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Response from Suffolk CC re Clare Country Park and Rodbridge Picnic Site

The following email was recently forwarded to FLAG members. It is published here as it has relevance to our whole community.

As a direct result of FLAG requesting that the PC support a motion opposing Suffolk County Council’s proposals to drastically reduce its funding to its public parks and other open spaces, our parish clerk John Geddes, wrote to Suffolk CC expressing the PC’s concern.

Suffolc CC’s response is reprinted below.

It would appear that, as with the forest issue, the public body responsible, in this case Suffolk CC, has responded to the strong expression of public concern over these much loved amenities. Although the council has voted to withdraw funding, it nevertheless seems to be working hard to address the impediments that might otherwise prevent voluntary bodies from taking on responsibility for these spaces such as public liability insurance for instance. In this regard things do not appear to be as bleak as might otherwise have been the case. Indeed, judging by the organisations that have expressed an interest in taking on these amenities, there is every reason to believe that they will continue to be available to us for the foreseeable future.

Your committee therefore thanks you for your support.

Dear Mr Geddes

Thank you for raising the concern of Foxearth and Liston Parish Council with regard to the future of Clare Country Park and Rodbridge Picnic Site which has been passed to me by John Laws. Please rest assured that we are listening to people and know how important these and all of our other sites are to the community. By listening and acting upon the feedback Suffolk County Council will be reinforcing its priority to do its utmost to secure a solution that maintains the future use of these sites as community assets.

We had some very good feedback at our information event held a couple of weeks ago and we were delighted to see community organisations with an interest in particular sites discussing making joint proposals and we are encouraging such proposals. Also, as a result of feedback to date, we are putting in place arrangements for community organisations to access independent legal advice and we are considering how we might advise communities on securing public liability insurance. We recognise that some of the buildings and structures on the sites are financial liabilities e.g. Clare Castle and we accept that considering how we will deal with such structures is an issue that community organisations will want to raise in their proposals.

Please rest assured that Suffolk County Council is not looking to withdraw funding of any of its sites from 1st April 2011. We are, however, looking to work with community organisations to take these assets on in the future. We recognise that some communities will want to talk to us about more than one service (i.e. youth clubs, school crossing patrols, libraries) and in these cases, the process will take a little longer and we will be looking to use transition funding to ensure that communities get the time they need to work up their proposals.

The county council is looking to work flexibly with local communities to enable them to produce sustainable, community based, solutions and local councillors will be involved in all decisions made about the country park or recreation site in their area.

If you would like us to keep you informed of any progress on the future of Rodbridge picnic site and Clare Country Park, please let us know. In the meantime, if you have any further concerns or queries, please get in touch with us.

Kind regards,

Marie Finbow

Project Manager

Country Parks and Recreation Sites

Foxearth on the Telly

The following letter was recently sent to FLAG members. It is repeated here for general information.
Dear FLAG Member,
This is to let you know that BBC Look East will be doing a piece on the current state of rural broadband services which will go out on tomorrow evening’s edition (21 Feb 6:30pm).
Foxearth was chosen as a community that has successfully addressed the problem of the poor internet connection speed and reliability commonly found in our villages and hamlets.
We hope that not too much footage has ended up on the cutting room floor.

An Election Message from Foxearth & Liston Action Group (FLAG)

Dear FLAG Member or Foxearth & Liston Resident,

This year is Parish Council Election Year. We will all have our chance to vote on 5th May. However, there can be no election without candidates.

A healthy Parish Council is one where the members have been voted in by their constituents which means that the seats have been contested. Where there are insufficient candidates, no election can take place. Those candidates that do stand are then co-opted on to the council but such a council will not have stood the essential democratic test of being chosen by its electorate. This will have an adverse effect on its influence and make it more difficult to get things done.

We clearly do not want this to happen in Foxearth & Liston so this is an invitation to those residents who may be minded to do what they can to make a difference in our community. You do not need any skills or qualifications; just a commitment to work for the good of the community.

You can find links below to some pamphlets published by Essex Association of Local Councils which will tell you more or you can contact FLAG (

You can also join FLAG. It costs £5 per household per annum. Membership is open to all residents within the parish. You will receive periodic newsletters and you will be able to have your say on any matter of community interest. FLAG undertakes community projects on behalf of its members subject to a two/thirds majority vote.

Why not come and join us.

Foxearth & Liston Action Group

Do Councillors Need Special Skills?

What is a Parish Council?

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Why Should I Vote?