Sunday, 27 May 2012

My week ahead 28 May - 2 June 2012

Monday 28 May 6pm - Labour campaigning - East Ipswich

Tuesday 29 May 4pm - Meeting with residents at Taste cafe, Woodbridge Road

Thursday 31 May 10am - Meeting at Grafton House, setting agenda for the next North East Area Committee

Saturday 2 June 10.30am - Labour campaigning in South East Ipswich
2pm - Attending the Womens Gymnastics International at Gainsborough Sports Centre
7pm - Reception for gymnasts at Ipswich Town Hall

The sun has arrived at the right time as it has enabled me to get out most evenings delivering my 'thank you' letters to Rushmere residents. I also attended a number of Labour Group meetings plus planning committee training.

I also went along to the Town Hall to queue for my Olympic Torch tickets, over 7,000 were issued plus we have a further 5,000 to give out to local schools and sports clubs.

The Olympic build up in Ipswich continues this week with our female gymnasts competing in an internation tournament at the Gainsborough Sports centre, I will be attending on the Saturday before flying to Berlin on the Sunday.

Good news for Chantry School but Tories still can't be trusted on Education

First of all I must start by congratulating Mr Gummer our MP for managing to get Chantry on the list of schools to be either re-built or refurbished. A number of the local Tory blogs have been critical of the Ipswich Labour/my response to the good news. It is good news and we join the staff, pupils and parents in welcoming the news even if it is two years late.

But we would be failing as local politicians if we did not highlight some of the many problems we are facing because of the way Gove and the Tory run Suffolk County Council manage education in Ipswich.

Chantry is good news but we have a number of questions that need answering:

The Ipswich Academy/Holywells new school building has seen their budget cut and is now reliant on Ipswich Borough Council assisting to get the project up and running.

Will Stoke High be refurbished? It has not made the new Tory list. Nor has Westbourne, a Tory blogger pointed out to me that Westbourne is not an issue for Mr Gummer because the school is not in his Ipswich constituency. Not sure the residents of Westgate ward (in his constituency) whose children go to Westbourne will have the same view.

Westbourne - not on the list

1. When will Chantry start to be re-built? It is not on the priority list of 42 schools.

2. What will the budget be? Will it face the same problems that Holywells/Ipswich Academy is currently facing?

3. Will it be a PFI project? Much criticised by the Tories but still being used.

4. It is believed that the schools that are in the list will be built in ‘regional bunches’ – does that mean local builders will miss out on work opportunities and does that mean the County Council and the school will have little say in the build and we will be left with the IKEA type flat pack builds that seem to be currently favoured?

I have little faith in how the County runs education in Suffolk, the way that Tory Cllr Spicer voted to get rid of Middle Schools (a decision that I agree with) but she is now promoting the setting of Free ‘Middle’ Schools. It is even worse in the East of the county, where we have the Tory MP for Suffolk Coastal praising Gove for setting up Free schools whilst the Tory MP for Waveney (and the Tory County Council leader) stating there is no need for a Free school in the Beccles area.

We even have the County putting undue pressure on parents to send their children to Free schools by only paying the transport costs to the nearest school – so much for choice!

But what has that to do with Ipswich? We currently have not heard of any Free School being set up in our town but the point is the County are spending money and Officer time on consultations, handing over middle schools, promoting Free Schools – all from the budget to provide education to all Suffolk children – so we have money that should be spent on Ipswich pupils being used to promote Tory ideological education policies.

Tory bloggers have criticised me for not congratulating Mr Gummer (I have) but they seem to forget the new Suffolk One – 6th Form Centre, that caters for all pupils in the west of the town (plus the building of UCS and Suffolk New College) – all built with funds from a Labour Government.

The Tories and Gove in particular can’t be trusted with the education of our children; we have seen the hideous way they have helped the Seckford Charity set up Free Schools in the Beccles area even though there is no public demand for them.

Other Tory educations measures have seen:

• Cuts leading to 10,000 fewer teachers working in the profession in the last year.

• The dreadful misuse of the Academy programme - dreadful waste of money. Where school are spending considerable amounts in consultancy fees, legal fees and management time to effectively maintain the school as it was in every respect as to how it is managed.

