Babergh district councillor Alastair McCraw's latest ward report from Brantham

By Alastair McCraw (Independent Councillor)

23rd Jan 2023 | Opinion

Garden waste collection and example of needed cost increases
Garden waste collection and example of needed cost increases



Babergh District Councillor Alastair McCraw

Surely, it can only be an improvement on last year? This February report is always one of the hardest to write. Written in early January, seen as late as February and dealing with stuff from December. Sometimes, it seems a long time ago.


The biggest subject we discuss at this time of year is preparation for the 2023-24 Budget. Multiple possibilities are examined in planning this. Now that we have the Government settlement figures for the year, we're rapidly approaching the point where it can be presented. It will go through the process of examination by Overview and Scrutiny before Cabinet are ready to present it to the full council. I'll report on that fully when it's ready. It's a necessary piece of business so we can present a balanced budget and continue to provide services. 

Initially, the Cabinet will be discussing our Fees and Charges for a range of services. Many, and the important ones really, are set nationally and deal with licensing and building control amongst other statutory areas. The biggest change most people are likely to notice is a £2 increase (to £ to the Garden waste collection charge. It's been a very popular service for people who have gardens, attracting new subscribers every year. New subscribers will have a one-off charge of £69 for the first year for the cost of the brown bin. These fees and charges will bring in over £4M, about 11% of the gross expenditure, aimed to be as fair as possible.


Babergh have adopted an updated Tenancy Policy. Our tenants need the security of a clear understanding of their tenancy so they can plan for their futures, and we can make the best use of our limited supply of homes. Secure tenancies and good management ensure this.

In another housing thread, we've obtained funding from the Local Government Association for a county wide housing strategy review. Not a lot, truth be told. There are properties everywhere that are available for rent or purchase, long-term empty, or second homes. In total, in Suffolk they number around 13,000. Despite this, we have people in unsatisfactory, unsuitable, accommodation and the facing threat, or reality, of homelessness. All the Councils seek to address this by working together to increase access to genuinely affordable property. 


Our environmentally friendly fleet of bin lorries provide a rather reliable service that we should be proud of. A recent competition saw 400 suggestions of names for these. 22 were chosen as winners and have been so labelled. My favourites include Ed Sheerbin, Lord of the Bins, Stranger Bins and Binnie the Pooh, but that's just me. Full list available on the website. Have fun (?) spotting them. It's a bit of fun, which we all need. Funny how I always find myself returning to Waste collection.


I recommend the expansion of Gainsborough House, now fully open. The Cabinet visited in December, Babergh having enabled further funding by its efforts. The display of the heart of the Gainsborough collection backed with a Sudbury Silk lined wall is magnificent. We went on to see the solar panel covered car parking spaces at the Kingfisher Centre. They alone will supply 16% of the energy use for the swimming pool and leisure complex, also providing car charging. The roof panels provide a further 14%.


I draw your attention again to our End of Term report which you can find here

Or try the website, or contact me and I'll email you a copy as a pdf. It's both useful and informative, I trust. / / 0300 123 4000 /

If you need to tell me anything important, or ask about something, please just phone or email me. Should you spot any of my bike stable, come over and say hello. Happy to talk, as we all know.

Alastair McCraw. 07812 564188 or 07548 154296 [email protected]

Facebook: Alastair McCraw, Independent Councillor


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