Parish Plan

Cotton Parish Plan

After a little over a year of consultation and debate, we have finally published the Cotton Parish Plan.

The Plan was delivered to every household in the village during the final week of September and copies sent to key organisations with an interest/responsibility for the services in Cotton.

I’m delighted to say that initial responses have been very positive. The key now is for the action plan to become a reality! Several initiatives are already under way and we welcome the support from the Cotton Parish Council and from our District/County Councillor, Andrew Stringer.

I would like to record my thanks to my colleagues on the small, but hard working, Steering Committee and to the many people in Cotton who have contributed in various ways. Significantly the distribution and collection of questionnaires was no small feat, and the same group of volunteers have just distributed the final Plan.

As a committee we must also record our thanks to Cotton Parish Council, Suffolk County Council and Awards for All, for their funding grants that have enabled us to complete the project. We have also appreciated the support and advice we received from Suffolk ACRE who we know are supporting a number of villages producing parish plans.

We feel this was a job well done and we now pass the Plan over to the Parish Council who will oversee its implementation during the weeks and months ahead. Let’s work together to protect the many aspects of the village that we hold dear and be brave enough to try and implement the improvements that residents have identified.

Bert Bertoloni - Chair: Parish Plan Steering Committee

Why have a Parish Plan?

In April this year many of Cotton’s residents attended a public meeting at the village hall to discuss whether Cotton wanted to produce a Parish Plan, as is being done in villages up and down the country.

Those attending agreed overwhelmingly to the Plan being produced and a Steering Committee has been established to make this happen.

All towns and villages around the country are being encouraged to produce a Parish Plan which can show what the priorities are for the years ahead. This is an opportunity for those who live and work in Cotton to express their own views on what is great about the village – and so should be protected – and what should be changed to make it an even better place to live.

What will it contain?

The Plan is expected to include a range of ‘mini action plans’ that address the key issues for the village. Many will need to be taken on board by the Parish Council, some by the District and County Councils but a fair number are likely to be deliverable by people in the village itself.

At the very least, all those bodies which make decisions that impact on our village will have no excuse for saying they were not aware of what was important to US.

How will it be produced?

The key stages in producing the Parish Plan are:

    Consultation amongst those who live, work and/or visit the village to identify the key issues from each individual’s perspective.

    These issues will become the basis for a questionnaire which will go to every household in the village. The questionnaire will ask for views on ways in which these key issues can be addressed. There will be an additional questionnaire for young people under 18.

    The Steering Committee will then pull together all the replies and draft a Plan that reflects the priorities and ideas generated.

    A further public meeting will give us the opportunity to describe how the Plan is shaping up, before it is finalised and printed.

All households will get a copy of the Plan.

We are being advised on the best process to adopt to produce the Plan and we are grateful to Suffolk ACRE for their advice.

We are also grateful to the Cotton Parish Council for a grant towards the cost of this project and to Suffolk County Council for their financial support.

Where are we so far?

As at beginning of October 2008 the Steering Committee has held three consultation events and logged over 400 points of interest/concern raised by residents and visitors. We are also talking to key employers in the village.

Our next step is to convert this information into a suitable questionnaire which will go to every household in the village. Responses will help the Steering group to construct a Plan that takes account of priorities and ideas generated by the people of Cotton.

We expect to be able to distribute questionnaires in early January and to be able to start work drafting the Plan in March 2009.

Is it too late to input my views?

No. If you weren’t able to attend any of the three consultation events you can still provide your views about what you think is excellent and should be protected, or what you believe needs to be tackled to improve the village. Send your views by e-mail to the Steering committee chair, Bert Bertoloni at - by end October 2008 would be helpful.

Then please look out for the opportunity to see the draft Plan in early summer 2009, when a further public meeting will be held in the village hall.

I’m under 18 – are you interested in what I think?

We certainly are!

A separate questionnaire will be provided to enable you to comment specifically on issues that are important to you. We expect the Parish Plan will have a significant number of actions to support young people.
Cotton Parish Plan – Consultation Feedback

Three formal consultation exercises have happened so far. The results of these are shown below. Consultation continues with employers around the village and the Steering Committee remains very interested in any further topics and issues that people may not have yet had a chance to express. You may continue to let us have your views by e-mailing or sending you points to Bert Bertoloni at 4 Miles Paddock, Cotton.

Consultation Summary (Sep 08)

1. Local Councils/Housing/Economic Issues

Good Points


Very good and active District Councillor (x5)

Focus Group – Planning

Arbitrary planning in the village. Need for clarity and fairness (x2)

Village envelope for planning very restrictive (x4)

Mains gas if feasible (x4)

Too many overhead wires (x5)

Need for low level street lights in crucial spots (eg T junctions) (x3)

No need for street lighting (x5)

Lack of street lighting (x3)

Improvements to children’s play facilities at village hall/playfield (eg baby swing) (x6)

Stop gardens being classified as ‘brown-field sites’ – No more infill.

