Sunday 28 July 2013

Be alert - Burglaries in the area of Sidegate Lane, Ipswich

From an email I sent to Rushmere residents today:

Over the last week we have had a number of attempted burglaries in our area.

Residents in Whitby Rd and Beverley Rd have reported suspicious behaviour on their excellent community facebook page and the police have informed me that there has been a spate of burglaries or attempted burglaries in Rushmere over the last 3 days - in Hutland Rd, Stradbroke Rd and Sidegate Lane.

In two of the incidents it seems the intruder entered the house by an open door.

If you see anything suspicious in the area report it to the local police by calling 101.

Please be extra observant during the hot weather when more doors and windows may be left open and please check on neighbours especially if they are living on their own or you feel are vulnerable.

Thank you for your help

Cllr Alasdair Ross

Tories at war – with each other!

Yesterday Ipswich Tory activist, Kevin Algar posted a blistering attack on his fellow Ipswich conservatives.

It will not make great reading for Ben Gummer and Tory leader, Chris Stewart. Gummer needs a unified Tory Group for any chance of making it a contest at the General election in 2015 and the comments by Algar show that Chris Stewart (and constituency chair- Liz Harsant) have little control over local Tories with very little self-discipline being shown by Tory members.

Ipswich Tory councillors may just place their heads in the sand and think this is just a one off attack by a disgruntled member but it does follow on from James Spencer (Bridge Ward) no longer feeling he can stand for the Tories.

It is not only within the local constituency they seem to be falling out, all over Suffolk they have members unhappy with Dan Poulter and Ben Gummer voting for the legalisation of Gay marriage and in the last two weeks there has been a fall out between Ipswich and Suffolk Tories over plans for traffic lights in parts of Ipswich.

It was not long ago that Ben Gummer was attempting to take all the credit for the massive investment in traffic infrastructure in Ipswich but strangely he has gone very quiet since his own constituency Chair has taken a dislike to certain parts of the scheme- from what I can seethe main issue is the attitude of Suffolk Tories who do not seem to believe in public consultation, especially with residents of Ipswich or Lowestoft.

Going back to the outburst by Kevin Algar, he accuses the local Tories of having no policies or any interest in coming up with any and accuses the Tory Group of failing to be a formidable opposition to the Labour Party, his feelings are best summed up with this comment about the Tory Group: “utterly shambolic and pathetically weak. One of the reasons Ipswich Conservatives abstain in votes so often is the fact that they have no policies and don’t believe there is a need for any “

Now some would say why the sudden outburst he seemed very happy with the direction the local Tories were going at the start of the week, one local Tory councillor put it down to him being drunk! But it seems it is because he has just found out that he has not been selected to stand in the local elections next year.

Not sure why the Tories have dropped him, he has stood for them in Chantry and Gipping in both the County and Borough elections and though I agree with very little he says he does seem one of the keenest of their very few activists.

Now today, Kevin seems to have mellowed and gone back to his normal anti-Labour posting and informing us that he will still be campaigning for Ben Gummer in 2015. The trouble for Gummer is will other local Tories want him helping on the campaign. Algar also does bring up the thorny subject of Ipswich Spy and the main contributors close links with a number of the Tory Group. This issue is one that seems to continue to cause trouble within the Tory ranks.

Kevin now seems to be backtracking fast and will probably be out delivering again for the local Tories by next week (if they will have him) and I for one hope he continues – even just for the comedy value he adds.

The classic was this week, I used twitter to wish our candidate in the Hadleigh Town election ‘good luck’ –Angela has worked hard with a number of volunteers to improve the Labour presence in this South Suffolk town, Kevin read this and quickly tweeted: ‘If you live in North Ward of Hadleigh Suffolk, get out and Vote Conservative.’

Trouble for Kevin, he had made the effort to find out it was North Ward but what he failed to check was the list of candidates – and so he went very silent when we informed him that no Tory candidate was standing, but looking at his tweets today I am sure he will provide us with many more comedy moments.