• Replacement of teaching "quality standards" with another set of standards which are almost entirely agreed upon to be less clear [these are the standards that teachers are judged upon to initial qualify and later get pay increases up the pay scale]

• The complete dismantlement of the national strategies site - which had fantastic resources and work being done from it. No replacement for this means that schools are effectively not accountable for so many different aspects of their work.

The Labour Party must join with parents, pupils and concerned residents in highlighting what the Tories are doing to our education system – how long before we see the return of Grammar schools in Suffolk?

So well done Mr Gummer on getting Chantry on the list but that is one good thing your Government has done for our children whist most of the decisions Mr Gove has made are harming our children.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

GOLDEN KEY LATEST - Greene King lodges appeal

I was informed this week that Greene King has decided to appeal to the Secretary of State against the decision of the Ipswich Borough Council to stop the Golden Key being turned into a supermarket.

The main reason given for the appeal is that “the proposal will not have any unacceptable impact in respect to highway safety and will not lead to substantial additional vehicular traffic.”

I will be sending a representation to the Planning Inspector. Please let us know if there is anything you wish me to say or, alternatively, you can write to the Inspector yourself.

Details below:

Details of the appeal

APPEAL BY: Greene King PLC

SITE: Golden Key Public House, 438 Woodbridge Road

PROPOSAL: Part demolition of existing buildings, change of use to retail unit (Class A1), installation of ATM facility, erection of extension, alterations and associated parking and servicing


PINS REF: APP/R3515/A/12/2174644/NWF

If you wish to make your own representations, you should send 3 copies of your letter to: The Planning Inspectorate, 3/09 Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN by 14th June 2012, quoting the PINS REF above.

Alternatively, there is an online service that you can use to comment on this appeal: On line service here

Sunday, 20 May 2012

My week ahead, 21 -27 May 2012

Monday 21 May 4pm - Culture Portfolio meeting
6pm - Campaigning in South West Ipswich
8pm - Labour Group meeting

Wednesday 23 May 1230pm - Planning committee training

Thursday 24 May 7.30pm - Suffolk Fabians Meeting -Adele Cook: “Punishment & Reform”

Saturday 26 May 10.30am - Campaigning in East Ipswich

This week we had the annual 'Mayor making' and we also got tot see if there were any changes in the Tory frontbench- there was and we also heard that some of the Tories were unhappy with the committe placings - more on that later.

Had a school reunion this weekend, and a number of those attended wre not surprised that I had ended up as a Labour councillor, they probab;ly remembered that I was campaigning for the party even when I was at school, here I am with Ken Weetch in Carr Street in about 1976. I am on the far left as you look at the picture with my mum, Annie Ross in the middle.

Thursday, 17 May 2012


Belvedere and Parade Road
May 2012


A planning application has been received that is seeking to build two houses behind 40 Belvedere Road,

The residents at the bottom of Belvedere Road and those living in Parade Road will be the most affected but all of us who have to drive along Belvedere Road, know how narrow the road is at this point and could be affected by the erection of two new houses.

The application number is 12/00369/FUL and you can look at the plans via this link:

Application then just type in the application number.

I would be interested in the views of residents; I know many of you are already concerned about building on back gardens in East Ipswich. The consultation period ends on the 23rd May. You can reply direct to the council or via me.

Brunswick Road to celebrate the Queens Jubilee

Residents of Brunswick Road and surrounding roads

Brunswick Road Community Group thought it would be great if residents could join as a community to celebrate the Queens Jubilee by having a table top garden sale on Monday 4th June 2012 between 10am-1pm followed by a picnic on Brunswick Road Park at 2pm

Queen’s Jubilee

Table Top Sale

MONDAY 4th JUNE 2012
10am – 1pm

Followed by picnic on the park at 2pm

Participating roads:

* Brunswick Road * Beverley Road * Whitby Road * Somerset Road
* Kingsgate Drive * Lancing Avenue * Queensgate Drive * Stuart Close

• Toys • Electronics
• Clothes • Bric-a-brac
• DVDs / CDs • Fabrics
• Tools • Plants
• Books • Food/Drink
• Baby items • Anything else

Come and join in the celebrations

For further details

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Why Labour won the Election in Ipswich

The election now seems ages ago but it was just 10 days ago that the people of Ipswich put their trust in a Labour run administration in the town.

A number of other local websites have already posted and debated why Labour did so well or as in most of their blogs – how bad the Tories and Lib Dems did!

