Parish Council news

Suffolk becomes a COVID ‘enhanced response area’

Subject: Please be aware that Suffolk has become a COVID ‘enhanced response area’

From Monday 1 November, Suffolk becomes an ‘enhanced response area’ (ERA) for up to five weeks. This approach has already been used in other parts of the country to help reduce the rate of Covid-19 transmission within the community and is also being taken in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough at the same time.

The additional support will include:

  • Support for the vaccination efforts by extending opening hours and creating pop up vaccination clinic within our communities
  • Help to coordinate on the ground door knocking campaign
  • Help to reduce transmission in schools with increased testing and additional temporary powers
  • Funding for COVID-19 awareness raising communications and advertising.

To help reduce the spread, residents in Suffolk are now being encouraged to:

  • Get fully vaccinated and your booster when it’s due
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
  • Always wear a face covering in crowded areas
  • Ventilate indoor spaces
  • Get tested regularly and stay at home if you feel unwell.

It’s the latest move to slow the spread of virus which has made a particular impact among Suffolk’s school age children and, consequently, their parents and grandparents. Earlier this month, additional measures, including siblings of children with COVID self-isolating, restrictions on visits to schools and older children and adults wearing face masks, were reintroduced. The face mask policy started on Monday 1 November.
This does not, however, mean any additional restrictions on people’s movements or actions. It is not a lockdown or like the tiering system that was trialled in England in 2020. Instead, it will boost the county’s ability to raise awareness, tackle outbreaks and encourage people to get vaccinated.
For further information

See the national website: Overview – Coronavirus Resource centre (
Suffolk website: Suffolk becomes Covid ‘Enhanced Response Area’ » Babergh Mid Suffolk

Everything is coming up, er…daffodils!

What better way to shake off the last dull, grey days of winter, than with a burst of cheerful, bright yellow daffodils! Thanks to the generosity of local residents, the Parish Council has raised sufficient funds for its daffodil-planting initiative to go ahead, transforming our verges with a welcome Springtime burst of golden daffodils!

On behalf of Drinkstone residents, the Parish Council has purchased over ten thousand daffodil bulbs (standard and dwarf varieties) for planting throughout the village. Councillors will be requesting permission from residents for planting to take place on the verges fronting their homes and will also be asking for volunteers to help with the planting. Equipment will be provided, alongside good company, fresh air and some healthy exercise! Do come along and join us if you can, we look forward to seeing you!

Roadworks on the A14 – Message from the Scheme Delivery Team; Highways England

A14 westbound junction 47, Woolpit to junction 46, Beyton: resurfacing

I write to inform you that we’ll be carrying out essential resurfacing works at the above location. As part of this work we’ll also renew faded road markings at several locations between junction 50 and junction 44.

We plan to complete this work over seven weeks from Monday 26 October to Friday 11 December, on weeknights only, working between the hours of 8pm to 6am, subject to weather conditions.

Due to the extensive amount of work on this project, we have split these works into three phases.

During each phase we will need to close the A14 westbound between junctions 51 and 46 and traffic will be diverted via the A140 and A143, to re-join the A14 at junction 43.

Please be aware, during daytime hours there will be a temporary 40mph speed limit in place along the A14 westbound between junctions 47 and 46 for safety reasons.

All other closure information and local diversion routes are detailed in the attached documents.

We’ve closely liaised with county, district and parish councillors within the area, to agree the most suitable diversion routes for each phase.

Councils ready with Test and Trace Support Payment for most vulnerable

Councils in Suffolk are ready to help administer a Government scheme to provide financial help to those on low incomes and benefits who must self-isolate.

Details about the Test and Trace Support Payments can be found on District and Borough Council websites and how to apply for it. This is part of a range of measures that councils across Suffolk have introduced to support communities and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, which includes the new Suffolk Support and Advice Service phoneline to help those facing financial difficulty.

If you have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020, you are under a legal obligation to do so, and could be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.

Those who are eligible will need meet all the following criteria:

  • told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace on or after 28 September 2020
  • employed or self-employed
  • cannot work from home and will lose income as a result.
  • currently receiving at least one of the following benefits:
    • Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.