What the local Tories do about him will be more interesting, will they put an arm around his shoulder and welcome him back or as they have done with others like Paul Carter just ignore him?

Trouble with the social media he will never be far away and he has just tweeted that the Tories had asked him to deliver leaflets for a whole ward – making the local Tory Party seem not that organised not the sort of image Ben Gummer would like to see portrayed and last night Cllr Cenci was telling us, Kevin was wrong and they have a very organised delivery team! Someone is not telling the truth – Kevin or Nadia?

Currently Australian Cricket is the laughing stock of sport, and so bad that some people are starting to feel sorry for them, don’t – the Aussies made us suffer for years. Similarly now some would say don’t feel sorry for the local Tories – and I don’t but the residents of Ipswich are being let down when the opposition can’t even agree amongst themselves let alone contribute to helping run Ipswich in difficult times.

I am sure that even with their limited presence on social media that this weekend Mr Gummer and leading Tories will be discussing the attacks by Algar – what they do about it will be more interesting!

My week ahead 29 July - 4 August 2013

Monday 29 July - 6pm, Labour campaigning, East Ipswich

Tuesday 30 July – 9am, Campaign Day in Oulton Broad for by-election

Wednesday 31 July – 10am – Visit to Christchurch and Holywells Park

Saturday 3 August - 10am, Labour campaigning, South West Ipswich

This week had an enjoyable evening with the Ransomes sequence dancing club, the Council have helped them find a temporary location at Gainsborough sports Centre whilst they wait for IBC to take over the running of the Ransomes Sports Club.

The members of the club made myself and the Mayor very welcome and told us how they were looking forward to going back to Ransomes once the legal situation is sorted out. The club are also happy about our proposals on how the site will be run and the improvements we have planned for what has become a very ‘tired’ pavilion.

The local Tories seem to be in disarray, local splits in the Ipswich group over the selection/de-selection of candidates for the Borough elections next year and more worrying for the residents of Ipswich seems to be the breakdown of trust between the Suffolk Tories and Ipswich Tories. This has caused a major fall out over the Tory run Suffolk plans to introduce lights on Bishops Hill and the removal of the mini roundabouts on Norwich Road.

I am not sure if the lights will benefit residents, but what is certainly true the lights were not in the original plans and there has been no consultation with local residents over the issue. This has now led to a public spat between the Tory County Portfolio for Transport, Graham Newman and leading local Tory, Liz Harsant.

There also seems to be no attempt by the local Tory MP’s Ben Gummer and Dan Poulter to bring the two groups together – trouble is it is only Ipswich residents who will lose out over this.

UKIP - Like the Tory Party of the 60's?

When you see Tory leaflets from the 1960's, it is no wonder some of their members are attracted to the policies of UKIP


Thanks to Ipswich Spy, I have been informed that the poster may be fake - this has led to an on-line discussion on twitter with the national Conservative HQ stating that the Tories never used it whilst others have given examples of constituencies where the poster was used.

If it is a fake, it seems it is also from the 60's - what it does show that all political groups were willing to use the race card in one way or another for their own benefit.

The concern is that this weekend a van has driven round London - organised by the Government warning illegal immigrants that if they are caught they will be deported. Are the Tory Ministers doing this because they think it will work, or because they are scared that UKIP will take more of their members?

Sunday 21 July 2013

My week ahead 22 - 28 July 2013

Monday 22 July – 4pm, Culture Portfolio meeting
6pm, Labour campaigning, South East Ipswich

Tuesday 23 July – 2pm, East Ipswich Housing Panel tour

Wednesday 24 July – 8pm – Visit to Gainsborough Sports Centre

Thursday 25 July – 7pm – North East Ipswich Area Committee, St Johns Church – Cauldwell Hall Road

Friday 26 July – 2pm, Meeting with Football Leagues about use of park pitches,
4pm, First meeting of the Ipswich World War I Centenary steering group.

