tax for a full seven years in a row. As we prepare to enter the new financial year and look ahead to future challenges, we remain committed to being a low-tax county; making services more efficient and effective rather than just cutting budgets.

Chris Chambers said, “In future years, we will increase Council Tax by only the barest amount to ensure that Council Taxpayers are only asked to pay more for our services.
“In St Margarets & Westgate this means we can focus more money on critical services such as social care, education, local libraries”.

Last year we increased the budget for both adult social care services and children’s services and we have done so again, ensuring we are investing in our critically important, front-line services. Although there are difficult times ahead, our prudent financial management will see us through and allow us to continue providing these services into the future.

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