There is no doubt that the national political picture helped Labour in Ipswich and the Ipswich Tory website is already blaming their defeat on the economy and other Tory bloggers on ‘mid-term blues’. But even after 12 years of a Labour Government, we were still holding our own in Ipswich. The Tories have only been in (shared) power for 2 years.

It can be quite amusing for us to watch the other political groups tear each other apart as they look at someone to blame. We have the former Ipswich Tory Chair blaming Cameron and closer to home Cllr Terry, we have the Tory Gipping candidate blaming the wet day and then launching a very personal attack on the former Tory activist who writes for Ipswich Spy and then to top it off we have the independent candidate blaming the mother of the Lib Dem candidate.

The Lib Dems got their excuses in before polling day, blaming the heavy rain for their lack of door knocking – nothing to do with a lack of members then?

As I said before there is no doubt the weak budget and the poor leadership of Cameron did cause the Tory vote to stay at home and many will now believe in Ipswich that the Lib Dem vote will never recover from joining the Tories in a coalition. In most of the Borough they now find themselves in fourth place behind the Greens.

But the success of Labour in Ipswich can also be put down to the hard work we put in, not just in the 5 week ‘short’ campaign but every week since 2010, in fact we had increased our work and started more focusing campaign in 2004.

We had an increase in members and activists after the General Election defeat in 2010 and it was good to see a number of those who joined IN 2010 elected to the Borough Council last week. But I would also put down our success to our discipline, we do not agree on everything but our arguments/discussions are kept within the Labour Group room, compare that to the latest Tory in fighting and the reported in-fighting over the Bixley candidate selection.

That loyalty and feeling of being a united group helps create a great campaigning team- each day of the campaign (even in the rain) we had up to 20 members out all over the Borough, and on a number of occasions we had over 35 members out. The national party also helped with the visits of two ministers and our MEP. We saw the Tories out on the doorstep but obviously short in numbers (and morale). The most I ever saw was 7, and they looked very disorganised. There may be more Tory supporting blogs but even on the Social Media front we were way ahead, the Lib Dem website only re-launched a few weeks before the campaign and the Tory website never had any mention of the election or candidates – it still has Tanya Maclure down as a councillor.

On twitter- we kept our supporters updated on local news and on how the campaign was going. We even had twitter followers join us out on the doorstep.

I do not want to give the Tories (and Lib Dems) advice on how to campaign and win elections but maybe they just have to see what we were doing yesterday- 20 of us out in South West Ipswich delivering leaflets- just 9 days after the election and the Lib Dems can’t even use the ‘heavy rain’ excuse this weekend for their lack of activity.

So why we may amuse ourselves smiling at the Tory in-fighting we will continue to campaign hard with the Suffolk County Council elections and the 2015 General Election as our next two key targets.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Thank you Rushmere

It was very humbling on Thursday, to be given such a massive vote of support by the residents of Rushmere Ward, Ipswich:


CHAMBERS Conservative 746
NELSON Green 138
ROSS Labour 1293

This gives me a majority of 547, slightly more than my 13 of 2008!

The turnout nationally was poor but in Rushmere we had a turnout of 37%, the second highest in the town.

I would like to say that Chris Chambers, my Conservative candidate is the sort of young person we want involved in local politics but I do believe he was misled about the aim of their campaign, a view that I seem to share with leading Tory blogger Gavin Maclure.

In Ipswich, Labour gained 4 seats (3 off the Tories and one off the Lib Dems) and the Greens pushed the Lib Dems back into fourth place in a number of seats.
Now the hard work starts plus our campaign to win more seats in the Suffolk County Council elections next year.

I would like to thank all my Labour colleagues for their support over the last few months but a special mention to Rushmere residents like Gemma and Sandra who volunteered to help over the campaign – I will continue to work as hard as I can for the residents of Rushmere.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

A cross for Ross for Rushmere

9 Hours to go and then the polling stations open, I hope residents believe I have been a good councillor and that they feel they can vote for me again this year. I won by 13 votes in 2008, hope it is not as close this year. A CROSS FOR ROSS FOR RUSHMERE
Promoted by John Cook c/o Ipswich labour Party, 33 Silent Street, Ipswich, IP1 1TF on behalf of Alasdair Ross and the Labour Party Candidates, . Hosted (printed) by (Google Inc) of 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043 who are not responsible for any of the contents of these posts