2. Community Services and Communication

Good Points


Social activity for elderly single folk (x3)

Meeting place in village – not just clubs (x3)

Welcome to Cotton booklet full of village info (x5)

Housing for the retired (x3)

Delivery of prescriptions if unable to get to surgery (x6) ?

Fresh veg shop (inc papers and bread) (x2)

Parish Council works hard (x6)

Periodic post office (x2)

Village Hall committee works hard (x8)

Social club; gymnasium; sports club

Carters Meadow volunteers work hard (x6)

Car pool scheme (village owned; monies from users and a communal booking system)

Friends of Cotton Church work hard (x8)

Shop; ICT (x6)

Need clinics in Bacton (used to have them)

Bottle bank needed at Village Hall (x4)

Additional post box in central location (village hall or pub)

People should read the village magazine and/or log on to the village website

Need a village website (But apparently we have one!)

Longer surgery AND pharmacy hours at Bacton surgery (x2)

Lunch club especially in winter to give elderly a hot meal (x9)

The idea that Cotton is ‘Non-Sustainable’ is negative, unfair and draconian

Parish magazine should be delivered free of charge to every household (x4)

First Response needed

Need more done about car crime (x3)

Need for emergency numbers to be prominently publicized (x3)

Bulk heating oil scheme to be investigated (NB some 30 people signed up since consultations started)

3. Traffic, Transport and Highway Matters

Good Points


Speeding in main village roads (x 38)

Cleaning of Flood drains (x3)

We need a bus service that stops in village centre (x 6)

Better vision at Road junctions in/out of village (x10)

Noisy cars and motorcycles (x3)

Lorry damage to verges (x9)

SLOW DOWN electric signs on approaches to 30mph signs (x5)

But, no sleeping policemen!

Calming bumps (x2)

Litter from cars

Safer provision for cyclists

Dandy Corner should be one way street

Move 40mph sign to south of Parkers Road

Village hireable minibus

Post box opposite Jeffries Garage needs repair/cleaning (x2)

Regular cutting of verges to improve visibility (x6)

Church notice board by old school needs replacing (x4) (FCC has agreed to replace)

4. Village Activities

Good Points


Keep the village weekend going – but more support required (x5)

Need for ‘dog poo’ box at Carters Meadow entrance (PC has in hand)

Network of footpaths very good. Signposting generally good. High percentage passable.

Bartering services/skills bank

Many good events such as Cricket Match, Art Show, Walking Festival, Village Fete (x11)

Bartering of excess veg/plant swap (in village hall?) (x6)

Like the peace and quiet (x9)

More involvement for older people (x3)

Public spaces in various parts of the village (eg Church, village hall, Methodist Chapel, Carters Meadow) (x3)

Communication (x2)

Village Hall quizzes (x7)

Farm shop in village (x4)

Events organised by FCC and Village Hall committee (x3)

More than just one annual dance – say 3 a year

Beautiful historic church with weekly services (x2)

More community outreach by pub (x4)

Footpath from village hall to barkers corner

Fence blocked off in Goodridge Close (x2)

Cost of some events to be more realistic (many people on fixed incomes)

More use of common land

Safer parking up Mill Road

5. Environment – Physical and Natural

Good Points

Areas of Distinctiveness

Carters Meadow (x3)

Footpaths very good (x3)

River Basin

Carters Meadow (x2)

Wild road verges

Varied verges

No street lighting (x7)

No street lighting

Conservation area in Churchyard – but needs advice on how to manage it for wildlife (x3)

Beautiful cremated remains, memorial and facilities at St Andrew’s (x2)



Overgrown verges

Litter clearance should be done more often (x8)

Better crime prevention

Scuffins Lane untidy (residents should not throw grass cuttings into ditch)

Andrew Stringer’s litter pick needs more support (x5)

Tidy up bus shelter and remove graffiti (x7)


State of churchyard (x6)

Low flying military aircraft can be very alarming (x2)

Carters Meadow needs more volunteers and usage

Hedges around village need to be cut back to improve visibility, safety and appearance (x5)

Composting facility (x3)

More anti-litter controls, notices and litter warden?

More help with church cleaning (especially from younger people)

Team of volunteer gardeners to help with church and hall

But mostly leave well alone!

Need for better recycling inc bottle bank (x8)

Barkers Corner is dangerous for walkers – needs warning sign