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Free parking, solar farm plans and housing support among Mid Suffolk alternative budget proposals

PUBLISHED: 19:30 17 January 2020

Mid Suffolk District Council will debate the budget next month. Picture: JASON NOBLE

Mid Suffolk District Council will debate the budget next month. Picture: JASON NOBLE

Jason Noble

A new homes competition, solar power plant and better council provision in the district are ideas which opposition groups at a Suffolk authority have called for.

Mid Suffolk District Council Green party leader Rachel Eburne said the measures could be funded from the £1.3m pot of commercial reserves the administration is proposing. Picture: GREEN PARTYMid Suffolk District Council Green party leader Rachel Eburne said the measures could be funded from the £1.3m pot of commercial reserves the administration is proposing. Picture: GREEN PARTY

The Green and Liberal Democrat groups at Mid Suffolk District Council have put together a series of proposals for the Conservative administration to consider for the 2020/21 budget.

Among them are calls to investigate a wind and solar power plant in the district, improve access to council services with better facilities in Stowmarket, a youth council to engage youngsters and a tree planting programme.

READ MORE: Mid Suffolk budget proposals

According to the Greens, the proposals - which have been costed - could be funded through the £1.3million pot of money being put aside for commercial risk reserves.

Rachel Eburne, leader of the Greens, said: "It's about future-proofing Mid Suffolk and improving social and environmental outcomes.

Mid Suffolk District Council leader Suzie Morley said the proposals would be assessed by the environment task group or cabinet members. Picture: PAUL GEATERMid Suffolk District Council leader Suzie Morley said the proposals would be assessed by the environment task group or cabinet members. Picture: PAUL GEATER

"The leader and finance portfolio holder were positive [during talks over the measures] but they seem to view most to be to do with the climate emergency and should be decided by the environment task force.

"But lots of these are social as well as environmental and should be decided by the cabinet."

One of the key suggestions is a sustainable house design competition, where people can come up with a unique design for a Mid Suffolk home to win £20,000 prize money.

The winning design would then be turned into plans that would be free to use for developers building in the district, to give the area a unique identity.

Other measures include:

- Fund to instal renewable heat and energy systems

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- Wider installation of electric vehicle charging points

- Public art projects in market towns to attract visitors

- Free parking in Stowmarket after 3pm

- Create a start-up fund for new community orchards

- Utilise front counter space in Stowmarket for building control services

- Move to webinars for businesses and councillors

- Technical and planning advice for people retrofitting their home with sustainable measures

Green councillor Andrew Stringer said the proposals have come from both the Green and Lib Dem groups, meaning it has been put together by half of the members of the council.

During Monday's cabinet meeting, Conservative leader Suzie Morley said: "Every single one of the things on the list have been passed on to officers for scoping.

"All will either be discussed by the climate change task group or relevant portfolio holder to decide, and we are looking at everything on that list."

The measures could be put forward as a motion for the next full council meeting, with the Green group stressing that it would be open to discussions and amendments.


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