Applications are made for one person only and any further applications within the same household must be made by each individual. Payments are subject to tax but not National Insurance. People must make the application within 14 days of the last day of their NHS test and trace self-isolation period.

Applicants should ensure that they have the below information available before starting the application:

  • NI number
  • Your 8 digit test and trace ID number
  • Your most recent bank statement, proof of self-employment or wage slips

If asked for by Test and Trace you must self-isolate by law and failure to do so would mean you would be no longer eligible for the payment and steps will be made to recover the funds.

Please visit the NHS Test and Trace website for more details of the NHS Test and Trace self-isolation requirements for those:

  • Testing positive
  • Those who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive and now has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace

Visit your District or Borough Council websites for details on how to apply for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment:

Additional financial help from Suffolk Support and Advice Service

There is additional help available for those facing financial difficulty or needing support – especially for those who have never asked for help before.

On 1 October 2020, the Suffolk Support and Advice Service phoneline was launched to help people across the county access information or support relating to debt, benefits, housing or employment.

This support service is in response to the financial impact that Covid-19 has had, and continues to have, on families across Suffolk.

Citizens Advice Suffolk Alliance, which includes the eight Citizens Advice Bureaus across Suffolk, and Anglia Care Trust and Ipswich Housing Action Group are delivering advice and support to people through a single phone line. Call handlers will use resources and information from across many local organisations and specialist providers, which can be tailored to individual needs.

People can contact the Suffolk Support and Advice Service on 0800 068 3131 between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday or go to:

Councillor Matthew Hicks, chair of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board and Leader of Suffolk County Council, said:

“This pandemic is sadly putting some Suffolk families and residents in financial difficulties. I know that some have never faced these pressures before, and have never needed to seek support or benefits.

“But I want them to know that there are services available to support them, and this new telephone number is the first call to make if you are worried about debt, benefits, housing or employment.

“Suffolk councils have been at the forefront of supporting our communities and businesses during the challenges of Covid-19. They are dedicated to carry on helping our communities stay safe and support our residents.”

The phoneline is funded by Suffolk Public Sector Leaders and has been developed by Suffolk-wide partners on the Collaborative Communities Covid-19 Board, which is part of the Suffolk Resilience Forum.

Free cycling sessions for the people of Suffolk – a press release from Suffolk County Council

Free cycling sessions for the people of Suffolk

Last week the Prime Minister launched his vision for cycling and walking, including “free cycling training for everyone who wants it”, and Suffolk County Council’s work continues with the Department of Transport to support the Government’s vision here in Suffolk.

The county council’sBikeability team is now offering FREE cycling sessions to provide practical skills on how to cycle on today’s roads. Everyone is welcome to take part from adults, families and children. The sessions are aimed at those who want to cycle more regularly whether to keep fit, to commute to work or school, or to visit friends.

A session lasts between 2 and 2.5 hours and is delivered by a fully qualified Bikeability Cyclist Trainer. The trainer chats to you first about what you are trying to achieve and tailors the session for your specific needs.

Travel behaviour has transformed during lockdown both nationally and in Suffolk as more people turn to cycling for essential journeys and exercise. It has been a cycling revolution!

  • Journeys made by bike rose by 120% during the pandemic, while bus, rail, ferry, plane and car journeys fell by as much as 95%.
  • Latest research also suggests that as many as 16% of the population in England (8.9 million people) have been cycling per week during the pandemic.

Suffolk County Council wants to encourage more people to get out and about by cycling and walking for their short journeys. The aim is to embed active travel as part of a long-term habit and reap the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits.

Suffolk has already implemented several cycling schemes in Ipswich as a result of funding received from the Department for Transport and further schemes are now being considered in Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket, Beccles, Felixstowe, Stowmarket and Sudbury.

It is also promoting the Government’s Fix Your Bike £50 voucher scheme, and has provided funding to Greater Anglia to install more cycle racks at their train stations across Suffolk to help more people make cycling part of their commute or daily routine.

Cllr Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs, said:

“I am proud that we are rapidly rolling out more space for walking and cycling and upgrading cycle routes here in Suffolk. But we also need to equip people with the confidence they need to cycle in and around our county, so I’m delighted we are now able to offer free cycling sessions for local residents.”

