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Blaxhall Newsletter

Autumn 2006 No.54 Edited by the Parish Clerk


Does size matter?

When Blaxhall Parish Council was formed in the 1890s it comprised nine elected members who represented over 500 villagers. In 2006 nine Councillors represent a much smaller permanent population of less than half that number. in common with many other parishes in Suffolk, Blaxhall is finding it increasingly difficult to attract people to participate on the local Parish Council. In 1999 ten candidates stood for election. Four years later in 2003 there were insufficient candidates for an election to be held and one person had to be "co-opted" onto the council to make up the full complement. Earlier this year a vacancy arose on the Parish Council and despite advertising the post and attempting to persuade individuals to come forward the position on the council has remained unfilled. Fewer than half of the current Council can claim to have been elected.

At the next meeting of the Parish Council on Wednesday 10th January we will be considering a proposal to reduce the size of the Council from nine to just seven Councillors. This would come into effect at next year's local council elections in May and would bring Blaxhall into line with other local parishes such as Campsea Ashe, Little Glemham, Parham and Pettistree who are each represented by just seven Councillors. They have recently been joined by Orford & Gedgrave which has already made the decision to reduce the number of seats on its Council from nine to seven.

The case for seven

In a small village like Blaxhall it is unnecessary to have such a relatively large proportion of villagers on the Council. With fewer seats to fill, it is more likely that sufficient candidates will be available to hold elections. A Council made up of democratically elected rather than co-opted members has more legitimacy If elections can be guaranteed every four years there is more opportunity for Councillors to be voted out, so there might be more incentive for them to work harder.

In any case, there is simply not enough work for nine Councillors to do!"

The case for nine

"Reducing the size of the Parish Council is a break with tradition. A larger Council provides more opportunities for people to get involved with local decision making. There is more chance that you will have a Councillor living near you in your part of the village, so making it easier to get your views and issues brought to the Council's attention. The more people there are on the Council the more representative the Council is likely to be of different age groups, genders, social backgrounds, etc. With more Councillors available it will be easier to get a quorum at meetings, allowing for non-attendance due to illness, work and family commitments, etc."

So what do you think, shrink to seven or stick with nine? Before the Parish Council makes what could be an historic decision, let us know your views. You can voice your opinions in the usual way by contacting the Parish Clerk or any of the current Parish Councillors. But remember: to retain a larger Council we need more active involvement from people like you. Would you be prepared to stand for election in May 2007?

Steve Smedley, Vice Chairman, Blaxhall Parish Council


"It is an offence to fail to clear up after your dog on land which is open to the air and into which the public -have access. Fixed penalty notice of £25 or you may be taken to court where the maximum fine will be £1,000."

Special dog bins have been provided to help maintain a cleaner safer environment. In Blaxhall these are at the playing field and opposite the Youth Hostel. Apart from being unpleasant dog "poo" is a health hazard! CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR DOG.

Allotment Open Meeting -6th Dec

All Blaxhall allotment holders, potential allotment holders and interested people are invited to an open meeting where a new allotment committee will be formed and key issues for allotment holders discussed. Please make a note in your diaries December 6th at 730 in the Village Hall.

The committee is being re-formed as there has been some time lapse since the last meeting and a new chairperson has had to be appointed. The key qualities of the chairperson are that they should be a parish Councillor, not have an allotment themselves (to avoid any risk of being accused of being partial in their behaviour) and to be able to chair meetings. I was appointed to the post at the last parish council meeting and hope those of you who know a thing or two about allotments can provide good information and guidance to help me ensure the meetings run efficiently.

Currently, my draft agenda includes - setting up a new committee - finance (including setting the level of charges and collection of fees) - new applications - aob. Please let me know if you would like anything else added to the agenda or if you would like to nominate someone (or yourself) to the committee. I don't imagine there will be many meetings a year (probably 2).

I look forward to seeing you there and getting the 2007 growing season off to a good start.

Lyn Gash 01728 746425

2006 FETE

It was pouring with rain when the caravans arrived, the wind was blowing when we set up the marques and we had heavy showers in the morning when we put up the stalls, but the weather relented in the afternoon and we had the customary sunshine for another successful Fete.

The people came in large numbers and, after Barrie Slatter declared the Fete open, they spent their money at the stalls, enjoyed the tun and games and delighted in the refreshments. Thanks to everyone's generosity we made £2,350. After expenses the amount was equally divided between the Church, Playing Field and Village Hall each receiving £688. Not bad for a small village!

There are too many people involved to mention everyone but I would particularly like to thank Sheila Scopes, who works so hard producing the ever popular refreshments and sorting out all the money we all take. I am also indebted to Joyce Iszard, Tim and Tilly Locker, Shirley Leeks, Doris Dunn and everyone else who have put in a great effort and supported me in so many ways. I was thrilled to receive a huge bunch of flowers from you all. Thank you very much for them and all that you have done to make the Fete such a success.

The vegetables show attracted large numbers of entries thanks to the hard work by Maggie and her helpers. There was a fine display in the marques and many prizes were awarded to a lot of different people. Very well done. After ten years I have decided that it is time for me to hand over the organising of the Fete to somebody else. We are looking for someone to take over the job and I wish them every enjoyment and satisfaction.

Clara Jenkins


Maureen Adie
Gary Borrett 687562
Graham Bowles 688192
Phillip Dunnett 688273 Chairman
Lyn Gash 746425
Shirley Leeks 688220
Steve Smedley 688751
Nigel Suckling 688317
Joyce Iszard 688452 Clerk