Saturday 27 July - 10am, Labour campaigning, North West Ipswich

Sunday 28 July – 7pm, North East Ipswich Labour, Curry night.

A bust week ahead with a number of meetings linked to my role as Deputy Portfolio Holder for Culture and Leisure. This week will see a meeting about park football pitches and a chance to attempt sequence dancing! It is a very varied portfolio. Last week we also launched our next cycling event in Ipswich. A major road race being organised in conjunction with UCS and Suffolk Coastal. With Chis Froome likely to win the Tour in Paris tonight, cycling is still on a high and it is great that Ipswich is one of British Cycling’s biggest partners when it comes to putting on top events’

Another interesting meeting this week will be the first steering group meeting for the WWI Centenary. It is important that we remember the losses this country suffered between 1914 and 1918, and that the centenary is used to remind all of us the dreadful consequences of a World War and it does not become some jingoistic flag waving event.

Friday 19 July 2013

Three takeaways planned for the John Bull pub in Wodbridge Road, Ipswich

Ipswich Borough Council has received a planning application to convert the John Bull pub on Woodbridge Rd into three hot food takeaways, with a 3 bedroom flat above.

The applicant is Quality Fish Ltd, an Ipswich business.

The planning application proposes no extension to the building and will retain the 16 space car park to the rear, the three takeaway shops will face out onto Woodbridge Rd.

You can view the proposals on the IBC ‘Planning online’ page at the Ipswich Borough Council website and the application case number is 13/00551.

A change of use permission is required from pub to hot food takeaway, so the Council could refuse the development if there were good reasons for refusal. The recent changes at the Golden Key from pub to retail did NOT require a change of use permission so the planning application was for the extension.

The application is likely to go the planning committee at IBC on the 21st August. I would like to know your views on the proposal so that I can represent you at the meeting

If you have a concern, please email me at:

Ipswich wide Summer Fun - activity days

Thanks to funding from Ipswich Borough Council Area Committees in partnership with the Borough Council, County Council and Ipswich Basketball club, we are providing a number of free activities for our young residents over the summer.

These activities are taking place all over the town but I will concentrate on those events happening in our own Rushmere Ward. These are the activities that have seen funding from the North East Area Committee.

Wednesday July 31st – Activity Day – Dumbarton Road Rec, 1-4pm

Jumpers for Goalposts, Fridays from August 2nd to the 23rd, Dumbarton Road Rec, 2.30-4pm

Basketball – Wednesday from July 31st to August 21st, 2.45 -4.15pm and 4.15-5.45pm

All activities are free, just pop along and join in – Age 10 + - no need to book!

Coaching will be provided by ‘Positive Futures’ and Ipswich Basketball Club.

You can't trust David Cameron with the NHS

And now he has sold the NHS Plasma service to an American Capital Venture firm!

Sunday 14 July 2013

My week ahead 15 - 21 July 2013

Monday 15 July – 4pm, Culture Portfolio meeting
6pm, Labour campaigning

Thursday 18 July – 6pm, Scrutiny meeting

Back from a week away training potential Army Officers but now back in Ipswich to start Summer campaigning.
A planning application has been placed to turn the John Bull pub into a number of fast food take away restaurants. We are asking local residents for their views on this planning application.. The new application may cause more traffic issues on a road that is likely to see increased congestion once the Golden Key re-opens as Sainsburys after the summer. When Greene King applied to turn the Golden Key into supermarket they never mentioned that they were also going to off load the John Bull pub. Greene King have certainly not behaved like good neighbours.

Since I have been away, Ipswich Spy have posted about the on-going legal dispute with Ransomes Sports Club. As the issue may end up in court, unlike Ipswich Spy we have to be careful in what we say about the current management of the club. I am sure Sally Wainman means well but I am not sure she has been given the full story by certain members of the Ransomes management.

So maybe Sally should ask these questions:

Why was the Ransomes Bowls Club forced out by members of Ransomes management?

Why have the sequence dancing club also had to leave?

Why are many of the sports teams keen that IBC do take over the running of the club?