 “Walking and cycling will be absolutely central to Suffolk’s recovery from coronavirus and our free cycling sessions are making sure everybody who wants to cycle can do so safely and easily. Many of our newly upgraded cycle routes in Ipswich coupled with cycling training will make journeys to school, work and the hospital a reality for more people.”

Mike Motteram, Suffolk County Council’s Road Safety Manager, said:

“The Council’s Road Safety Team delivers Bikeability to hundreds of 10 and 11 year olds every summer term. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to train as many as we normally do so we are keen to reach children and parents during August and to help those who may be cycling to school for the first time in September.

“We’ve also extended the offer to adults who will be looking to swap the car for a bike when they return to the workplace.”

For further information on the active travel measures Suffolk County Council is putting in place across Suffolk and to sign up for a FREE cycling session visit:


Councillor contacts
Councillor Andrew Reid (Con), Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs 07545 423799,

Councillor Jack Owen (Lab), Opposition spokesperson for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs, 07864 601877,

Councillor Robert Lindsay, Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group Spokesperson for Highways, Transport and Rural Issues 07738 264087,

Better Health – a new campaign from Public Health Englan

A message passed on by our Parish Council Clerk

On 3rd August Public Health England launched Better Health, the ground-breaking new adult health campaign that provides an opportunity for the nation to reset and introduce healthy changes. For many, the past few months have been a wake-up call, with people realising how precious their health is and recognising that it is time to get back on track.

To support people to live healthier lives, Public Health England’s Better Health campaign provides a variety of tools and apps to help you make healthier food choices, become more active and prevent future weight gain. One of these tools is the NHS 12-week weight loss plan, providing engaging content that can be personalised and tailored to the goals and needs of the individual.

This week we’re delighted to share new resources with you that highlight the important role physical activity and good nutrition has to our health. These can be accessed by following the link above.




Suffolk says thanks




Relaxation of concessionary travel arrangements to end

A temporary relaxation of concessionary travel arrangements in Suffolk will end next month to help bus companies manage social distancing

As more people return to work, public transport operators across the county face the challenge of meeting this extra demand, while ensuring adherence to Government guidance.

Passenger numbers are highest at the beginning and end of the day, so people who need to make essential journey for shopping, care or health reasons are being encouraged to travel after 9:30am when buses are currently quieter.

Suffolk County Council and bus operators in the county have agreed to end the temporary relaxation of concessionary travel rules from Monday 6 July.

The relaxation was introduced across Suffolk in late March and allowed those with concessionary passes to travel on buses for free before 9:30am. The aim was to provide more flexibility for older people and those with disabilities to visit supermarkets during the lockdown.

Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs, said: “Now that more people are returning to their workplaces and children are going back to school, it is important that we take steps across the county to protect passengers. It is vital we help bus operators balance the need to get people to work and children to school, while maintaining social distancing and adhering to Government guidelines, so this means staggering the times when passengers travel.

“The relaxation of the concessionary travel scheme was a temporary measure to address the situation at the time. The situation has changed, and we are now facing a new set of challenges. Therefore, I urge people to only use public buses for essential journeys and to travel after 9:30am where possible.”

From Monday 6th July concessionary bus passes in Suffolk will only be valid Monday to Fridays (09:30 to 23:00), and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.  Also, all passengers are now required to wear a face covering on public transport.

For more information about concessionary travel in Suffolk, visit

To find out more about the support on offer during the pandemic, visit:

An alternative travel option for elderly and vulnerable passengers is the county’s Connecting Communities demand responsive services which operates Monday to Friday 07:00 to 19:00. Further details can be found at or by calling 0345 606 6171

The Neighbourhood Plan is to proceed to referendum!

On 8 June 2020 Mid Suffolk District Council’s Cabinet agreed unanimously that, subject to their decision being “called-in” for scrutiny by other District Councillors, the Plan should proceed to referendum. The referendum version of the Plan incorporating the modifications required by the Examiner is therefore published (click here.) The planning policies in the Plan now carry significant weight when Mid Suffolk District Council are considering planning applications in Drinkstone.

The current Covid-19 situation means that no referendums can be held in England until May 2021 unless the regulations are amended in the mean time.